Brinqa has been named as a ‘Contender’ in the Forrester Wave™: Vulnerability Risk Management study released in Q4 2019. This is Brinqa’s first placement in this annual study conducted by Forrester to evaluate the competitive landscape of this crucial cybersecurity field. While we may not entirely agree with the methodology used, we are grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to participate in this study. We also commend Forrester for their efforts to reshape the traditional vulnerability scanning market to better reflect modern vulnerability risk management programs.
The analyst team has done an excellent job of outlining the critical product capabilities used to compare vendors in this space. Practitioners should look to these criteria not only as they evaluate vendors but also as they assess the effectiveness and maturity of their existing Vulnerability (Risk) Management processes. Read on to learn how we at Brinqa recommend organizations interpret and implement these critical capabilities for effective vulnerability risk management. Please note that this does not, in any way, represent Forrester’s position on these criteria.
Vulnerability enumeration capabilities determine how accurately, efficiently, and completely a VRM program identifies and catalogues the vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an organization’s IT infrastructure. As each enterprise IT environment is unique, organizations should focus on ensuring that all significant components of their infrastructure are covered and accounted for.
Brinqa implements this function by utilizing our vast collection of integrations to the leading vulnerability scanning and assessment products. We take a vendor-agnostic approach that allows our customers to leverage the tools that best suit their environment and scanning requirements. This means providing the most comprehensive integrations with security tools for each important facet of the IT infrastructure :
However, effective vulnerability enumeration is about more than just collecting vulnerabilities. To handle real world scenarios (scanner replacement, separate scanners for internal vs. external assets, M&A activity, passive scanning, deduplication, false positives) organizations need advanced data management capabilities. The Brinqa solution allows organizations to normalize vulnerability data from disparate assessment tools to a common, standardized ontology. This is essential for implementing consistent vulnerability risk management practices across the entire scope of the program. The solution enables configurable scoping so that organizations can focus on the most critical infrastructure components and vulnerabilities first, and then gradually expand their program. In the case of overlapping scanning or assessment tools, the solution provides features to de-duplicate and coalesce vulnerability records from multiple sources.
Digital footprinting can help organizations gain an understanding about which of their assets are publicly accessible and which are relatively protected behind firewalls and DMZs. This classification should be established, if possible, and used to inform determinations of asset criticality, ownership, escalation chains, SLAs, and other operational considerations.
Brinqa Vulnerability Risk Service implements this function through integrations with asset discovery services like BitSight and incorporates an organization’s digital footprint (including determination of publicly accessible assets) into VRM processes. The real power of the solution is in operationalizing an organization’s digital footprint towards better asset management and hygiene.
Rouge (or unknown) assets can be organized and monitored through rules that ensure the footprint matches the asset source of truth, and trigger automated tasks and tickets for corrective actions when necessary. By updating in near-real time, the digital footprint can be leveraged to determine the existence of new or unmanaged assets which can then be automatically assigned to the appropriate asset groups or risk owners.
An organization’s ability to correctly assign asset criticality directly impacts the accuracy and soundness of risk-based vulnerability prioritization. However, we would argue that asset management (and not just asset criticality) is a crucial function that VRM teams and programs should address with great attention. Effective asset management is accurate (results in an exhaustive inventory of all the assets in the scope of the program), comprehensive (covers every relevant factor of asset identity and usage), and functional (includes criticality, ownership, escalation chains, and all other operational aspects).
Asset Management is likely the least standardized component of VRM programs. Almost every organization represents, classifies, and tracks assets in their own unique way. Further, asset information resides in a variety of systems and programs all across the organization.
Brinqa addresses this unpredictability by
(a) providing a comprehensive asset data model that represents most common technical (type, vendor, network segment, operational status, internal/external, publicly accessible) and business impact (data classification, monetary value, supported business services, compliance requirements, location, data center, business unit) factors, and
(b) providing a completely dynamic, extendible data model (enabled by our graph database backend) so that organizations can easily incorporate any factors that are unique to them.
This information is populated through purpose-built integration with a variety of systems — Asset Discovery (Nmap), CMDB (BMC, Cherwell, HP, ServiceNow), Network Management (RedSeal, InfoBlox), and GRC (Archer). Often this information resides in other programs (data protection, business impact analysis, disaster recovery) or in proprietary systems and is collected using flat file, LDAP, or direct-to-database connectors. The asset criticality calculation is part of the extensible data model and can be modified by administrators to accurately reflect the organization’s IT environment. This ensures complete transparency and control over the determination of asset criticality.
