Vulnerability Management System: what is it and how to implement it?

Let’s talk about what is a vulnerability management system from a cyber security perspective and dive into implementation on one.

Vulnerability Management System
Vulnerability Management System | Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

The increase in the number of cyberattacks in the corporate environment is shocking. According to research by BBC News a week ago, over two hundred US business organizations who used a Florida-based IT company’s software were targeted by a “colossal” ransomware attack.

With this, the need to protect the security of organizations’ data becomes a management priority. The consequences of these cybercriminal invasions amount to billions of dollars worldwide.

CIOs and business owners are looking to optimize their vulnerability management to strengthen this control and ensure cyber protection. In this article, you will discover in detail, how to implement this management process.

What is vulnerability management?

It is a fact that no organization is 100% protected against cyber threats. Therefore, it is more than necessary to adopt solutions that mitigate risks and strengthen business security.

Vulnerability management is the process of identifying, analyzing, classifying, and addressing these risks. With this process, IT can correct weaknesses, implement controls, minimize impacts, among others, to ensure the health of the business.

In this way, such management must be performed continuously and closely monitored. Also, all changes must be compared so that the process is measured, risks are controlled, and the organization remains protected.

The four main functions of vulnerability management system are:

  • Discovery: detect and correct errors or problems that may represent some risk (security, functionality, performance, etc.).
  • Reporting: use the report as a guide to redefine the program configuration whenever necessary and ensure its effectiveness.
  • Prioritization: prioritize the issues to be corrected according to approach, budget, processes, etc. And, in this way, implement the security mechanisms and perform their updates.
  • Response: correct (eliminate the risk) and mitigate (reduce the likelihood of the risk recurring) the identified problems, reinforcing the security systems’ lasting quality.

Advantages of a vulnerability management solution

Being cloud solutions, they are easy to implement and maintain; they are scalable and expandable, incorporating new functionalities and enhanced security measures that the organization’s need to change.

Precisely because of the above, they provide users with great flexibility in managing costs: they tend to have a lower initial cost and, in general, have fewer recurring costs.

They give a full picture of the organization’s security weaknesses, where they are, and how easily they can be exploited. Some tools even inform users of the skills and knowledge required to be exploited.

And, as we see in the following survey of the types of risks facing an organization, vulnerabilities rank highest in the order of risk importance.

Other added benefits of a vulnerability monitoring and management system

As mentioned earlier, as the number of vulnerabilities increases, the need to constantly detect them becomes more and more important. Therefore, being able to perform automated scans will help to reduce the risk of exposure.

Moreover, if we integrate our tool into the constant monitoring system, we will have near real-time information about our exposure surface as it evolves.

As a final point on the benefits of vulnerability management solutions, the idea is to complement its work with Patch Manager or any other automated patch management tool so that business-critical software, applications, and operating systems are up-to-date and protected from vulnerabilities.

Phases of successful vulnerability management

  • Identification of each asset across the enterprise infrastructure.
  • Information gathering, in which a complete assessment of both vulnerabilities and configuration errors is performed.
  • Analysis and comparison, aligning the vulnerabilities detected with security and business objectives to prioritize the measures to be taken according to the criticality of the assets, the type of threats, and the severity of the vulnerabilities.
  • Detection, sorting, and correction are practically automated in almost all vulnerability management tools. Determining which vulnerabilities are most likely to be exploited and even the type of attacker who could exploit them and prioritizing the order in which they should be addressed corrected.
  • And finally, measurement and development of indicators to check that the measures adopted have achieved their objective and make it easier for us to communicate the benefits of the vulnerability management system internally.

 6 steps on how to perform vulnerability management?

Now that you know what vulnerability management is and its benefits to organizations, let’s explore how to implement it.

Discover below some enabling strategies on how to implement a vulnerability management system.

Map business data

First of all, it is interesting to map the important business data (related risks, business size, general infrastructure, financial applications, devices used, data storage locations, software manufacturers, versions used, installation location, line managers, among others).

Establish who is responsible

Vulnerability management is an activity that requires technical training, so the quality of the personnel involved is essential to ensure its operational and analytical effectiveness. Ideally, an auxiliary IT intelligence team should be set up to guide the operation.

Identify all risks

Once the data is mapped and the people have been defined, it is time to identify risks and their ramifications. All potential problems, virtual or analog, must be collected and their direct and indirect influences identified.

It is important to be careful with software that handles stealthy information, such as personal and financial data. This is because sensitive data is directly related to the company’s strategic and commercial stability and survival.

Analyze the scenario and define priorities

Analyze risks and prioritize vulnerability management plans. It is important to involve the leaders of the sectors or operations at risk in the remediation and mitigation process.

In addition, it is important to emphasize that impacts on the macro scenario cannot be neglected under any hypothesis.

Generate reports

Reporting is a strategic tactic to ensure that the progress of vulnerability management operations is measured. Adopting intelligent metrics can facilitate analysis and optimize decision-making.

Correct vulnerabilities

Finally, the last strategy to implement vulnerability management solutions in this article is to fix vulnerabilities in a structured way. Since problems can occur at any time and of any size, it is essential to structure a roadmap for dealing with risks.

Determine a model to follow, a person in charge to contact, estimate specific deadlines, etc.

Technological evolution requires significant training, and IT specialists must be prepared to handle the situation, ensure cybersecurity, and guarantee the company’s development conditions. With these six strategies including the benefits associated with vulnerability management software, IT specialists can structure vulnerability management more easily and safely.

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