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Vulnerability Management Best Practices

Introduction

Vulnerability management is a very effective tool to mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack. Security vulnerabilities such as misconfigurations and missing patches can open gaping holes in the attack surface and cause data breaches. Vulnerability management attempts to help enterprises by identifying such weak points in their cybersecurity posture so that these weaknesses can be rectified before they ar exposed and exploited, causing a nightmare scenario. To achieve this goal, organizations need a strong vulnerability management solution that is built on a solid security foundation with desired outcomes and well-established goals.

Develop a Vulnerability Management Strategy

Developing a vulnerability management strategy is important to comply with security frameworks or standards, such as PCI DSS or ISO 27001. However, implementing some vital security controls is a prerequisite to successfully create a vulnerability management strategy. The combination of these security controls is listed below:

People

Organizations should look for talent who can effectively implement the strategy. The adept security team should also have the necessary skills to communicate with stakeholders, such as business management, users, or technical staff.

Process

Crucial processes help you to understand how to mitigate or remediate the identified vulnerabilities. The actionable and achievable processes should be implemented.

Technology

SOC teams need security tools to implement their vulnerability management strategy. The tool should have some essential features, such as:

  1. Database system

  2. Ticketing system

  3. Asset tracking

  4. Vulnerability identification

Visibility of Complete IT Infrastructure

Before performing the vulnerability management, security professionals must ensure that their vulnerability management tool is effective enough to scan everything in their IT infrastructure, such as local, cloud, remote, virtual, and containerized infrastructure. Moreover, organizations often include new IT assets in their current IT environment. Vulnerability management software should dynamically identify and assess new assets soon after they join the corporate network.

Prioritizing Assets

The organization’s IT environment includes different types of assets such as file servers, email servers, database servers, web servers, IoT devices, workstations, and so forth. These assets may encompass a variety of data. Businesses may prefer the protection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), legal information, competitive information, national security, or military secrets, over any other types of data. To this end, organizations need to categorize and prioritize their mission-critical assets. Vulnerabilities on these assets are prioritized first.

Looking for Integration

The integration allows security professionals to control multiple tools with a single console – a centralized system to manage various solutions in a SOC. Therefore, your vulnerability management tool should allow the integration and orchestration of various other tools, such as the Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) tool. Integration also helps you to deal with cybersecurity skills shortage as you don’t need too many security analysts in a SOC to operate multiple tools.

Automating Vulnerability Analysis

The vulnerability analysis is a review that helps SOC teams to focus on security-related issues or vulnerabilities. Doing this manually is time-consuming. You have already identified vulnerabilities and now your security staff is striving to remediate them. Gartner recommends that organizations can enhance efficiency and remediation windows by employing technology that can automate vulnerability analysis. Automating vulnerability can significantly save time and effort.

Applying Multiple Remediation Features

In addition to patching, remediation of vulnerabilities should also include compensating controls (e.g., putting an end to a session, process, or module) and configuration management. The security staff should be trained enough to analyze which remediation approach is the best and appropriate for a specific type of vulnerability.

Conclusion

A robust vulnerability management solution can significantly reduce an organization’s attack surface and deal with the most persistent and devastating cybersecurity threats. You can also read OWASP Vulnerability Management Guide to establish a vulnerability management program in your organization. In this guide, you will be able to find the full vulnerability lifecycle that includes the preparation phase, scanning phase/vulnerability identification, the reporting phase, and the remediation phase.

The vulnerability management solution must support new assets like cyber-physical systems, containers, and cloud computing.

An effective vulnerability management system includes some best practices, such as establishing a vulnerability management strategy, visibility of complete IT environment, prioritizing assets, looking for integration, automating vulnerability analysis, and applying multiple remediation features.

References

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