Accurately determining network exposure can help organizations understand the true structure of their network infrastructure and establish the relationships and dependencies between assets that can be leveraged for attack path analysis. Building this information into the risk analysis model gives organizations a true picture of the risk associated with a vulnerability or asset.
Brinqa Vulnerability Risk Service implements this function through integrations with network management (Cisco, InfoBlox, RedSeal) and CMDB (BMC, Cherwell, HP, ServiceNow) systems to present a complete picture of the network architecture. Network metadata like network criticality, type (e.g. DMZ), leap-froggable, accessible from untrusted networks, etc. and attack path data like attack depth and downstream risk can be incorporated in the risk prioritization model.
The solution includes an OOB network segmentation model and assets can be dynamically associated with segments based on IP ranges and other factors. Organizing assets along network segments also gives IT users a perspective of vulnerability risk that aligns with their day-to-day operations.
The ability to accurately and expeditiously determine and incorporate threat intelligence into risk prioritization can mean the difference between a breach and a secured environment. VRM programs should ensure that factors of exploitability and indicators of compromise are evaluated continuously and there are measures in place to trigger the appropriate workflows if any changes are detected.
Brinqa leverages our vast collection of purpose-built integrations with most common open source and commercial threat intelligence providers (Accenture iDefense, AlienVault, CrowdStrike, Digital Shadows, FireEye, NVD, Recorded Future, Secureworks, Symantec DeepSight Intelligence, TruSTAR) to establish the most accurate view of vulnerability severity. This incorporates factors like exploit availability, weaponization, zero-day, popularity, pervasiveness, and patch availability. The solution gives administrators complete control over how various threat intelligence criteria come together to determine vulnerability severity. Intelligent correlation easily sifts through large volumes of threat intel to identify and incorporate those factors that have an impact on the organization’s unique technology environment.
Risk based prioritization brings together all the underlying asset, vulnerability, and threat information to accurately identify and highlight the vulnerabilities that pose the biggest risks to the organization. Risk is inherently subjective, so it’s imperative that VRM programs and teams incorporate in the prioritization process any unique aspects of the organization that have an impact on risk.
Brinqa implements this function by first establishing a customer’s unique Cyber Risk Graph — a real-time representation of infrastructure and apps, delineation of interconnects between assets and to business services, and knowledge of overall cyber risk. This serves as the single, unified view and source of truth that drives an informed, risk-based prioritization of vulnerabilities.
Brinqa Vulnerability Risk Service includes an OOB best-practices-based risk prioritization model that customers can use as is or that can be extended to incorporate any additional factors. The solution does this by providing administrators with access to editable Groovy scripts that represent calculation logic, a regulated means to referentially access the underlying cyber risk graph. This is a common design pattern for software platforms that brings the benefits (simple syntax and semantics, easy to learn and write) of scripting languages like Groovy to the implementation of powerful customizations without the need to rely on vendor product or service teams.
The flexibility and control provided by the open calculations is key to VRM success in complex and dynamic environments. Enterprise technology environments are often in flux – scope expands, asset types diversify, scanners multiply, threat intel feeds are added, business context factors become relevant. Brinqa’s open data model and risk scoring is critical to our customers’ ability to adapt and continue to deliver effective results in these scenarios. Solutions that provide rigid and prescriptive risk models cannot handle this type of dynamic environment, a big reason why customers choose Brinqa.
Comprehensive metrics and reporting capabilities are crucial to VRM programs’ ability to effectively and intuitively engage and inform all the varied stakeholders across IT, security, and business at the appropriate instant in the risk lifecycle. The ability to visually communicate key risk and performance indicators through powerful metrics and reports are crucial to program success. Organizations must empower and encourage stakeholders to develop and communicate the metrics and reports that matter to them.
Brinqa Vulnerability Risk Service includes an extensive library of risk and performance metrics and reports. The solution includes a sophisticated, BI-like analytics interface that is used to build all the views, reports and dashboards in the solution. This gives users complete access to the underlying graph data model and can be used to create powerful, self-service metrics and reports with the ability to configure nearly every aspect of visualization (layout, color schemes, metrics calculations, data representation).
Role-based management of access, permissions, and data is necessary to ensure that the varied stakeholders in the VRM process can work together without any risk of data compromise.
Brinqa delivers fine-grained access controls within the platform that are configurable from the UI. Default roles such as Configurator, Risk Analyst and Security Administrator are available out of the box, but most customers use default and custom roles to reflect the uniqueness of their organization. Large customers segment and define access levels based on responsibilities (executive/business owner/security), geography, business unit and regulatory restrictions.
