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Contents:

Key Takeaways:

  • Definition and Purpose of Vulnerability Management;
  • Vulnerability Management vs. Patch Management;
  • Vulnerability Management vs. Vulnerability Assessment;
  • Vulnerability Management vs. Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM);
  • Vulnerability Ranking;
  • The Vulnerability Management Process;
  • Benefits of Vulnerability Management;
  • Vulnerability Management Best Practices.

What Is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability management is a continuous process focused on finding, ranking, and fixing security weaknesses and configuration errors. Its goal is to lower the risks these vulnerabilities pose to an organization. This task can be difficult due to the large number of possible vulnerabilities and the limited resources for fixing them.

Vulnerability Management vs. Patch Management

Vulnerability management is an active approach to find, stop, lessen, and categorize security weaknesses. Different types of vulnerabilities need different solutions. Patch management is a key part of this, focusing on fixing software vulnerabilities by applying updates or ‘patches. It’s a crucial part of the overall process of managing vulnerabilities.

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For more details on how they differ, you can refer to a previous article I wrote.

Vulnerability Management vs. Vulnerability Assessment

Usually, a vulnerability assessment is part of the larger vulnerability management process. Organizations often run multiple vulnerability assessments to come up with an effective vulnerability management program.

Vulnerability Management vs. Risk-Based Vulnerability Management

Risk-based vulnerability management (RBVM) is a cybersecurity strategy that allows organizations to use security intelligence to identify, prioritize, and address the most serious vulnerabilities based on the context of their risk. This concept is also met under the name of Vulnerability Risk Management.

Unlike vulnerability management, RBVM is a risk-based approach that focuses on the likelihood of a vulnerability being exploited, rather than just on the severity of potential consequences if it is exploited.

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How Are Vulnerabilities Ranked?

Many cybersecurity organizations use the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to assess and convey software vulnerabilities’ severity and characteristics. It is a free and open industry standard. The CVSS Base Score ranges from 0.0 to 10.0, and CVSS scores are given a severity grade by the National Vulnerability Database (NVD).

The NVD also contains vulnerability data that automated vulnerability management solutions and IT staff pull from.

CVSS scores vulnerability management

The Vulnerability Management Process

  • Asset Discovery: the first step in the process is to create an inventory of your organization’s assets, including software, hardware, operating systems, and services. This step will help you keep better track of the current versions and previously applied patches on your assets;
  • Asset Prioritization And Categorization: when you have the directory completed, the next step is to classify your assets based on their risk level and importance to business operations;
  • Vulnerability Assessment: now, with the baseline risk profiles established, and the priority level determined, it is time for vulnerability assessment. The process should consider each asset’s classification, its criticality, and exposure to vulnerabilities;
  • Reporting: determine the various levels of risk associated with each asset based on the results of the assessment. After that, document your security plan and report known vulnerabilities;
  • Remediation: The key step is fixing vulnerabilities, usually by applying patches;
  • Reassessment: After fixing vulnerabilities, reassess to make sure the solutions worked;
  • Verification and Monitoring: Regularly check and follow up to ensure all threats are addressed.

With our Heimdal® Patch & Asset Management module, patching can be fully automated, allowing you to schedule the process according to your own needs.

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Benefits of Vulnerability Management

Improved Security and Control

By regularly scanning for vulnerabilities and pathing them promptly, organizations can make it harder for threat actors to gain access to their systems. Additionally, with a robust vulnerability management program in place, organizations can easily identify weaknesses in their security posture before attackers notice them.

Cost-Effectiveness

As you can see, vulnerability management is essential for safeguarding your company from the acts of threat actors that might try to compromise your systems.

One of the top benefits of vulnerability management is its cost-effectiveness. An automated solution will save your organization from ineffective patching and will also contribute to a reduction of technical debt.

Simply said, vulnerability management aids in the organization’s security posture’s structure and clarity, strengthening its justification to stakeholders who will therefore be more willing to support vulnerability programs.

Quick Response to Threats

Threat actors don’t rest or take vacations! Every day, vulnerabilities are discovered when we least expect them. Organizations can transition from a reactive to a proactive reaction with the aid of vulnerability management.

