“Don’t try to patch everything; focus on vulnerabilities that are
actually exploitable. ”

Risk-based prioritization of network vulnerabilities

Not all security risks are made equal. And given the sheer volume of network vulnerabilities that exist on networks, prioritizing the issues that pose the most risk to an organization is fundamental to effective risk management. It’s why being able to accurately identify the misconfigurations that pose the most risk to network security is a top concern for network owners.

Many tools that are currently relied on to detect vulnerabilities are known to perpetuate alert-fatigue, are unable to effectively prioritize risk, and are not succeeding in making the day-to-day network security checking process more efficient and effective. Which is why elite cyber teams choose Nipper and Nipper Enterprise.

 How Nipper analyzes security risks

Nipper’s Security Audit automates a best-practice configuration audit, performing almost 300 different checks proven to identify configuration issues. This not only provides unrivalled accuracy in detecting misconfigurations in firewalls, routers and switches - it also provides a network risk context for any issues it finds. Competitor products use CVSS severity rather than risk scoring, but Nipper also takes into account other factors representing risk to the network, not just to the device.

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This includes:

  • The impact of an exploitation of the misconfiguration
  • How easy it is to exploit, to assess risk likelihood, and
  • How easy it is to remediate.

Having this granular level of configuration analysis, equips risk owners with the information needed to properly allocate time and resources to fixing the problems that matter most.

Why elite cyber teams trust Nipper’s risk rating

Nipper performs a highly accurate and in-depth configuration audit by reading and virtually modelling a device configuration to take into account default settings and interdependencies across the network. The solution provides automated risk-based prioritization of issues by looking at the impact of a finding against the network, measured against the exploitability of the issue. Our expertise in network security and penetration testing allows us to confidently score the findings that Nipper raises, to ensure that users of our product can prioritize their workload to start delivering the biggest improvements to security posture first.

Aggregating risk findings and prioritizing fixes

Nipper can output the findings data it generates in machine-readable formats, such as JSON, so that it can be ingested into technologies like SIEM and SOAR. This enables the creation of dashboard reporting that can be tailored to display an aggregated view of all risks detected by Nipper in any given audit. Dashboards can be further configured to show the status of the network with all risks categorized by criticality.

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For larger networks, Nipper Enterprise provides this visibility on a continuous basis, or as a snapshot of the security and/or posture of up to 300,000 firewall, switch and router devices in any given assessment.

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Critical misconfiguration risk reporting

Whilst fixing everything will always be a challenge, having the ability to zero in on the most critical risks on monthly basis, is a radical step forward for many internal audit teams. Critical configuration risks are categorised as such because they could compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) of a network, its data, and applications and the likelihood of exploit is extremely high. For example, an administrative user with a default password is easy to exploit and would give an attacker full administrative access to the device allowing them to make any changes to the device.

Nipper’s risk reports are adept at not only making all critical configuration risks visible to network owners, but also recommending the technical fixes to implement to mitigate them.

Prioritizing critical misconfigurations across the network

Focusing on auditing key devices such as firewalls for misconfigurations is certainly better than not performing configuration assessments. However, switches and routers play important roles in the network, and so critical configuration risks on these devices can end up being just as catastrophic to the network and business as a vulnerable firewall might. An attacker who exploits a switch or router could find themselves in control of sensitive data, and direct access to further critical systems and parts of the network.

To ensure all critical misconfigurations are detected and prioritized for remediation, Nipper audits should be conducted on every firewall, switch and router in the network – every day. It’s why large network owners are adding Nipper Enterprise capability to their security automation stacks.

Realizing security from compliance

The Nipper findings report automatically prioritizes identified risks by criticality to the network. These risk-prioritized findings can then be automatically overlaid onto risk management frameworks and security assessments to assure compliance with PCI DSS, CMMC, NIST 800-171, NIST 800-53 and STIGs - simply by running the report in Nipper.

Using Nipper’s remediation recommendations, internal audit teams can work with network owners to update POAMs to ensure they are risk-based, and addressing the most critical issues first. Helping to deliver security from compliance.

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