The application security industry is currently facing a critical challenge. The rapid increase in vulnerabilities and the struggle for organizations to patch them successfully has led to what is now called ‘The Vulnerability Patching Crisis.’ This crisis is putting organizations at risk of cyberattacks and data breaches.
The number of vulnerabilities in software is growing at an alarming rate, and bad actors are quicker than ever to find and exploit them. According to a study by Qualys, 25 percent of vulnerabilities are exploited on the day of their publication, and 75 percent are exploited within 19 days. This means that organizations have a very short window of time to patch vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.
In this article, we'll explore The Vulnerability Patching Crisis, its causes, and ways to protect organizations in the future.
Our recent report, ’A Study on Secure Coding Training, ' discusses the vulnerability patching crisis. Download Your Copy Now.
The Causes of The Vulnerability Patching Crisis
There are a number of factors that contribute to The Vulnerability Patching Crisis; let’s look at three key areas: software complexity, software release timelines, and the lack of security skills.
Complexity of Software
As software grows more complex, testing for vulnerabilities also becomes more challenging. Our recent study with the Ponemon Institute shows that over 60% of organizations find fixing vulnerabilities in their software applications difficult. This means potential security flaws may go undetected for extended periods, leaving organizations exposed to potential attacks.
Pressure To Release Software Quickly
Many organizations face the challenge of releasing software rapidly, which often results in security measures being overlooked during the development process. This can lead to vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. Only 11% of organizations believe they are able to effectively patch vulnerabilities in a timely manner (Ponemon).
Shortage of Skilled Security Professionals
The scarcity of skilled security professionals exacerbates the Vulnerability Patching Crisis. Our recent study revealed that 47% of respondents pointed out the lack of qualified personnel as a major impediment to remedying vulnerabilities in production.
The shortage of security professionals also challenges organizations' efforts to identify and fix software vulnerabilities. As a result, organizations may struggle to locate the resources and expertise they need to patch vulnerabilities effectively.
The Consequences of the Vulnerability Patching Crisis
The Vulnerability Patching Crisis is causing several negative consequences for organizations. One of the most significant outcomes is an increased risk of cyberattacks. Last year, 54% of respondents experienced a security incident due to an unpatched vulnerability.
Organizations are spending more on security measures to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. However, these measures are ineffective, and organizations are still being breached. This means that organizations are spending more money on security without necessarily getting the desired results.
Read about how organizations are tackling the difficult challenge of developing secure software applications with our EMA Study: Secure Coding Practices – Growing Success or Zero-Day Epidemic?
Reduced productivity is another consequence of The Vulnerability Patching Crisis. Security breaches can disrupt business operations and reduce productivity, leading to lost revenue and increased costs. Organizations may also have to spend time and resources investigating breaches and repairing systems, which can further impact productivity.
What Can Be Done?
While The Vulnerability Patching Crisis looms large, there is something that can help offset the risks: secure coding training.
Equipping developers with the knowledge and tools to write secure code from the start minimizes vulnerabilities at the root. This proactive approach significantly reduces the number of vulnerabilities that need patching, easing the burden on security teams and minimizing the window of opportunity for attackers.
In addition, secure coding training fosters a security-conscious culture within development teams. Developers become active participants in security, not just passive recipients of vulnerability reports. This collaborative approach leads to faster issue identification and remediation, further strengthening the organization's defenses.
Build Securely From The Start
The Vulnerability Patching Crisis is a severe problem that organizations must address. Organizations can reduce their risk of cyberattacks and data breaches by addressing them. With the right approach, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with the vulnerability patching crisis and ensure the security of their systems and data.
Suppose you’re ready to be part of the solution and focus on building a culture that prioritizes security. In that case, you can learn more about our Application Security Education Platform or talk to our team of experts today.