Limiting access to data makes it easier for individuals to own, manage and communicate risk responsibilities through a subset of vulnerability data, risk scores, metrics and reports. Role management capabilities and access controls are also used by enterprises and MSSPs to segregate data/knowledge to limit who can see what on a need-to-know basis, and to control who is empowered to customize the vulnerability risk solution. Brinqa also enables UI components such as menus and dashboards to be customized based on users’ roles.
While the Forrester Wave study does a good job of outlining most important considerations for VRM programs, a crucial scoring criteria that is conspicuously missing is remediation management. While better prioritization can highlight the most important vulnerabilities from the backlog, better remediation management can significantly reduce the overhead associated with risk remediation and improve remediation effectiveness, efficiency, and consistency. Organizations should look to improve their vulnerability remediation practices and replace ad hoc decisions with well thought out, repeatable policies that leverage automation to achieve predictable results.
Brinqa implements a rule-based ticketing mechanism for automated remediation management. Brinqa customers are encouraged to formulate policies that govern how tickets should be created and managed. These rules are run automatically when new vulnerabilities are discovered. The rules allow vulnerabilities to be grouped together based on common criteria, thereby significantly reducing the volume of tickets being created (and the overhead associated with managing them). Rule configuration also allows ownership and SLAs to be set and enforced dynamically, ensuring consistency of remediation efforts.
Brinqa solution includes native ticket lifecycle management but it’s more common for Brinqa customers to utilize an external ITSM tool for managing ticket lifecycles. This is achieved through bi-directional integrations with leading ITSM systems (Jira, BMC Remedy, CA Service Desk, Cherwell, ServiceNow). Similar to ticket creation rules, ticket closure rules can be set up to validate risk remediation effectiveness and close tickets automatically.
Access the full 2019 Forrester Wave™: Vulnerability Risk Management report here.
As breach remediation costs rise, seemingly in direct proportion to the number of attackers and attacks, what are you doing to manage your cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks? Sufficient proof is easily found to reinforce that how you respond to threats and breaches can have a significant impact on your business. For example… The 2021 Ponemon Institute Annual Cost of a Breach Report found that the average cost of a breach rose 10% to $4.24M. The report also found that it took an average of 287 days to identify and contain a data breach. Even if you can handle the reputation hit of a breach, and even if your insurer agrees to cover a portion of the damages, do you want to be on the hook for millions of dollars in remediation and restoration costs? Prevention is easier and less expensive. Your data and intellectual property (IP) are often the most valuable assets you own, and as such are deserving of all the resources your team can muster for effective security vulnerability and risk management. Read on to learn more about the cyber risks to watch out for in 2022 and how you can plan and prepare for them. What types of cyberattacks can you expect? Counterintuitive, of course, because many organizations don’t expect their network to be attacked, any more than they expect it to contain dangerous vulnerabilities. You want to believe those events occur to others, not you. Right? Except competent hackers can infiltrate your network and steal your data and IP while remaining undetected. Ransomware attacks For several years now, ransomware attacks have been the fastest growing segment of cybersecurity breaches. Typically, criminals breach an organization and encrypt its data, rendering it unusable. Inaccessible data renders a firm unproductive and unprofitable for as long as the data remains inaccessible. The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, for example, led to the shutdown of the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S, which in turn caused fuel shortages across the East Coast. Criminals also threaten to publicize intellectual property (IP) and customer information, unless they receive a ransom. Although small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) are at the most risk of criminal ransom demands, payouts can reach seven or eight figures. The highest ransom amount confirmed to have been paid is $40 million USD, by CNA Financial, in May 2021. Few SMBs can afford such extravagance. Cloud vulnerabilities The first researchers to discover and report on critical vulnerabilities in the cloud focused on Microsoft Azure infrastructure. In detailing the vulnerabilities, those researchers, who were with Check Point, “wanted to disprove the assumption that cloud infrastructures are secure.” And did they ever disprove it — the discovered vulnerabilities included those that received the highest possible score of 10.0. The qualitative severity ranking of a score of 9.0-10.0 is “critical.” The discovered vulnerabilities allowed malicious actors to compromise applications and data of those using similar cloud infrastructure. Firmware vulnerabilities Firmware vulnerabilities expose not only the major computer manufacturers, but also their customers. Undiscovered firmware vulnerabilities are especially damaging, because they grant criminals free reign over any network on which the devices are installed, leaving networks open until the vulnerability gets reported and patched. As the number of connected devices continues to grow, Internet of Things (IoT) security becomes increasingly important to analyze. Software vulnerabilities Applications contain vulnerabilities. According to Veracode, 75.2% of applications have security flaws, although 24% of those are considered high-severity. Common flaws include: Information leakage. Carriage Return and Line Feed (CRLF) injection. Cryptographic challenges. Code quality. Credentials management. Insider threats Insider theft and trading of secrets is another growing vulnerability area. As demonstrated by recent Cisco and GE breaches, employees with perceived grievances or bad intentions can choose to steal or wreak all kinds of damage on their employers’ data and networks. Carelessness and poor training also contribute to insider threats. Cyber threats to healthcare In recent years criminals have increasingly trained their sights onto hospitals, insurers, clinics, and others in that industry. A 2016 report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute found the frequency of healthcare industry data breaches