Vulnerability management is more than just running tests and identifying gaps. Rather it is a process to detect weaknesses and proactively fix them before they are exploited. Vulnerability management lifecycle includes planning and prioritizing to mitigate potential risks and threats. In this blog we discuss what vulnerability management is including the stages of its lifecycle.
What is Vulnerability Management
Vulnerability management is the process of repeated testing, reporting, risk prioritizing and resolution of systems, processes and networks that are susceptible to attacks. All modern technologies contain vulnerabilities. Whether it’s a software defect or a hardware configuration issue, continuous testing and administration is required to close security gaps. Being a continuous process, vulnerability management lifecycle typically consists of the following phases.
The first phase of vulnerability management lifecycle is discovery. Besides existing technology, organizations are constantly updating and scaling their computing infrastructure. New applications and software are regularly introduced and deployed making monitoring these new additions a continuous identification process. Additionally, cloud computing has made organizations more vulnerable to external threats. All this makes it important not only to test and identify internal network vulnerabilities but also cloud and public networks.
Documenting identified gaps in a way that is easily understood and accessible to concerned personnel is the next phase of vulnerability management and what we call actionable intelligence. This includes a detailed record of discoveries that should be organized clearly indicating aspects of affected networks. Issues can further be categorized as Fix, Acknowledge and Investigate. Resources should be assigned to address identified vulnerabilities and false positives should be eliminated before moving on to the next phase.
Prioritizing identified risks will enable you to respond to them more efficiently. One way to prioritize risks is through the level of urgency. Risks that are critical to business operations should be addressed first. Risks that could adversely affect business continuity and could result in huge financial loss should be given priority. Furthermore, gaps that affect regulatory and internal policy compliance should be on top of the list for remediation. Finally, the scope of the threat should determine its order of priority with larger attack surfaces needing urgent fix. Risk ratings should also be adjusted to meet individual organization structures.
The resolution phase is the last phase that includes risk response in order to reduce and eliminate business risks and protect valuable IT estate. How this phase unfolds depends on what was established in the risk prioritization phase. Obviously, risks that were identified as critical will be the first ones to be addressed. This phase requires thought and careful consideration because some issues may be an easy fix while others may not. Keeping costs and convenience in mind, some issues may need to be completely eliminated or replaced with new applications. Additionally, keeping a track of all fixes, reporting progress, and reasons for the decisions made would be key in efficient vulnerability management.
Vulnerability management is one of the most important aspects of information security in every organization. Security experts at Cyber Chasse can help organizations not only develop but successfully implement a true and effective vulnerability management lifecycle program. For more information, read here or contact us here.