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Vulnerabilities / Threats

5/7/2020
02:00 PM
John Worrall
John Worrall
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Now More Than Ever? Securing the Software Life Cycle

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That's true for software security, even in these turbulent times.

With so much change in the world right now, it's easy to lose sight of what's important in business. In the cybersecurity realm, many COVID-19-related sales pitches highlight the growing importance of certain measures, such as multifactor authentication, while others focus on leveraging emotions like fear or uncertainty. How we relate to crisis, and consequently position ourselves in the market as a result, can teach us something about the state of our business in these crazy times — and perhaps a little something about ourselves.

Regardless of how we approach this "new normal," one thing is true. The current state of the nation — and the world — is forcing many of us to think more seriously about the validity of our business's goals in the midst of a global pandemic. Obviously, these realizations look different for everyone, depending on their business and intent. For me, as CEO of a secure software enablement company, this question comes down to one thing: Is there something about securing applications and infrastructure for organizations that's more imperative now than it was three months ago?

Although a "yes" answer could easily work here, primarily because the desire to solve a problem and help others always feels more immediate during a crisis, the real answer is no — not really. The problem we are solving hasn't changed. Despite ongoing evolution in this area, robust cybersecurity practices and programs across all industries have always been critical. For organizations looking to accelerate security, this may include simplifying the tool onboarding process and automating the execution of security scans. Maybe it involves finding ways to compress results into "units of work" for better decision-making around security. For other companies, this security effort may involve finding ways to link vulnerabilities to real, actionable remediation — quickly and affordably.

The bottom line is, nothing is more critical for a CISO (and the DevOps team) than finding, prioritizing, and fixing vulnerabilities identified across applications and infrastructure. Sure, zero-day attacks make great headlines, but in truth they are rarely used in today's breaches. So, where do the other 99% of cyberattacks come from? You guessed it — the exploitation of known vulnerabilities across applications and infrastructure. This is why organizations today need to continually focus on the basics of proactive security, just like they did three months ago. The software we build and disseminate to the world has to be safe. It must be trusted. Not even a global pandemic can change that.

Digital transformation is everywhere. It's reshaping the behavior of businesses, people, and everything in between. Because new applications are popping up left and right, and our reliance on them continues to rise, software has arguably become the fastest-growing attack surface on the planet. The more attack surface available, the more likely a cyberattack can (and will) take place. And as businesses continue to deliver products and services through software, the need for holistic security is paramount, not to mention an effective program to manage it. From mapping an attack surface to gaining visibility to finding compliance, there are a lot of priorities to consider in security. This reality hasn't changed and likely never will, not even after the coronavirus is nothing but a distant memory.

So, has the recent outbreak of sickness and uncertainty made cybersecurity work more critical than ever? The answer is no. But then again, nothing has made it less significant, either. Security is an unmoving point on the horizon, amid a sometimes turbulent sea.

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A listing of free products and services compiled for Dark Reading by Omdia analysts to help meet the challenges of COVID-19. 

John Worrall has more than 25 years of leadership, strategy, and operational experience across early stage and established cybersecurity brands. In his current role as CEO at ZeroNorth, he leads the company's efforts to help customers bolster security across the software life ... View Full Bio
 

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