Security Solutions

4 mins

Simplifying patching and security hardening

Businesses face significant challenges when it comes to proactive security measures, often struggling to identify which patching and security hardening activities to prioritize. 71% of IT and security professionals struggle with patching due to its complexity and time requirements. Moreover, the consequences of neglecting security measures are dire, with 69% of organizations experiencing cyberattacks that exploit unmanaged or poorly managed assets. 

Hadrian’s groundbreaking feature in its platform called "Potential Risks" simplifies patching and security hardening making it easier than ever for cyber defences to be fortified. The feature categorizes proactive security measures into two essential aspects: systems requiring patches and recommendations for security hardening. 

The patching section directly highlights whether an internet-facing asset has Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), if an exploit exists and whether hackers actively exploit it. Organizations using Hadrian’s insights can swiftly prioritize patching efforts, reducing the window of vulnerability. 

The hardening category within Potential Risks empowers organizations to elevate their security hygiene. From enhancing TLS/SSL protocols to implementing robust Content Security Policies and fortifying email security through measures like DMARC and SPF, businesses can proactively address vulnerabilities and strengthen their defense mechanisms against evolving cyber threats.

Prioritizing technology patching

With over 29 thousand CVE published in 2023, managing known vulnerabilities is a challenge for many organizations. The Unpatched Technologies section in Hadrian’s Potential Risks puts it all in a single prioritized list to be actioned. By managing the Unpatched Technology tab, organizations can minimize the likelihood that they are breached due to a known vulnerability.

Screenshot of unpatched technologies prioritized by severity and exploitation statusFigure 1. Screenshot of unpatched technologies prioritized by severity and exploitation status

At a glance, users can see the technology, its version, and the location of the instance in the attack surface. The list is ranked by importance, determined by the number and severity of CVEs are also immediately available, highlighted in color-coded boxes. Also considered is whether a patch is available, exploits exist for the CVEs, and whether they are actively exploited by hackers.

Accessing detailed information about the CVE impacting an asset is just a click away, enabling deeper insights with ease. Users can immediately find the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) information to better understand how the vulnerability could be exploited, the date of publication, Common Vulnerability Scoring System (aka CVSS Score), and links to further documentation.

Hardening security systems

Minimizing the attack surface by hardening systems is an essential component of proactive security.  Following best practices and hardening the external attack surface is an effective way to reduce the likelihood of a data breach. The Hardening tab in Hadrian’s Potential Risks places all of the improvements that could be made to security posture in one place.

Screenshot of best practices to harden the external attack surfaceFigure 2. Screenshot of best practices to harden the external attack surface

It is easy for users to prioritize system hardening with this comprehensive list of improvements that can be made to the attack surface. To prioritize mitigation efforts, filters can easily be applied to the recommendations by category of issue, affected area, risk severity, mitigation status, and when it was published. Users can also refine the hardening best practices they want to focus on using the search box.

Clicking on a recommendation opens detailed recommendation pages with explanations of the risk, the potential impact, how to reproduce the issue and recommendation instructions. Users also track the mitigation progress using the timeline feature at the bottom of page, and collaborate with other teams usings the built-in Secure Share functionality.

Patching and security hardening are essential

The urgency for robust proactive security measures is evident, especially considering the staggering statistics surrounding patching delays. Security Navigator's research reveals that businesses still take an average of 215 days to patch a known vulnerability, leaving ample time for threat actors to exploit weaknesses in their systems. 

The stakes are high in vulnerability management, as highlighted by the Ponemon Institute, where 42% of organizations suffering data breaches attributed the incident to the failure to apply available patches for known vulnerabilities.

Furthermore, adhering to industry standards and frameworks such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) V4 and the NIST Special Publication 800-53 necessitate robust system hardening practices. PCI DSS V4, for instance, mandates secure configurations for all system components under Requirement 2. 

Security hardening regulations and frameworks

  • HIPAA's Security Rule imposes stringent standards for safeguarding electronic personal health information (ePHI) handled by covered entities. These entities are required to implement technical, administrative, and physical safeguards to uphold the integrity, confidentiality, and security of ePHI. System hardening plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations by fortifying the security posture of systems that handle sensitive patient data.
  • CIS Control 4 emphasizes the importance of securely configuring enterprise assets and software to mitigate cybersecurity risks. 
  • NIST SP 800-53 Revision 5 introduces controls like CM-2 and CM-3, which focus on establishing baseline configurations and implementing configuration change control processes to enhance cybersecurity resilience.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA) Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) contain comprehensive guidelines for securely configuring and maintaining IT assets. STIGs cover various components such as network hardware, operating systems, and applications, outlining specific configuration practices necessary to establish and sustain a secure computing environment.

Improve your security posture today by requesting a free assessment of your unpatched technologies and security hardening priorities. Get in touch with our security experts to get started.

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