Easy Ways to Implement Vulnerability Management Skip to main content

The Industry’s Only SaaS-Delivered Enterprise DLP

Our unique approach to DLP allows for quick deployment and on-demand scalability, while providing full data visibility and no-compromise protection.

No-Compromise Data Protection is:

  • Cloud-Delivered
  • Cross Platform
  • Flexible Controls
DATAINSIDER

Digital Guardian's Blog

Easy Ways to Implement Vulnerability Management

by Chris Brook on Tuesday November 15, 2022

Contact Us
Free Demo
Chat

Having a vulnerability management program in place - one that identifies and prioritizes fixing bugs in software - is a critical part of every organization's IT team.

No IT system is completely impenetrable, and it can be difficult to combat the growing number of threats. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can proactively prevent attacks that go beyond the regular security protocols. In this article, we’ll review vulnerability management — what it is, how it can benefit your business and how you can implement it on your own network.

What is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability management identifies, evaluates, and reports security vulnerabilities present in the IT system of an organization. Organizations need to find vulnerabilities in their system to minimize threat elements.

Before understanding vulnerability management, it’s important to understand the difference between vulnerabilities, threats, and exploits. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings.

  • Vulnerability: the weakness in the architecture that creates the possibility of a cyber-attack.
  • Threat: the risk of an attack that uses the given vulnerability.
  • Exploit: the process of attack (i.e., when the threat is exploited by a cyber-attacker).

According to a 2022 report, cybercrime has increased 600% during the COVID-19 era. Security vulnerabilities in an IT system are technical weaknesses that give hackers a spot to attack. With effective vulnerability management, the security team can identify and fix these vulnerabilities before they’re exploited, thereby keeping the network more secure.

Complexities Involved in Vulnerability Management

Some businesses find implementing vulnerability management challenging for various reasons, such as: 

  • Vulnerability management software tools are difficult to use.
  • They take up network bandwidth.
  • Reporting vulnerabilities is different from remediation, as that’s a separate process with its own costs.
  • Vulnerability management is an ongoing process that needs to be carried out regularly.

For these reasons, many companies choose not to have a vulnerability management program. Many of these companies believe that firewalls, anti-malware tools, and an Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) are adequate defenses, and, therefore, vulnerability management is unnecessary. However, vulnerabilities can exist even with all the above-mentioned security tools.

Easy Ways to Implement Vulnerability Management

A vulnerability management implementation program doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. Handling it step by step makes it very easy and even small companies can run it smoothly. Here are the four steps for vulnerability management:

  • Identify vulnerabilities
  • Evaluate vulnerabilities
  • Address vulnerabilities
  • Report vulnerabilities

1. Identify Vulnerabilities

The vulnerability scanner will look for possible vulnerabilities in the system. It will scan network accessible systems by pinging them. It will also identify open ports and services and go through the already known vulnerabilities to see if their risk level has changed.

It’s important to properly configure the scanner. Since they take up a lot of bandwidth, their running hours should be scheduled when the network is mostly free.

2. Evaluate Vulnerabilities

Once the scanner returns with possible vulnerabilities, the next step is to determine the severity of the vulnerabilities. Here are some factors that come into play during the evaluation phase:

  • Is it a false alarm or a real vulnerability?
  • If it’s real, is it covered by the security measures (firewalls, etc.) taken by the company?
  • How easy is it to exploit this vulnerability?
  • Is it possible to exploit this vulnerability from a remote location?
  • How long has it existed in the system?
  • If the vulnerability was to be exploited, how would it affect the company?

After evaluating the vulnerability, it’s easier to assess its impact on the company, if any. If it is serious enough, it will enter the third phase.

3. Address Vulnerabilities

If a vulnerability is considered a threat, it needs to be addressed. And if the threat level of the vulnerability is high, it needs to be treated immediately. There are three steps to address a vulnerability:

Remediation: In this step, the security team is able to patch the vulnerability to prevent hackers from exploiting it.

Mitigation: When a patch isn’t available, the security team will need to mitigate the risk in order to minimize its potential impact. This also gives the team time to come up with a patch. 

Acceptance: If the cost of fixing the vulnerability is higher than the threat from it, the security team will leave it as it is. This is often done with low-risk vulnerabilities.

For example, Google issued a Chrome update in June 2022 to resolve four high-risk vulnerabilities in the browser. Releasing the update was an important step for Google’s vulnerability management program, and for business and individual users of the Chrome browser, installing the update is crucial for effective vulnerability management. 

4. Report Vulnerabilities

It’s important to create reports of existing vulnerabilities so they are recognized and regularly inspected. If a low-risk vulnerability turns high risk later, it will be easier to manage if it’s already reported and under analysis.

With regular assessment, organizations can keep vulnerabilities in check, and with up-to-date reports, IT security teams can discover the remediation techniques they need to keep their systems secure.

Vulnerability management programs generally have options for exporting data to create customizable reports that can be seen from the admin dashboard. This helps the security teams understand the severity of vulnerabilities and to identify vulnerability trends.

Careful Planning & Robust Tools Make Vulnerability Management Easy

Careful planning can help with the easy implementation of vulnerability management. With constantly changing threats, organizations need to find and remediate their vulnerabilities. It becomes even more important as companies add new cloud servers, networks, applications, and other resources to their environments.

Every new change opens the possibility of introducing a new vulnerability. Even adding a new affiliate partner, supplier, or customer can give the attackers new opportunities to exploit possible threats. With the right vulnerability management solution, an organization can make changes while staying safe from threats.

Conclusion

Vulnerability management isn’t just nice to have; it’s a must-have tool to help ensure the safety of your network. Implementing vulnerability management can help you:

  • Identify vulnerabilities
  • Evaluate the risk to your network
  • Remediate or mitigate the risk
  • Reduce the risk of future vulnerabilities

Network security is the number one priority of any IT team, and vulnerability management is an essential weapon in the team’s arsenal.
 

Tags:  Vulnerabilities

Chris Brook

Chris Brook

Chris Brook is the editor of Data Insider. He is a technology journalist with a decade of experience writing about information security, hackers, and privacy. Chris has attended many infosec conferences and has interviewed hackers and security researchers. Prior to joining Digital Guardian he helped launch Threatpost, an independent news site which is a leading source of information about IT and business security for hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide.

Recommended Resources


The Definitive Guide to DLP

  • The seven trends that have made DLP hot again
  • How to determine the right approach for your organization
  • Making the business case to executives

The Definitive Guide to Data Classification

  • Why Data Classification is Foundational
  • How to Classify Your Data
  • Selling Data Classification to the Business