In our first post on accurately measuring & scoring risk, we examined the holistic network approach many enterprises take around managing risk. This approach is to run vulnerability scanners against parts of their network or the network in its entirety at some predetermined interval. In both cases, scans are run, vulnerabilities are identified and possibly prioritized based on asset value, patching activities are scheduled over the next month or quarter, and the event repeats itself. As we noted, this approach over-simplifies the complex task of risk, as different threats and different assets define different risks.

The answer to this dynamic risk challenge is clear. Organizations need to operationalize risk into their daily security activities, and not make risk management simply a set event that occurs at predetermined intervals. As changes occur to the organizations risk posture based off of the business activities noted in our last post, or larger corporate events such as M&A or moving to the cloud, security organizations need to be able to dynamically and easily analyze this change to their risk posture in real time. To effectively do so, a tool that provides the ability to create different risk scenarios is required. Scenarios enable an organization to address each different threat to their assets as changes occur.

In the previous post, we provided the example of a business unit requesting VPN access to a new business partner after the predetermined scan had already been run. Leveraging a tool that provides the ability to create different risk scenarios, the security team would be able to create a new scenario to identify the new connectivity from the business partner into their network. To truly be effective, the tool would not only need to be able to identify this new connection, but have the contextual awareness of the firewall policy, network topology and any other network security devices that might be traversed between the front and back end systems involved in this new connectivity to accurately identify any potential vulnerabilities that are introduced from this new partnership.

FireMon Risk Analyzer is just that tool. Risk Analyzer enables administrators to create different scenarios: VPN connectivity to new business partners, connectivity to a cloud provider, a new data center coming online. Combined with Risk Analyzer’s full network topology and security policy awareness (which can be continually updated in real time via FireMon Security Manager), end users are able to identify new risk scenarios, proactively identify the new risk introduced from the scenario, and virtually apply remediation to ensure that the most effective remediation is completed with the least amount of effort. Multiple scenarios can be created as different threats or business events are identified, and as changes occur to the configuration or connectivity within the scenarios, end users can easily and immediately re-run the scenario within Risk Analyzer to asses how these changes affect the true risk posture of the organization. Risk Scenarios enable organizations to achieve the goal of operationalizing risk into their everyday activity.