It only takes a single cyber threat to cripple your business’s operations. Some cyber threats seek to steal data for nefarious purposes, such as identity theft, whereas other cyber threats seek to take systems offline. There are different ways to “handle” these threats, however, such as remediation and mitigation. What’s the difference between threat remediation and mitigation exactly?

What Is Threat Remediation?

Threat remediation refers to the process of eliminating a threat. It involves taking immediate action to resolve security issues. Threats may include vulnerabilities, network weaknesses, malware and more. With threat remediation, the goal is to completely eliminate the identified threat.

Threat remediation typically involves the following:

  • Identifying the threat
  • Responding to the threat (based on a threat response or incident plan)
  • Investigating the threat
  • Eradicating or otherwise eliminating the threat
  • Validating to ensure the threat no longer persists

What Is Threat Mitigation?

Threat mitigation, on the other hand, is the process of taking preemptive measures to lessen the impact of a threat. It focuses on many of the same types of threats as remediation. Mitigation, though, is all about lessening the impact or “mitigating” threats.

Differences Between Threat Remediation and Threat Mitigation

Threat remediation and mitigation aren’t the same. Threat remediation revolves around eliminating threats. Most threats can be eliminated. If you’re running an outdated operating system (OS) that’s no longer supported by the developer, for instance, you can update the computer with a new, more secure OS. If there are open ports on your network, conversely, you can close those ports. Regardless, threat remediation is designed to eliminate the threat altogether so that it no longer poses any risk of harm to you or your business.

Threat mitigation is different in the sense that it only lessens the impact of the threat. Even if you have a successful threat mitigation strategy, the threat will remain. Mitigation only makes it less harmful. If a computer at your business’s office is infected with a virus, for instance, you may want to isolate it from the rest of your business’s computers. Disconnecting the computer from the network is a form of threat mitigation. Damage has already been done to the infected computer, but disconnecting it will prevent the virus from spreading to other computers.

In Conclusion

Many people assume that threat remediation and mitigation are the same, but this isn’t the case. While they are both processes for responding to threats, they have entirely different purposes. The purpose of threat remediation is to eliminate the threat. The purpose of threat mitigation, conversely, is to lessen the impact of the threat.