When security exploits occur, businesses and individuals often look at ways in which to patch the vulnerability at the heart of the problem. This is, of course, the right thing to do, but it suffers from being reactive rather than proactive.
In order to tackle cyberthreats more effectively, companies must regularly assess their networks and applications to ensure that security flaws are eradicated before exploits occur.
The issue of businesses waiting for exploits to occur is heightened when warnings from security researchers are ignored, either through negligence or naivety. Over the years, there have been numerous instances of researchers informing businesses of potential security pitfalls, only to have to go public with their findings after nothing had been done to rectify the issue.
Similarly, Google’s Project Zero employs security analysts to discover zero-day exploits across its own software and those made by its competitors. Google then gives developers 90 days in which to correct the fault before going public. Although the inflexibility of the 90-day limit has led to disputes between Google and other technology firms, the decision to actively search software for security flaws can only be a good thing for consumers.
Of course not every business has the budget required to employ a dedicated team of security researchers to assess their applications, but there are other possibilities. Continuous monitoring software can be used to assess your IT resources for vulnerabilities and if businesses are using web applications, it is worth looking for security vulnerabilities at the code level. Once flaws have been found, businesses can then attempt to correct the code, update the software or deploy a web application firewall.
Ultimately, companies everywhere owe it to themselves and their customers to take an active role in cybersecurity because patching will never be as effective as prevention.