Managing Vulnerability Backlogs: Prioritization, Remediation, and Reporting

Serena Gray
3 min readMar 18, 2024

Organizations are embracing the activity of strengthening security aspects for carrying out their business activities productively. A robust security strategy will ensure that sensitive and crucial business information and data are protected from cyber threats. Hence, security related vulnerabilities should be tactically handled and worked out accordingly. In this article, you will get to know about the ways to manage vulnerability backlogs.

Following are a few approaches taken by organizations to manage vulnerability backlogs:

1. Leveraging tools: Organizations use sophisticated prioritization tools and thus understand what are those specific issues that need to be addressed first. The combination of issues are also looked upon. These issues can be treated effectively either through some inherent changes in the way the business process is functioning or through compensating controls.

2. The value of feeding: Vulnerabilities are fed back to the developers.

3. Acceptance approach: In this approach, organizations accept the vulnerability backlog and ensure that from now on they will prepare strategic measures to prevent vulnerabilities. It is considered to be an understandable approach, but, needs to be worked out optimally.

Remediating vulnerabilities:

Vulnerabilities need to be prioritized by creating a plan of action. This includes identifying/assessing all assets and then context is applied, since all vulnerabilities are not created equal. It depends upon the location of a bug and whether it can affect the crucial business function. There are certain organizations that depend on the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS). Those vulnerabilities that are being exploited should be the focal point of organizations.

A remediation plan should be developed by the team so that offending components can be patched and removed. A comprehensive view of the IT assets should be included in the plan and it should be regularly updated. Vulnerabilities can also be remediated by leveraging tools with automation capabilities and thus reducing the response time.

Following are a few key metrics that can be used to manage vulnerabilities:

1. Mean Time to Defect (MTTD): The average time is measured to identify or detect a vulnerability, once it becomes present or is introduced in the environment. The effectiveness of an organization’s tools and detection processes are properly assessed. A lower MTDD means detection of vulnerabilities can be done more quickly, after they have been introduced in the market, which, in turn, leads to faster response times.

2. Vulnerability age: Through this metric, the duration of vulnerabilities that have existed in an environment is tracked without being remediated. If the average age is high, then it means the vulnerabilities will persist for an extended period, thereby increasing the risk exposure of an organization.

3. Scan coverage: The percentage of assets or systems is validated by this metric that have been scanned for vulnerabilities when compared to the number of assets in the organization’s infrastructure. No crucial assets are left unexamined by this metric.

4. The status of patch: The percentage of vulnerabilities measured by patch status that have been mitigated or patched. The organization’s progress is reflected in addressing identified vulnerabilities. This metric needs to be tracked over time so that the effectiveness of patch management processes can be gauged and decisions are guided about resource allocation.

5. Vulnerability severity distribution: Insights are provided by this metric into the distribution of vulnerabilities by severity levels, such as, low, medium, high and critical. The most crucial vulnerabilities are highlighted that may require immediate attention.

Conclusion: If you are looking forward to implementing vulnerability testing for your specific project, then just visit online a leading software testing services that will provide a tactical plan of action, so that you can derive benefit out of security test activities in line with your project needs.

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Serena Gray

I work as a Senior Testing Specialist at TestingXperts. I am a testing professional accustomed to working in a complex, project-based environment.