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The MTTR Advantage: How to Fix Web Vulnerabilities Faster

HomeBlog The MTTR Advantage: How to Fix Web Vulnerabilities Faster
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Unpacking MTTR: The Key to Faster Web Vulnerability Fixes

In the complex world of cybersecurity, Mean Time to Remediate (MTTR) is an important measure, especially for fixing web vulnerabilities. Let’s explore this topic and understand what MTTR is, by looking at key stats and insights about finding vulnerabilities, how long it takes to patch them, the costs involved, and what we can learn from this information. 

What is Mean Time to Remediate (MTTR)?

In the field of IT incident management, mean time to remediate is a typical and significant key performance indicator (KPI). Mean Time to Remediate (MTTR) is a metric used to quantify how long it takes a company to resolve an IT event from the moment it is discovered until your security team has finished fixing it. To put it another way, the Maximum Time to Repair (MTTR) refers to how many days it takes to fix a security vulnerability after it is found.

MTTR can also be computed at the macro or case-by-case level.

The following is the MTTR macro equation: 

Vulnerability detected:

According to recent data from sources, web vulnerabilities are identified at an alarming rate. These vulnerabilities span a wide spectrum of severity levels, from critical to low, and can affect diverse web platforms and technologies.

According to the research conducted, the number of identified vulnerabilities has risen from July 2023 to May 2024. In April 2024 alone, around 800 vulnerabilities were detected and added to the database.

Scanning vulnerabilities across all assets in your organization is crucial. Identifying affected vendors provides an essential overview, helping to determine whether you have a homogeneous landscape or highlight significant hotspots in a heterogeneous one. Grouping vulnerabilities by products is an effective strategy to achieve this. For instance, according to general vulnerability statistics, approximately 14-20 vulnerabilities are typically found within the products themselves.

This information allows vendors and researchers to find remediations from. Researchers often attempt to exploit these discovered vulnerabilities to assess their severity accurately. This process ensures that vulnerabilities are not only identified but also properly evaluated and addressed, enhancing your organization’s overall security posture.

Approximate Time to Patch:

The urgency to patch vulnerabilities is directly correlated with their severity. Critical vulnerabilities demand immediate attention, often requiring patches to be deployed within hours to prevent potential exploitation. High-severity vulnerabilities follow suit, necessitating patching within days to mitigate significant risks. Medium and low-severity vulnerabilities, while less urgent, still require prompt remediation, typically within weeks to maintain a robust security posture.

To calculate Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), you add up the total time spent on repairs during a given period and divide that by the number of repairs. For example, if you are examining repairs over a week and there were 10 outages with a total repair time of four hours (240 minutes), the MTTR would be calculated as follows:

Based on the closest statistical values, the Mean Time to Remediation (MTTR) for Critical Severity vulnerabilities is 65 days. Additionally, the research report indicates that 19.47% of all vulnerabilities were rated as High or Critical Severity in 2024. This statistic underscores the importance of efficient vulnerability management and remediation processes, especially for high-severity issues that can significantly impact organizational security.

Approximate Cost for Mitigation:

Mitigating vulnerabilities comes with both tangible and intangible costs. Tangible costs include the direct expenses associated with developing, testing, and deploying patches. However, the true cost of vulnerability mitigation extends beyond these immediate expenditures. Intangible costs, such as reputational damage, loss of customer trust, and potential regulatory fines, can significantly amplify the overall cost of remediation. Studies indicate that the total cost of addressing vulnerabilities can range from two to four times the cost of development, underlining the comprehensive nature of cybersecurity investments.

According to statistics, there are approximately 648 zero-day exploits available for less than 1,000 and around 4,300 available for less than 2,000. These prices are based on figures disclosed by vulnerability brokers and are compared to those seen on exploit markets.

If we look at the current statistics for exploits, there are approximately 3,360 exploits costing less than 1,000, about 1,525 costing less than 2,000, and around 110 costing less than 5,000.

It’s important to note that zero-day prices do not account for time-relevant factors. However, current prices do reflect various dynamic aspects, such as the disclosure of vulnerability details, the emergence of alternative exploits, and the availability of countermeasures. These factors can rapidly decrease the prices of exploits over time. Under certain circumstances, this price reduction can occur very quickly.

Understanding these price dynamics is crucial for security professionals, as it highlights the changing value and availability of exploits in the market, emphasizing the need for timely vulnerability management and remediation efforts.

Conclusion

MTTR serves as a critical barometer of an organization’s ability to respond to web vulnerabilities effectively. Swift identification and remediation are paramount in mitigating potential threats and safeguarding digital assets. As cyber threats continue to evolve in sophistication and frequency, organizations must adopt proactive measures to bolster their security posture. This entails cultivating a culture of security awareness, leveraging automated detection tools, and establishing robust patch management protocols. By prioritizing timely remediation, organizations can minimize the window of opportunity for malicious actors and uphold the integrity of their web environments