Despite a 24% average increase in spending on prevention, detection and remediation in 2019, compared with 2018, it takes an average of 12 days longer to patch due to data silos and poor organizational coordination, according to the “Costs and Consequences of Gaps in Vulnerability Response” study conducted by Ponemon Institute and commissioned by ServiceNow.
Looking specifically at the most critical vulnerabilities, the average timeline to patch is 16 days.
At the same time, the risk is increasing. According to the findings, in Singapore there was an 18% increase in cyberattacks over the past year, and 58% of breaches were linked to a vulnerability where a patch was available, but not applied. The study surveyed 3,000 security professionals in nine countries to understand how organizations are responding to vulnerabilities. In this report, ServiceNow presents the consolidated findings and comparisons to its 2018 study, Today’s State of Vulnerability Response: Patch Work Requires Attention.
The survey results reinforce the need for organizations to prioritize more effective and efficient security vulnerability management. Of all respondents globally, 34% increase in weekly costs spent on patching compared to 2018. Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they must engage with other departments across their organizations, which results in coordination issues that delay patching by an average of 12 days.
In Singapore, 27% more downtime vs. 2018, due to delays in patching vulnerabilities. Seventy-two percent of respondents plan to hire an average of five staff members dedicated to patching in the next year. On average, 10 days are lost coordinating with the responsible team before a patch is applied.
The findings also indicate a relentless cybercriminal environment, underscoring the need to act quickly. For instance, there was a 17% increase in the volume of cyberattacks in the last 12 months compared to the same timeframe in 2018. Nearly 27% increase in cyberattack severity compared to 2018. Interestingly, 59% of Singapore respondents agree that attackers are currently outpacing enterprises with technology such as machine learning/artificial intelligence.
Although 88% of Singapore respondents believe they do not have enough resources to keep up with the volume of patches, the report points to other factors beyond staffing that contribute to delays in vulnerability patching.
- 67% of respondents noted the lack of a common view of applications and assets across security and IT teams
- 69% of respondents said they cannot take critical applications and systems offline to patch them quickly
- 45% of respondents said it is difficult to prioritize what needs to be patched
- 49% of respondents believe that organizations are at a disadvantage due to the
heavy manual processes needed to patch vulnerabilities
According to the findings, automation delivers a significant payoff in terms of being able to respond quickly and effectively to vulnerabilities. 80% of respondents who employ automation techniques say they respond to vulnerabilities in a shorter timeframe through automation.
“This study confirms the vulnerability gap that has been a growing pain point for CIOs and CISOs,”said Sean Convery, general manager, ServiceNow Security and Risk. “Companies saw a 30% increase in downtime due to patching of vulnerabilities, which hurts customers, employees and brands. Many organizations have the motivation to address this challenge but struggle to effectively leverage their resources for more impactful vulnerability management. Teams that invest in automation and maturing their IT and security team interactions will strengthen the security posture across their organizations.”