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Accelerated Decision-making in Cybersecurity Requires Actionable Vulnerability Intelligence

Luke Luckett
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Cybersecurity officers tasked with finding and mitigating vulnerabilities in government organizations are already operating at capacity—and it’s not getting any easier.

First, the constant push for fast paced, develop-test-deploy cycles continuously introduces risk of new vulnerabilities. Then there are changes in mission at the agency level, plus competing priorities to develop while simultaneously trying to secure everything (heard of DevSecOps?). Without additional capacity, it’s difficult to find exploitable critical vulnerabilities, remediate at scale and execute human-led offensive testing of the entire attack surface. 

The traditional remedy for increased security demands has been to increase penetration testing in the tried and true fashion: hire a consulting firm or a single (and usually junior) FTE to pentest the assets that are glaring red. That method worked for most agencies, through 2007 anyway. In 2022, however, traditional methodology isn’t realistic. It doesn’t address the ongoing deficiencies in security testing capacity or capability. It’s also too slow and doesn’t scale for government agencies.

So in the face of an acute cybersecurity talent shortage, what’s a mission leader’s best option if they want to improve and expand their cybersecurity testing program, discover and mitigate vulnerabilities rapidly, and incorporate findings into their overall intelligence collection management framework? 

Security leaders should ask themselves the following questions as they look to scale their offensive and vulnerability intelligence programs:

  • Do we have continuous oversight into which assets are being tested, where and how much? 
  • Are we assessing vulnerabilities based on the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, or are we assessing vulnerabilities using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) calculator
  • Are we operationalizing penetration test results by integrating them into our SIEM/SOAR and security ops workflow, so we can visualize the big picture of vulnerabilities across our various assets? 
  • Are we prioritizing and mitigating the most critical vulnerabilities to our mission expediently? 

There is a way to kick-start a better security testing experience—in a FedRAMP Moderate environment with a diverse community of security researchers that provide scale to support the largest of directorates with global footprints. The Synack Platform pairs the talents of the Synack Red Team, a group of elite bug hunters, with continuous scanning and reporting capabilities.

Together, this pairing empowers cybersecurity officers to know what’s being tested, where it’s happening, and how much testing is being done with vulnerability intelligence. Correlated with publicly available information (PAI) and threat intelligence feeds, the blend of insights can further enhance an agency’s offensive cybersecurity stance and improve risk reduction efforts.

Synack helps government agencies mitigate cybersecurity hiring hurdles and the talent gap by delivering the offensive workforce needed quickly and at scale to ensure compliance and reduce risk. And we’re trusted by dozens of government agencies. By adding Synack Red Team mission findings into workflows for vulnerability assessment, security operations teams are given the vulnerability data needed to make faster and more informed decisions.

Intrigued? Let’s set up an intelligent demo. If you’re attending the Intelligence & National Security Summit at the Gaylord in National Harbor, Md., next week, we’ll be there attending sessions and chatting with officers at Kiosk 124. We hope to see you there! 

Luke Luckett is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Synack.