Secret #4 of Vulnerability Scanning: Don’t Dump-and-Run, Make It Consumable

Ed Bellis    January 15, 2015

This is the second post by Ed Bellis in a three-part series on Vulnerability Scanning. To view all five secrets and two common “gotchas” of vulnerability scanning, please click here.

You know what I’m talking about when I talk about the infamous dump-and-run. “Here’s your 300-page PDF with a laundry list of every vulnerability known to man!”

From what I’ve seen, being the recipient of a dump-and-run is handled by systems administrators, developers, network engineers and other remediators exactly the same way: by filing it in the trash. The least effective way of getting critical issues fixed in your environment is the oversized PDF dump.

You need to make scan results consumable and actionable for those responsible for remediation. SysAdmins don’t want a laundry list of vulnerabilities listed out by their CVE identifier; they need an actionable list of what needs to get done, such as deploying a specific patch or updating to a specific group of assets with their relevant identifiers.

As Gene Kim so eloquently stated, “The rate at which information security and compliance introduce work into IT organizations totally outstrips IT organizations ability to complete, whether it’s patching vulnerabilities or implementing controls to fulfill compliance objectives. The status quo almost seems to assume that IT operations exist only to deploy patches and implement controls, instead of completing the projects that the business actually needs.”

Or to put it another way…don’t be that guy.

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