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Australian CISOs concerned over multi-layered security

By Shannon Williams
Fri 3 Jun 2022

The speed and complexity created by using multicloud environments, multiple coding languages, and open source software libraries are making vulnerability management more difficult, according to new research.

Software intelligence company Dynatrace has announced the findings of an independent global survey of 1,300 chief information security officers, including 100 in Australia, in large-size organisations. 

The research found 76% of Australian CISOs say that despite having a multi-layered security posture, persistent coverage gaps allow vulnerabilities into production. This highlights the growing need for observability and security to converge, paving the way toward AISecDevOps practices. This will empower organisations with a more effective way of managing vulnerabilities at runtime, and the ability to detect and block attacks in real time. 

Findings from the Australian data include:

  • 58% of CISOs say vulnerability management has become more difficult as the need to accelerate digital transformation has increased.
  • More than three-quarters (78%) of CISOs say that automatic, continuous runtime vulnerability management is key to filling the gap in the capabilities of existing security solutions. However, just 2% of organisations have real-time visibility into runtime vulnerabilities in containerised production environments.
  • Only 32% of security teams can access a fully accurate, continuously updated report of every application and code library running in production in real time.

"These findings underscore that there are always opportunities for vulnerabilities to slip past security teams, regardless of how robust their defenses might be," says Bernd Greifeneder, chief technology officer at Dynatrace. 

"Both new applications and stable legacy software are prone to vulnerabilities that are more reliably detected in production. Log4Shell was the poster child for this problem, and there will undoubtedly be other scenarios like it in the future," he says. 

"It's also clear that most organisations still lack real-time visibility into runtime vulnerabilities. The problem stems from the growing use of cloud-native delivery practices, which enable greater business agility, but also introduce new complexity for vulnerability management, attack detection, and blocking. 

"The rapid pace of digital transformation means that already overstretched teams are bombarded by thousands of security alerts that make it impossible to see through the noise and focus on what matters," Greifeneder says. 

"Teams find it impossible to respond manually to every alert, and organisations are exposed to unnecessary risk by allowing vulnerabilities to escape into production. 

Additional Australian findings include:

  • On average, organisations receive 1,777 alerts of potential application security vulnerabilities each month.
  • One-third (33%) of the application security vulnerability alerts organisations receive each day require action.
  • On average, application security teams waste 27% of their time on vulnerability management tasks that could be automated.
  • Organisations realise that to manage vulnerabilities in the cloud-native era effectively, security must become a shared responsibility. 

"The convergence of observability and security is critical to providing development, operations, and security teams with the context needed to understand how their applications are connected, where the vulnerabilities lie, and which need to be prioritised. This accelerates risk management and incident response," says Greifeneder. 

"To be truly effective, organisations should look for solutions that have AI and automation capabilities at their core, enabling AISecDevOps. These solutions empower their teams to quickly identify and prioritise vulnerabilities at runtime, block attacks in real time, and remediate software flaws before they can be exploited," he says. 

"This means teams can stop wasting time in war rooms or chasing false positives and potential vulnerabilities that will never make it into production. Instead, they confidently deliver better, more secure software faster."

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