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All I Want for 2023 are Improved Security SLAs

It’s that time of the year again. With 2022 behind us, you are probably considering your new year’s resolutions and setting your security team’s goals for 2023.

So how can you ensure remediation effectiveness and add value to the risk reduction process this year?

It’s time to put tracking of Security SLAs at the top of your resolution list – and instead of letting SLAs get lost in the shuffle of daily tasks, turn them into practical and measurable goals.

 

What is Security SLA Tracking?

Many organizations outline service-level agreements (SLAs) for remediation in their security policies. SLAs define expectations of how quickly security teams should address problems and how to prioritize risk levels.

Often SLAs require security teams to fix certain risks within a specific time frame. For example, many companies aim to fix vulnerabilities with a CVSS Score of 7+ in 30 days or less and a 4+ CVSS score in under 90 days. The SLAs vary from company to company and depend on their security maturity.

 

The Importance of Security SLA Tracking

Security SLAs, while important, are usually purely theoretical. They often get lost in the shuffle of daily tasks and management requests.

The first issue is the lack of accountability. It’s easy to forget the SLA deadlines when there is no system in place to call out if they are not met.

The second issue is that it’s equally challenging to prioritize SLAs when there’s no way of knowing which risks need to be addressed first. What happens when there is a backlog with multiple SLAs at risk of being late or not met? Or even worse, when a security team works on too many remediation tasks simultaneously with no way of tracking the SLA statuses?

Next, there is a lack of visibility into the remediation efforts. Knowing exactly how many issues have been fixed and which ones are still outstanding requires a system that can track efforts and results. It can be hard to find out if risks are being addressed fast enough, if they’re being prioritized correctly, or who’s responsible for fixing them.

Another victim of the lack of visibility is collaboration between security and dev teams. Without a good tracking system in place, it can be hard to establish effective channels of communication. Nobody likes to have to ask the same questions all over again, and if there is no visibility into the progress of tasks, it can lead to delays and frustration.

Without a system to track the amount of work required for resolution and real-time communication between all the counterparts involved, there is zero accountability or visibility into who is responsible for fixing a risk, when it needs to be fixed, and whether it has been achieved.

 

Effective Security SLA Tracking

Here are the good news: with the right tools in place, all these issues can be solved.

There is a saying: what is measured can be managed.

That’s why effective security SLA tracking is so important. Companies need tools to measure the extent of work before imposing an SLA on their “fixer” teams – developers, DevOps, or IT.
In short, they need a data-driven approach to prioritize, set, and manage timeframes for different remediation tasks.

Security teams need tools to help them answer high-level questions like:

  • Are we meeting our SLAs?
  • How long does it typically take to fix a risk?
  • Are there any recurring issues that keep coming up, and if so, what is the typical resolution time for those?

They also need tools to keep track of ongoing remediation efforts:

  • What is the progress on the SLA fix for a specific risk?
  • What is the current status of the remediation efforts?
  • Who are the people responsible?
  • What capacity do they have left for new tasks?

 

Manual Work is in the Way of Accurate Security SLAs

There are many moving parts to remediation – getting a unified list of all security findings, identifying who is responsible for fixing them, opening remediation tickets, and ensuring they are followed up on. Reports and SLAs are an integral part of it, giving a bird’s-eye view and insights into the entire process.

But since remediation still relies heavily on manual work, getting these insights is not an easy task.

Today’s security teams manually collect data from siloed scanning tools and try to deduplicate and prioritize to-dos. Since the security teams cannot fix the risks they find, they have to act as a “middleman” and run manual processes to delegate remediation tickets to different “fixer” teams.

Getting metrics such as average time to remediation, open vs. closed findings, SLA compliance, and many more can be very challenging when there is no automated tracking of the remediation steps.

With manual and fragmented processes, how can you expect to track remediation, let alone set goals and KPIs or monitor SLAs?

 

Security SLAs as Part of a Holistic Remediation Process

What’s the key to simplifying the complexity of the remediation process and its tracking?

Automation and data-driven processes.

Having a risk reduction platform in place that automates remediation workflows from start to finish assures having all the remediation-related data built into it.
The data can then be distilled into meaningful insights and actionable items, providing better visibility and end-to-end accountability for the remediation process.

To make sure that SLAs are met every time and at all levels, organizations need a platform that will allow them to:

  • Define multiple SLAs based on the organization’s needs, including deadlines and priorities
  • Track the progress of security SLAs across teams and business units
  • Identify and report bottlenecks and quickly detect any potential delays or failed commitments
  • Automatically assign tasks to the right person or team when a risk is identified
  • Monitor performance to ensure that SLAs are being met
  • Provide visibility into the lifecycle of remediation activities

Security teams can ensure they are meeting their deadlines and maintaining accountability by having a risk reduction platform. And with standard operating procedures in place, your organization will benefit from improved security posture.

Improved SLAs are a new year’s resolution you can actually keep with the right tools in place.

With Seemplicity, you can:

  • Scale and automate risk reduction workflows into one platform
  • Get full visibility of the end-to-end remediation lifecycle
  • Track progress & reduce time-to-remediation
  • Track remediation progress by teams, tools, severity, and more
  • Plan ahead with expected workloads according to SLA
  • Empower developers to own the security backlog

We invite you to schedule a Seemplicity demo today. Happy 2023! 🥳✨🎇