Vulnerability management is the practice of scanning production environment and proactively finding and fixing potential weaknesses in an organization’s network security that could fuel an attack. It is important to businesses of all sizes and across all industries to keep this in mind. When planned right, vulnerability management applies fixes after an assessment is completed, especially for high, high-medium, and Day-Zero identified gaps.

These items must be remediated shortly after a report is communicated so a potential cybersecurity attack can be avoided. A good assessor will work with management to eliminated false-positive results that show up in the initial scan of the devices within scope. With no master blueprint for building a vulnerability management system, organizations must determine a customized plan based on available resources and the specific risks for the company. This strategy is known as Security Incident Event Monitoring (SIEM). Tools can be purchased to aid management in the development of a proper SIEM strategy and adjust this strategy as emerging cybersecurity risks continue to change in the environment.

Our firm can assist medium and small businesses to develop a cyber security vulnerability assessment strategy and process. This includes a annual or six-month cadence to ensure that regular vulnerability assessment and penetration reviews can occur to reduce any emerging exposures into the network environment. Vulnerability assessment services and an overall vulnerability assessment approach is one of the most important components of an effective and balanced cyber security program.

One of the key aspects of a successful vulnerability management framework is the regular scan for new or unpatched vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity breaches occur because new vulnerabilities are exploited or older ones are still available. The latter gives hackers more chances to carry out their attacks. Management should have a regular operational process in place that evaluates and tests all security patches before they are promoted into production (often performed with a tool called WSUS). Any changes that occur must be formally documented into a ticket system with approvals, justifications, signoffs, and an audit trail. Emergency changes that occur after-hours can be applied but must follow the same process the next business day to ensure that no change occurs without management approval or knowledge.
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Whether building a vulnerability management program
Whether building a vulnerability management program internally or implementing threat and vulnerability management tools, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure a properly designed operational environment:

  • Inventory Management – taking an inventory of assets verifies that all vulnerabilities in the network have been addressed. Unknown network assets result in unpatched vulnerabilities. Tools should be used to ensure a proper asset management and disposal process in in place.
  • Patch Management – identifying how networks assets will be patched and communicating whether or not some networks need to be disabled for patch work and fixes to major vulnerabilities. As noted, a ticket system and formal change management process should be formally used consistently.
  • Vulnerability Scanning Solutions – threat and vulnerability management tools help companies scan for vulnerabilities then log them to be fixed in the future. Best practice is for management to perform internal scans every quarter and for external penetration and vulnerability testing to occur with an independent external provided every 12 months.
In order to protect a business from sensitive information falling into the wrong hands, a disciplined vulnerability management framework ensures the discovery and defeat of exploitation and theft. Properly implemented threat and vulnerability management programs help management mitigate potential risks and threats, safeguarding the business from cyberattacks and less likelihood that production is brought down from event affecting business continuity.
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