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What Is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability Management refers to the security practices that proactively identify, prevent, mitigate, and classify vulnerabilities within an IT system, and is an important part of any cybersecurity strategy. Some cybersecurity analysts even say that Vulnerability Management is the foundation of information security programs.

The goal of vulnerability management is to lessen the overall risk exposure that vulnerabilities give to the organization. This can be a challenging task given the large number of potential vulnerabilities and the constrained resources available for remediation.

What Is a Vulnerability Management Program?

Vulnerability management programs are used to identify, rank, emphasize, improve, and rectify vulnerabilities that are usually found in software and networks.

An effective vulnerability management program constantly monitors, analyses, and assesses risk. Usually, behind a vulnerability management program is a vulnerability scanner that automatically assesses and understands risk across the entire infrastructure of an organization.

The Vulnerability Management Program in Four Steps

When looking to implement or improve your vulnerability management program, there are four steps you should be considering:

1. Identifying Vulnerabilities

The first and most important phase of a vulnerability management process is to reveal all of the vulnerabilities that may exist across your environment. Identification is crucial for an organization to know what vulnerabilities are potential threats. To make it even easier, we recommend automating the process.

2. Evaluating Vulnerabilities

Once all the vulnerabilities have been identified as part of the first step, the next step consists of evaluating the said vulnerabilities appropriately, according to the level of risk they pose to your organization, and your organization’s risk-based vulnerability management program.

Vulnerabilities should be prioritized by their severity. Vulnerability scores (CVSS) can help you determine how to rank the vulnerabilities they’ve discovered, but it’s also important to consider other factors to form a complete understanding of the true risk posed by any given vulnerability. The gravity of a vulnerability should determine how quickly it is remediated.

3. Tackling the Vulnerabilities

After the evaluation stage and prioritizing vulnerabilities based on risk factor, it’s important to properly address them. Depending on the vulnerability, you can follow one of the two paths:

  • Remediation: Remediating a vulnerability means taking measures to fix it by closing open ports, patching software, or using a detailed process exception. The majority of organizations remediate vulnerabilities once they’ve understood the risks and prioritized them. Generally, this is the most preferable option whenever possible;
  • Mitigation: In case a vulnerability cannot be fully remediated, organizations can temporarily choose to mitigate the vulnerability (reduce its likelihood of being exploited) until it can be fully remediated.

4. Reporting the Vulnerabilities

To effectively manage the risk that vulnerabilities represent, organizations must increase the speed and accuracy with which you identify and address vulnerabilities. For this reason, many organisations regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their vulnerability management programme. For this, they might make use of the visual reporting features offered by vulnerability management tools.

How to Strengthen Your Vulnerability Management Program: Tips & Tricks

  • Conduct Comprehensive Scans: While many organizations originally believed that scanning servers and endpoints on the workplace network was sufficient, the complex and quickly changing IT world of today calls for a comprehensive strategy. Your vulnerability monitoring programme should immediately detect devices as they join to your network for the first time and provide visibility into your full attack surface, including the cloud;
  • Continually Assess Your Vulnerabilities: Infrastructures and applications are subject to daily, if not hourly, modification. To ensure that you find new vulnerabilities as soon as possible, you must continuously scan your environment;
  • Automate Your Processes: To effectively manage modern threats your company meets at scale, you should design an automated vulnerability management process. Every vulnerability management program relies on human judgement, but automation can speed up the repetitive tasks that come before and after these crucial decision points.

The fast change rate in hacking methods and techniques in the current cybersecurity landscape has made the idea of a safe environment more and more difficult, causing many organizations and individuals to simply react to these threats. However, organizations that are taking their cybersecurity status seriously are looking for ways to foresightedly seek those vulnerabilities throughout the network environment that hackers would exploit to gain access and follow through with their actions to a malicious end.

How Can Heimdal® Help Your Organization?

Taking into consideration the fast change rate in today’s cybersecurity landscape, and the fact that new vulnerabilities appear every hour, relying on a manually-driven vulnerability management strategy can make it difficult to identify vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

Heimdal® Patch & Asset Management solution will help your company by automating the patching and vulnerability management processes in your company, so that you can save time and resources, and move from a reactive approach to security, to a proactive one.

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 based 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 utilising HTTPS transfers encrypted packages that have been repackaged and are ad-free.

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Conclusion

One way or another, vulnerabilities need to be remediated. Too many times have organizations sat back and acknowledged minimal vulnerabilities because of time or profit loss impediments only to have a major security breach occur not long afterward. Bypassing these threats by implementing a firm vulnerability management program makes sure that you can identify, inform, and prioritize vulnerabilities before they turn into a data breach. Thus, your organization can engage a solid security standpoint regardless of what threat actor tries to breach your network.

Maintaining and supporting a continuous vulnerability management program allows you to assess the effectiveness of its vulnerability discovery, analysis, and mitigation, and provides guidance in future decision-making.

You should always make the necessary adjustments in your processes along the way, ensuring that your company maintains an exhaustive understanding of its critical assets and keeps its infrastructure secured.

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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.

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