Setting up a continuous patch management strategy makes guarantees that major vulnerabilities are quickly identified, given priority, and have the resources to be fixed. By doing this, it creates the framework for a quicker and more efficient reaction to threats as they materialize.

Enhances Visibility and Reporting

Having visibility into a project helps stakeholders understand the return on investment in security and can benefit subsequent projects. The resulting reports provide senior management with key metrics and indicators, which are helpful in the process of making informed decisions on key initiatives.

The result of the reports also helps the team with actionable dashboards and trend reports, which help them measure the performance and state of the program.

Operational Efficiency

Maintaining team and system alignment with project objectives and results is crucial, particularly when highly sensitive security for an organization is involved.

Vulnerability management aims to specify the procedure for locating vulnerabilities and resolving them to maintain alignment. It also has the potential to reduce manual workflow, and besides this, it also provides continuous monitoring, alerting, and remediation solutions.

Vulnerability Management Best Practices

  • Conduct Asset Discovery And Inventory: include all the devices and software owned and managed by your organization, as well as those owned by third-party vendors. This is crucial in the vulnerability management process as organizations can determine which assets pose the most significant risk, and thus prioritize vulnerability scanning accordingly;
  • Classify Assets And Assign Tasks: classify the identified assets based on their vulnerability risk to the organization.  Risk classification will help you determine the frequency of vulnerability scanning and the priority of remediation efforts;
  • Conduct Vulnerability Scannings Frequently: vulnerability management should be a continuous protection process, and taking into consideration the speed with which vulnerabilities are discovered, conducting vulnerability scanning regularly is mandatory;
  • Prioritize the Vulnerabilities And Take Action: organizations must prioritize vulnerabilities depending on their impact on the organization after the scan is finished, and take appropriate corrective action;
  • Set Up a Comprehensive Vulnerability Management Strategy: establish a strategy that includes the people, processes, and technology in your organization to manage vulnerabilities effectively. It is important to plan and establish clear KPIs to guide the security team moving on and assess ROI.

How Can Heimdal® Help Your Organization?

Vulnerability management is a continuous process, that if handled manually can put a lot of stress on your IT team and block resources for extended periods. Nevertheless to say that dealing with vulnerability management manually also has a high error rate.

Opting for an automated solution seems to be the way to go nowadays, and luckily, Heimdal® Patch & Asset Management solution comes in handy for your organization.

With our solution, you will be able to:

  • Patch WindowsLinux, macOS, Third-Party, and even proprietary apps, all in one place;
  • Generate software and assets inventories;
  • Easily achieve compliance with automatically generated detailed reports (GDPR, UK PSN, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, NIST);
  • Automatically conduct vulnerability and risk management processes;
  • Close vulnerabilities, mitigate exploits, deploy updates both globally and locally, anytime, from anywhere in the world;
  • Customize your solution to perfectly fit the needs of your organization.

Enjoy a fully customizable, hyper-automated solution, that you govern! Additionally, we deliver to your endpoints locally utilizing HTTPS transfers encrypted packages that have been repackaged and are ad-free.

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Author Profile

Cristian Neagu

CONTENT EDITOR

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Cristian is a Content Editor & Creator at Heimdal®, where he developed a deep understanding of the digital threat landscape. His style resonates with both technical and non-technical readers, proof being in his skill of communicating cybersecurity norms effectively, in an easy-to-understand manner.

Comments
Anuraag Mhalotra on May 12, 2021 at 1:04 pm

The blog has well- explained about the vulnerability management and its importance. You rightly said, this will help to find finding security flaws and minimize loopholes which are inevitable for every organization whether large and small. For this reason, vulnerability management has a significant role in the overall security and growth of the whole system in an organization.

Standard patching procedures detail what happens during normal, regularly scheduled patching. This includes specific calendar dates and maintenance windows when various infrastructure components will receive patching updates.

Alan Edwards

Charlotte Santiago on August 27, 2020 at 9:43 pm

Thanks for sharing such a great article Bianca. From definition and statistics to importance and implementation, you have beautifully described each and every point of vulnerability management. I totally agree that managing vulnerabilities in an organization are extremely important and this blog will definitely help security specialists efficiently manage vulnerabilities and implement a successful vulnerability management process.

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