SCAP can serve as an effective method for organizations to automate vulnerability management. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Are you overwhelmed with monitoring the vulnerabilities within your system? Just when you think you have resolved an issue, another one crops up.
Enforcing cybersecurity is a marathon. So, take a breather by automating your defense strategies with SCAP. Below, you'll find out more about the standard security framework, its components, and its benefits.
Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) is a standard system that helps you automate how you identify the vulnerabilities in your system and comply with existing security requirements in your field.
There are hundreds of cyber threats out there. Combating these threats manually is tedious, to say the least, as it requires you to keep watch on your system continuously. An initiative of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an authority in cybersecurity, SCAP offers you an opportunity to pinpoint your security weaknesses and resolve them with a framework that has been proven and tested.
SCAP offers several components to assist you in setting up a standard security framework that best suits your system. Undoubtedly, all the components gear toward securing digital assets, but each one comes with a unique documentation style with specific codes that align with your data assets. You get a chance to prevent cyberattacks with vulnerability disclosure.
Let's look at some of the most common SCAP components:
An acronym for Extensible Configuration Checklist Description Format, XCCDF describes your security checklists in detail. It also enhances document creation, information interchange, compliance testing, etc.
The XCCDF component has no scanning command due to its descriptive nature. It can reference some other SCAP component documents and allows you to port XCCDF documents to other platforms. The XCCDF has an XML language, and its documents are long with hundreds of lines.
OVAL refers to Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language. Being one of the major SCAP components, it gives you a pragmatic report about the condition of your system.
The OVAL component consists of the following three elements:
OVAL adopts the XML language and functions alongside the XML schemas.
CVE is an acronym for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE). Consider it your go-to resource for identifying various security vulnerabilities and exposures, as it contains a glossary of all kinds of cyber vulnerabilities.
You can use the CVE component to resolve vulnerability and patch-related issues.
CPE stands for Common Platform Enumeration. It's very effective in identifying applications, even when they are similar, with distinct names. It also offers a system that you can use to verify an application's name.
You can use the CPE description system to add text to a name if the need arises.
Cybersecurity is most effective if you implement it with a standardized framework. That way, you have a blueprint of what you are doing and can replicate it across multiple channels. When you implement SCAP successfully, you can enjoy the following benefits:
Adopting SCAP in your operations gives you access to checklists to configure your security system and checkmate patches. As a product of in-depth research and experiment, these checklists guide you in conducting vulnerability scanning and other troubleshooting mechanisms to discover threats that would ordinarily be hidden.
While the default checklists address a series of cyber threats across different spheres, their flexibility allows you to customize them to your specific needs. By so doing, you will improve the quality of your security systems with a sustainable framework.
The impact of security flaws and loopholes isn't always quantifiable. Even when it's obvious that severe damage has been done, you may not be able to put a number to the damage. This deficiency in measurement hinders your ability to proffer lasting solutions.
With SCAP, you can quantify the degree of vulnerability within your system. Your vulnerability scores help you identify areas with the most impact, prompting you to focus on fixing them to avoid an escalation.
SCAP also enables you to differentiate current vulnerabilities in your system from emerging ones. In remedying the situation, you know the length of current and new vulnerabilities and how to manage them.
The stakes of some security compliance are very high; you need a meticulous system to meet them. SCAP checklists address the most essential and common compliance requirements in cybersecurity.
One of the most common non-compliance issues is human error. If you handle your compliance assessment manually, you could make some mistakes. SCAP automates the compliance process by assessing your system's compliance level, identifying deficiencies, and making recommendations to meet the underlined requirements.
In addition to increasing your compliance levels, SCAP saves your time and resources by speeding up the process.
Setting up new software isn't always easy. The manuals aren't of much help either, as they may seem too technical to grasp. SCAP can assess a software configuration setting and launch the software on your system automatically, so you don't have to worry about integrating new software yourself manually.
Due to SCAP's vast popularity, software developers and vendors now create their software in line with SCAP checklists so they can run on SCAP automatically.
One major impact of SCAP in the cybersecurity industry is the provision of standardized names and other identifiers in security issues. To resolve a security flaw or vulnerability, you must first be able to identify it by a name that other people are familiar with. This allows you to share information about the problem with others and assimilate information on how to fix it.
SCAP offers a common ground for people to discuss cyber threats and vulnerabilities and adopt standard guidelines for fixing security issues across geographical borders. In the long run, it makes you more grounded when it comes to securing your digital assets.
Cybersecurity demands continue to grow as more threats emerge daily. This increases your responsibility as you must keep up with the demands—failure to do so may leave you battling with a cyberattack on your hands.
SCAP offers an effective solution for automating the way you track the vulnerabilities within your system. More importantly, the SCAP checklists are some of the best in the cybersecurity industry, so you can rest assured of getting excellent results.
Chris Odogwu is committed to imparting knowledge through his writing. With more than 10 years of experience as a writer, he has mastered the art of simplifying the most complex subjects for easy comprehension. He holds a master’s degree in Mass Communication (Public Relations and Advertising major) and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication.