What is Vulnerability Management?

concept of vulnerability management and cybersecurity

As the world has moved to rely on technology more and more, the creativity and ingenuity of bad actors have increased too. With more connected devices and endpoints, there is a need for stricter cybersecurity measures for businesses. One such option is a proactive approach to finding security risks. Vulnerability management programs can help identify, manage, and mitigate risks. So, what is vulnerability management? We explain below.

The Basics of the Vulnerability Management Process

With every new system and software, cybercriminals find ways to initiate cyber attacks. In fact, the number of data breaches increased 17% from 2020 to 2021. In the modern IT environment, it’s crucial to limit your attack surface by finding these weaknesses before they’re exploited.

Vulnerability assessment is more than just patching and reconfiguring security vulnerabilities; it’s an ongoing, proactive practice that helps you prioritize your system security. So, how are vulnerabilities defined, and what does remediation look like? We outline the basics below.

1. Vulnerability Scanning

The first step of vulnerability management is scanning for vulnerabilities within the system. Vulnerability scanners will look for open ports in a system, test the security of remote log-ins, ping network-accessible systems, and more. The scan will grab information about what operating systems, software, file systems, and laptops are being used. Data from the network scan is compared with known vulnerabilities in the vulnerability database.

2. Prioritize and Evaluate Vulnerabilities

Once risks are discovered, they need to be categorized and prioritized. There are a number of tools to define vulnerabilities, but many vendors use the security content automation protocol (SCAP) standard from the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). SCAP components include common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE), the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS), common configuration enumeration (CCE), common platform enumeration (CPE), and more.

These components help with risk management by giving security teams a standard to define known vulnerabilities, score them, and prioritize remediation.

3. Fix Vulnerabilities

With a baseline of risk tolerance established and vulnerabilities prioritized, it’s time to move on to treating the issues. Depending on the criticality and cost to fix, an organization may choose to remediate, mitigate, or disregard the vulnerability. Deciding what action to take comes down to the level of risk and the cost and downtime associated with the vulnerability management solutions.

The security team should perform another vulnerability scan to verify that the security gap is repaired after remediation occurs.

4. Report Vulnerabilities

Last but not least, identified vulnerabilities are reported to the IT team, C-suite, and other executives. Typically, this is in the form of high-level reports and dashboards generated by the vulnerability management tool. This step helps ensure that the organization has a real-time idea of their risk levels, shows trends in network security, and allows the business to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements.

New vulnerabilities pop up with every new endpoint, operating system, and piece of software that your organization uses. Instead of waiting for a data breach to occur, take a proactive approach to your network security. If you’re ready to improve your organization’s IT performance, consider reaching out to Warwick Communications. Our professional services in northeast Ohio can help with comprehensive data and network security management. Contact us today to get started.