has been rising since 2010, and it is now among the sectors most targeted by cyberattacks globally. Whether or not the reputation is deserved,healthcare industry computer networks are often considered soft targets by malicious actors. In 2021 Armis discovered nine vulnerabilities in critical systems used by 80% of major North American hospitals. Additionally, rapid health device adoption has increased the number of available targets for malicious breachers. Numerous healthcare devices suffer security flaws, including imaging equipment. Added together, those factors point to an increase in attacks on health care institutions. Attacks against health care networks threaten lives, not just productivity. Criminals might believe health care administrators are willing to pay ransoms faster to retrieve health data and help patients. That’s not always the case, as ransomware allegedly led to the death of an infant and was initially thought responsible for the death of a German patient. Individual medical data – name, birth date, blood type, surgeries, diagnoses, and other personally identifiable information – is particularly interesting to criminals. Once compromised, it’s impossible to restore patient privacy, just as it’s impossible to reverse the social and psychological harm inflicted. Forgotten cyber hygiene When IT professionals are always in stressful firefighting mode, they can’t be expected to remember everything. Sometimes patches fall through the cracks, and those vulnerabilities come back later to bite your network. Your IT department may be aware of old vulnerabilities, but just hasn’t gotten around to applying the necessary patches or closing open holes. A virtual private network (VPN) account that remained open, although no longer in use, was how criminals penetrated Colonial Pipeline. Employees had previously used that account to access the company network remotely. How can you uncover cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks? It’s easy for consumers to learn what to watch for and what to avoid. They can download, for example, the Annual Data Breach Report from the Identity Theft Resource Center. You, on the other hand, have a network full of devices, endpoints, applications, and the weakest link in the security chain – users. Yes, you can lower the possibility of user negligence with cybersecurity training. Sure, you can find and read reports about currently existing threats. But without a comprehensive vulnerability management program that brings together every vulnerability scanning tool across your entire attack surface, it’s almost impossible to know what’s threatening your network right now. How do you find a vulnerability in YOUR cybersecurity and IT environments? Most organizations rely on several different vulnerability scanning tools to achieve full vulnerability assessment coverage over their IT environments. Most vulnerability scanning tools focus on only one specific aspect of your attack surface — network devices, web applications, open source components, cloud infrastructure, containers, IoT devices, etc. Vulnerability management teams are often left with the unenviable job of bringing these disconnected tools, and the incompatible data they deliver, together into cohesive and consistent programs. Deploying Brinqa vulnerability management software to perform vulnerability enumeration, analysis, and prioritization allows you to effortlessly synchronize and orchestrate the best vulnerability scanning tools for your environment. The Brinqa platform is designed for data-driven, risk-based cybersecurity solutions. Brinqa include risk models for cybersecurity problems like vulnerability management and application security, which are essentially data ontologies developed based on industry standards and best practices to represent these cybersecurity challenges in terms of data. Brinqa data models and risk scores are adaptive, open and configurable, and include not just vulnerability data, but also additional business context from within the organization, as well as external threat intelligence. For example, the data model automatically considers that if a server is internal facing, and it’s for testing code, then it’s going to differ in priority from an external facing server that is hosting an e-commerce site, and which contains customer personal data and information. Similarly, if external threat intelligence discovers that a particular vulnerability is suddenly very popular among malicious actors and is being used to affect breaches, the data model automatically computes and assigns a higher risk score to the vulnerability. First and foremost, we get you away from having to log into numerous different tools to bring all relevant information together and make it usable. Second, we streamline and automate your common vulnerability analysis, prioritization, and remediation use cases. That's the enormous benefit of Brinqa... The centralization is great, but once you start consolidating, enhancing, and contextualizing all of that data, you can provide a level of prioritization that takes your risk response to another level. Beginning with generic, out of the box rules based on best practices, the environment allows every Brinqa customer the flexibility to tailor analysis to their needs, basically giving them a self-service mechanism to implement their own cybersecurity service level agreements (SLAs). The default rules are like templates or starting points, which you adjust and configure as necessary. It is ineffective and inefficient to make decisions on an ad hoc, case by case basis, about what should be fixed and in what order. Once you implement Brinqa, your automated vulnerability remediation and cyber risk response processes deliver effective, consistent, and reliable results. Spend a little time (no money) to see how simple solving a major headache can be, with a free trial. Frequently Asked Questions: What is vulnerability scanning? Vulnerability scanning is the detection and classification of potentially exploitable points on network devices, computer systems, and applications. What is vulnerability remediation? Vulnerability remediation includes the processes for determining, patching, and fixing cybersecurity weaknesses that have been detected in networks, data, hardware, and applications. What is NVD? National Vulnerability Database (NVD) is the U.S. government repository of standards based vulnerability management data represented using the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). What is CVE? Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures is a list of publicly disclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities that is free to search, use, and incorporate into products and services. What is CRLF? Carriage Return and Line Feed injection is a cyber attack in which an attacker injects malicious code.
