On a quiet Sunday morning in 1904, a fire broke out on the west side of downtown Baltimore. It started to spread quickly, and soon it became apparent that the city’s firefighters could not fight it alone. Immediately, calls for help were telegraphed to other cities.
Fire companies from New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Harrisburg, and elsewhere rushed in to help and had more than enough water and people to fight the fire.
There was only one problem – most of their fire hoses wouldn’t fit Baltimore’s hydrants. So with many firefighters having to sit on the sidelines, the fire prolonged to 31 hours and damaged an area the size of 80 blocks.
How could that be, you ask?
Apparently, in 1904, there were roughly 600 varieties of fire hydrant hose couplings and outlets in the US. This incident brought the National Fire Protection Association to push for a change, and in 1905 a standard was proposed and adopted by several large US industry groups.
Similarly, Security Teams are also Left Alone to Fight the Fire.
The Great Baltimore Fire ended up being the most destructive in the United States since the Great Chicago Fire. You can’t help but think how much damage would have been avoided if reinforcements could help.
It’s a tragic example demonstrating the critical importance of standards for products that need to interoperate for the safety and protection of individuals.
Ironically when it comes to the cyber security world, lack of standardization is still a common problem.
Security teams have to manage endless lists of security findings from disparate scanning tools, not to mention the constant hand-raising and spreadsheet management that is still prevalent for tracking the progress of remediation tasks.
These fragmented processes increase friction, slow remediation down significantly, and keep security teams in a constant firefighting mode.
A recent survey conducted among over 400 IT decision-makers at companies with 500+ employees in the US and UK found that:
“When asked about the aspect of their role that they disliked most, 30% cited the lack of a work-life balance, with 27% saying that much time was spent on ‘firefighting’ rather than addressing strategic business issues.”
Managing Findings from Disparate Security Tools
When it comes to security scanning tools, findings come in all shapes and sizes.
A key challenge in the remediation process is making sense of the numerous and diverse streams of scan and monitoring data.
Each of the many types of scanners deployed has a unique set of metrics and log data structure.
For example, the level of severity alone has many different scales across various tools:
Gaining timely and actionable insight into a system’s overall security posture status requires an in-depth understanding of these tools, mainly because there isn’t one system that standardizes all the findings.
As a result, the security team has to manually organize the data from the different scanners – make sure there are no duplications, and try to prioritize it best they can before handing it over to remediation teams – Development, DevOps, and IT.
Assigning Remediation Tasks to “Fixer” Teams
What’s the only thing in common with all security scanning tools?
Security teams cannot fix any of their findings.
One of the critical challenges that security teams face is that although they are responsible for identifying findings, they cannot actually fix the risks they find. Instead, they need to assign them to the right team for remediation.
The “fixer” teams usually have a full-stack responsibility and therefore require one consistent and prioritized security backlog to help them understand what is on their to-do list.
The fact that communication between these two teams relies on multiple different reports, with varying formats and scorings, creates a great deal of noise that necessitates an enormous amount of manual work, leading to an inefficient remediation process that is full of friction and wasted time.
There’s a fundamental necessity for a system that will standardize the communication of remediation workflows between Security and fixer teams.
Follow up on Security Findings Fixes
Even after the remediation task has been assigned, the security team has to follow up to ensure that it was fixed and collect data on different metrics for reporting purposes. Since many teams are responsible for fixing risks, security teams spend a significant amount of time following up with various teams using different tools.
Once again, the lack of standardization slows the tracking and verification process.
The lack of standardization causes the lives of security teams to be more about putting out fires rather than focusing on long-term planning. But do they need to spend so much of their time on “administration”?
How to Standardize Risk Reduction Workflows
It is clear that security teams require one standardized and centralized platform that consolidates end-to-end remediation from the minute a security finding is discovered to its complete remediation.
Seemplicity was created just for this purpose. It brings standardization to risk reduction and uses process orchestration to manage the remediation workflow lifecycle end-to-end across various teams and systems, unifying multiple individual tasks into one smart unit and automating hand-offs between teams and tools.
Using a platform like Seemplicity, security teams can effectively leverage security orchestration and automation and spend less time manually connecting the dots between fragmented security findings, siloed teams, and distributed tracking systems.
We welcome you to sign up for a Seemplicity demo today.