Vulnerability score (CVSS) vs risk score: What is the difference?

A vulnerability is a known weakness or flaw within your digital assets that malicious actors can exploit. In cybersecurity, risk is a prediction of how much an organization stands to lose in the event of an attack, in terms of stolen or damaged assets. A cyber threat exploits a vulnerability and increases the risk to your systems, data, and assets. 

Understanding the differences between risk vs vulnerability can help security professionals better optimize their vulnerability management programs and minimize cyber risk to their organizations.

What is common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS)?

The CVSS is a ranking system that marks the severity of known vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) are given a score of 1-10 to indicate a severity rating of low, medium, high, or critical. These scores are based on the characteristics of a vulnerability across different user environments. 

The CVSS is not a measure of risk but cybersecurity teams can still use the ranking to compare vulnerabilities and quickly prioritize the high-risk ones for remediation. However, vulnerability scores often lack business context and may lead to ineffective remediation processes. 

Discover how Armis increases vulnerability visibility to help you understand asset risk.

Risk scores: Are they any better?

While the CVSS is a general-purpose ranking system, risk scores are tailored to organizations, taking into account their assets, exposure to cyber threats, and the impact of the vulnerabilities found. Security teams are given contextual data-based scores that help them understand the risk factor and decide which vulnerabilities to remediate first.  

Risk scores help remediation teams filter out vulnerabilities that pose little to no risk, so organizations can better manage risk and improve cybersecurity.

Asset vulnerability management with Armis

The Armis Asset Vulnerability Management (AVM) solution provides enterprises with business-critical risk-based prioritization. The Armis platform calculates these risk scores based on the following factors: 

  • Known risks such as vulnerable components or unpatched software.
  • Anomalies such as high-volume traffic or devices trying to access unknown domains. 
  • Threat intelligence and identification, including CVSS scores, of known potential threats and vulnerabilities such as Log4j and WannaCry.

Book a demo today to find out how you can gain complete control over the entire vulnerability remediation lifecycle.