Every year, hundreds, if not thousands, of vulnerabilities are identified, making it important for businesses to patch their applications and operating systems (OS) while also reconfiguring their entire security settings in their IT environment.
In addition to this, organisations are also pushed to proactively work on these vulnerabilities before it’s used against them in the form of a cyber attack.
However, if your business isn’t working on securing its confidential data, it’s high time that you take the security of your IT infrastructure seriously and seek assistance from an IT support provider like Redpalm to conduct regular vulnerability management. This is perhaps the only and most efficient way to offer a higher level of security to your organisation.
That said, if you’re unsure how vulnerability management works and how it can benefit your organisation, you’ve come to the right place.
Here we’ve put together a short guide for you explaining everything there is to know about this process, how it functions and the various solutions it has to offer.
Before that, let’s talk about vulnerability management in detail.
What Is Vulnerability Management?
Vulnerability management is basically defined as a step-by-step process that focuses on discovering, categorising, prioritising and finding solutions for the issues found in your business’ applications (on-premise and cloud both), end-user applications, browsers and operating systems (OS).
Since it’s an ongoing process, it keeps identifying various vulnerabilities within the system so as to remediate it via configuring and patching your business’ security settings.
The two core aspects that vulnerability management focuses on include:
- Being proactive with discovering and managing threats while also looking for potential gaps in the security settings and closing them before anyone takes advantage of them.
- Following a disciplined approach and having an organisational mindset so that potential threats can be easily tackled to ensure your business is always on the driver’s seat!
What Can Be Considered a Vulnerability In Your Business?
Any method that allows an external party to get hold of your business’ data, server, applications, endpoints or your IT support services for that matter, is considered to be a threat to your organisation.
Some tangible instances include insecure configuration of your OS or software, communication ports open to the Internet, means that allow privileged access via approved authentication and susceptibility to enable malware to enter and infect your entire network.
How Do You Define a Vulnerability?
Whilst the definition of vulnerability varies from one security vendor to another, the process of vulnerability management is usually considered as a standard-based and open effort.
It’s also a process that leverages SCAP (security content automation protocol) standard that’s developed by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology).
At a higher level, however, SCAP could be divided into various components:
- CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) – Every CVE focuses on a particular issue through which a cyber attack could happen.
- CCE (Common Configuration Enumeration) – CCE is basically a list of configuration issues within your business’ security system which could be leveraged to create a configuration guidance.
- CPE (Common Platform Enumeration) – CPE is a standard method to describe and discover various classes of operating systems, devices within your IT infrastructure and other applications. It is also used to classify what CCE and CVE applies to.
- CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) – This is basically a scoring system that assigns the severity score to every defined vulnerability and prioritises the resources and remediation efforts as per the threat that’s likely to attack your business. The scores range from 0 to 10, where 10 is the most severe.
Vulnerability Management – What Is The Process?
Every vulnerability is known to only introduce risk to your business. This means, leveraging a defined process is always an excellent way to discover and resolve vulnerabilities in a continuous and quick manner.
When it comes to vulnerability management, the process is divided into 6 steps with each of them having their own tasks and subprocesses.
Let’s take a look.
Step # 1 – Identify
It isn’t possible for your organisation to secure what it’s unaware of. This means, the very first step in your vulnerability management needs to be taking stock of all your assets within the IT environment and discovering details of your services, configurations, applications and operating systems.
This also includes taking into account your authorised agent-based system scan and network scan. Put simply, the identification process needs to be conducted regularly, with an automated schedule.
Step # 2 – Prioritise
Once you’ve identified your assets, the next step is to categorise them into different groups while also assigning a priority based on the risk they’re likely to have on your business.
Step # 3 – Evaluate
The third step in vulnerability management is to evaluate all the vulnerabilities that have been resolved along with the risks that have been eliminated. Only when you constantly assess your threats, will you be able to create a risk baseline.
Step #4 – Resolve
Based on your priority and evaluation, the fourth step is to fix the issues either through reconfiguration or patching. You also need to ensure that all the controls are in place for the process to take place and completed in a timely and successful manner.
Step #5 – Validate
Verifying your remediation is equally important and needs to be achieved through IT reporting and/or additional scans.
Step #6 – Report
The last but the most crucial step, your executives, C-suite and IT professionals need to get an understanding of the present situation of risks surrounding the identified vulnerabilities.
While your IT team needs to have a tactical report in place which covers all the identified and remediated vulnerabilities, your executives need to create a brief summary of the present situation of the risks. At the same time, your C-suite should create a report with risk scores of vulnerabilities found across various parts of your organisation.
A strong vulnerability management solution looks at every process as a continuous lifecycle that’s curated to reduce the risks and enhance the overall security of your organisation. It also needs to be included in your operations as a daily process instead of conducting it quarterly or annually.
The Best Way to Improve The Security of Your Business
Although there are a lot of commercial solutions available out there to streamline and automate the entire process of vulnerability management, not all of them offer comprehensive coverage.
This means, while it’s important to have vulnerability management solutions within your organisation, it’s equally crucial to seek assistance from a professional IT support solutions provider since they’ll offer remediation that’s tailored to your business needs!