Brinqa is actively investigating the impact of the Log4j library vulnerability CVE-2021-44228 disclosed on Dec 9 2021 and associated CVE’s (2021-45046, 2021-4104). This bulletin contains the latest information as it pertains to the impact of these vulnerabilities on Brinqa and will be updated as new information becomes available. We have been continuously monitoring for Log4j exploit attempts in our environment. At this time, we have not detected any successful Log4j exploit attempts in our systems or hosted solutions. We will continue to monitor our environment for new vulnerability instances and exploit attempts and will update this page as we learn more. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) provides a useful summary of Log4J vulnerability guidance that customers may want to reference in addition to any product and version specific recommendations from your Brinqa customer success team. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com
What does cybersecurity mean to your business? This might seem like an odd question, but how an enterprise responds to it can say a lot about the culture and practice of cybersecurity within that organization. There are many different ways to ask the same question — Which function does cybersecurity report to within the enterprise? Who are the internal clients of cybersecurity? Does cybersecurity leadership have a voice at the highest levels of corporate decision-making? There are 2 main schools of thought about the role and orientation of cybersecurity within the enterprise. The traditional school places cybersecurity within the Information Technology (IT) function of a business. In this model cybersecurity reports to IT, IT is the internal client for cybersecurity, and the CISO might report up to the CTO or CIO. It’s easy to see why one might make this association. IT and cybersecurity professionals often have similar or adjacent skillsets and overlapping educational and professional backgrounds. Both functions often deal with highly technical, specialized, and complex information and processes. However, the goals and KPIs of IT and cybersecurity are not only unaligned, they are often in direct conflict. The internal clients for IT are other business functions that essentially pay for the various technology assets (applications, servers, cloud instances, etc.) required to keep the enterprise running. IT performance is evaluated by how seamlessly, continuously, and cheaply they are able to deliver their services. IT doesn’t really have visibility into or an understanding of how these assets are being used by the business, what kind of data they process, which critical business functions they support. When cybersecurity comes to IT and tells them that a particular technology asset or part of the IT infrastructure has problems or weaknesses that could be exploited by malicious actors, they have to weigh the benefits — stopping a potential attack that may or may not happen vs. the costs — resources allocated to fix the problem, unhappy internal clients due to technology assets being unavailable during fixing, valuable time spent fixing and validating the issue. This is a hard sell and essentially amounts to self-regulation. A significant percentage of breaches exploit known vulnerabilities and weaknesses within an organization. Looked at from this lens, it's not difficult to see how such problems can go unaddressed. The modern school of thought recognizes Cybersecurity as its own independent vertical within the enterprise — like sales, marketing, HR, or any other function whose purpose is to help the business function and thrive. In this model, cybersecurity has various different business functions as internal clients, and the CISO might have a seat at the C-level table. Cybersecurity informs business stakeholders of the risks they face as a result of the technology infrastructure they utilize. The business stakeholders provide the context necessary for informed risk triage and collaborate with cybersecurity to identify which vulnerabilities or weaknesses pose the biggest threats to the part of business they own. These prioritized risks are then sent to IT for remediation. Cybersecurity provides guidance to IT on how they may remediate or mitigate a particular problem. Since risk remediation or mitigation is being driven by the business stakeholders, IT is incentivized to fix these problems. Risk-based cybersecurity is a methodology for program design that can help organizations put this modern approach into practice. By putting an emphasis on incorporating business context in the risk analysis process and data models, and by ensuring that business stakeholders are involved in the decision chain, risk-based cybersecurity programs provide a shared space where IT, business, and cybersecurity can come together and collaborate.