Swisscom Frees Up Limited Resources With Better Data

With the powerful features of VulnDB, Swisscom’s security team is able to perform a centralized governance role, monitoring vulnerabilities impacting the whole organizations and distributing prioritized information to the right people.

About the customer

Swisscom is a telecommunications giant, known as the dominant service provider in Switzerland, where they develop and maintain the wireless and wireline network infrastructure, and boast a market share of 53% for broadband internet, 59% for mobile and 36% for digital TV. Along with its subsidiaries, Swisscom is also active in the banking, energy, entertainment, advertising and healthcare sectors, and is a growing provider of digitization and IT services.

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Every security team knows that resources are finite, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to
manage and mitigate every risk that arises within an organization. This is especially true for a large,
complex organization like Swisscom.

That is the operational challenge faced by Stéphane Grundschober, Vulnerability Manager at Swisscom. He is a member of the group security team, with responsibilities including securing the organization by monitoring the workplace, identifying APT, lateral movement, reacting to new threats,
as well as defining security governance and ensuring security requirements are applied consistently throughout the organization. To achieve this, Stéphane knew that each operational team within the organization would need to be self-sufficient in securing their own processes and technologies, under his coordination.

Limited Access to Limited Data

Stéphane knew that inadequate data, and inadequate access to that data, were preventing him from attaining his goal. For example, security teams within Swisscom were spending much of their time performing CVSS rating assessments instead of focusing their limited resources on managing and remediating the actual risk.

Security teams would be flooded with vulnerability notifications in major applications like Windows, or when vulnerabilities like SPECTRE/Meltdown were disclosed, but the disclosure information lacked the level of detail they needed to effectively help prioritize remediation.

Many hours were lost searching for actionable details. The CVSS rating process proved to be a major friction point for the entire security framework. Teams had different interpretations of the CVSS scoring specifications, and a lot of time was consumed managing the overall process. A change needed to be made.

Introducing Better Data

“We knew we had a gap, we were investing a lot of time. We wanted to devote our scarce resources in actually doing something instead of just rating CVSS scores for vulnerabilities”

Stéphane’s solution was to implement the comprehensive, timely and actionable data from VulnDB. With the powerful features of VulnDB, his team is now able to perform a centralized governance role, monitoring vulnerabilities impacting the whole organization and distributing prioritized information
to the right people.

Using VulnDB’s search features, Stéphane’s team is able to filter for remotely exploitable vulnerabilities with high confidence. He gets real-time alerts for new vulnerabilities impacting the many software assets used within Swisscom, straight to his inbox. And once relevant vulnerabilities are identified, he can disseminate the right information to the appropriate teams so that they have
the details they need to mitigate them effectively.

Comprehensive, Consistent Analysis

Stéphane’s team also benefits from data that is classified consistently and accurately, eliminating the need for his own team to perform CVSS ratings. Additional analysis of advisories, performed by Risk Based Security’s research team, gives Swisscom access to critical, actionable intelligence and
metadata that would not otherwise be available.

“The consistency is really great. I know that there won’t be any discrepancies in the advisory because RBS understands what is in there and they write it in a way that is consistent. RBS provides its own security ratings, and they don’t just consume what vendors or what NVD says. All these elements improve the quality of information, and of the ratings.”

The VulnDB database contains detailed metadata within each applicable entry to ensure proper prioritization and remediation. As well as vendor disclosures, it includes actionable resources like relevant articles and blogs, hackers breaking down exploits and more to spare organizations time that would otherwise be spent on research. Where classifications for a product are not clear, RBS works with vendors directly for clarification.

“A Swisscom colleague asked me, ‘Where do you get this stuff? It’s always great and interesting.’ He asked what websites and forums I was looking at to find this juicy information, and how I had time. I said, ‘No, no, no… it comes straight to my inbox every day.’ ”

Inspiring Confidence by Embedding Up-to-Date Data

Swisscom is able to operationalize VulnDB using the powerful API provided. By consuming the data every three hours, their teams are always armed with the most up-to-date information, and Stéphane is informed on the latest exploitable vulnerabilities that might affect the systems within his organization. As well as being able to effectively guide risk mitigation, he can keep his operational teams accountable and provide an acknowledgement and timeline to his internal and external
customers.

“I know someone is using a certain system so I tell them to take care of it, and they confirm they have what they need to patch. I can then tell my customers that we are aware of the situation, and say with confidence that we have a team on it and provide a timeline for patching.”

According to Swisscom, using VulnDB inspires confidence. All of their teams, from CIRT to DevOps know they can trust the feed powering their security. Swisscom have been able to reduce friction and increase overall operational efficiency by integrating vulnerability intelligence from VulnDB into their risk management process.

“Just knowing we have VulnDB inspires confidence. This is a good feed. When you are exposed to it you know that this is quality information. You can just see it.”

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