Business Context: An Independent Component of Risk

Traditional Vulnerability Management tools have long relied on industry recognized severity ratings to help classify and prioritize vulnerabilities.  By focusing on technical severity, organizations were prioritizing their remediation efforts by eliminating the most severe issues first.  While this provided a rudimentary framework for vulnerability remediation, numerous issues emerged as asset counts and data volumes dramatically increased.  The vulnerability management and remediation processes need improvement in two key areas:

  • The focus on CVE identified vulnerabilities is too narrow to adequately express and in turn, respond to the current threat landscape. Vulnerability teams and products should broaden their focus to address all exposures: vulnerabilities, missing patches, and misconfigurations on assets and business services.
  • Understanding the business value and potential consequence associated with an asset or business service cannot be adequately measured on the same scale as vulnerabilities. Measured on its own and independently calculated, business context can more accurately express both the value and risk associated with an organization’s assets and services.


Understanding Business Context as an Independent Component of Risk


Once the security team has broadened their focus beyond vulnerabilities to address exposures, they must tackle  the second challenge presented by the current state of Vulnerability Management: the inclusion of business context into the technical severity model.

NorthStar Navigator was built on the premise that the technical severity of exposures present on any given asset and the business context of that asset are fundamentally different in a few distinct ways.


Because of these distinctions, NorthStar was designed to address business context as a separate calculated score to better reflect the risk landscape and the dynamic relationship that exists between technical severity and business importance.  By leveraging these interrelated concepts and scoring, NorthStar can provide the necessary context for asset and service level risk identification and, more importantly, the prioritization of remediation on the most critical assets and business services.


Empowering Remediation Through Context

With NorthStar, remediation efforts can be driven in ways that best reflect the available resources and risk appetite of the organization.  NorthStar uses the Severity scores and Importance scores to calculate a weighted average called a Priority score. Priority scores allow an organization to create a list of the most vulnerable AND the most important assets. Therefore limited resources can be prioritized effectively during remediation efforts. When deciding on the final Priority calculations and weightings,

NorthStar empowers organizations to decide what business and technical factors are most important to them.

For more information about how NorthStar Navigator can empower your risk-based vulnerability management program, visit HOW IT WORKS.

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