The Vulnerability Management Lifecycle
The vulnerability management lifecycle is a cybersecurity process that strengthens an organization’s capacity to foresee and react to cyberattacks.
What Is A Cybersecurity Vulnerability?
As far as IT security is concerned, a vulnerability is a weakness or a limitation that enables an attacker to access a system. Three elements must be present for a vulnerability to become a threat.
A system weakness. This is a deficiency within the network or an app. Through this weakness, a hacker is able to inflict harm on a system.
Access to the weakness. A hacker can launch the attack by using a technique or a tool.
The ability to exploit the weakness. The actual damage is inflicted when the cyberattack is conducted.
When all these three factors exist, there is an exploitable vulnerability within the system. When neglected, it is like a time bomb that can cause tremendous damage in the unfortunate event of an attack.
The Pillars Of The Vulnerability Assessment Lifecycle
Vulnerability management is a complex process that takes several steps to succeed. It typically evolves with the growth of the network.
Here are the stages of the process:
It is essential to do an inventory of all the existing assets within the network that will be regularly used in finding vulnerabilities.
After inventorying all the assets, rank their importance to the organization and determine who has access to these resources.
Locate the critical assets and double check the standards and policies for information protection. Therefore, you should assess the business processes, the applications and services, the network infrastructure map, the previous control systems, the information protection processes, etc. Update this consistently to get the full picture of vulnerabilities throughout your system.
Locate the critical assets and classify them to ensure the effectiveness of the prioritization. Prioritize the assets that can generate the most significant risks.
It is essential to categorize these assets according to business units or groups depending on how important they are to business operations.
Accomplish a proper assessment by creating a risk profile for each of your assets.
Vulnerability scans at operating system level, web server level, web application level, etc. must be performed at this phase. Prioritize the vulnerabilities, locate any wrong configuration, and pinpoint human error.
NOTE: Scanning and testing must be thorough and must include all organization assets.
All gathered data must be compiled in a custom report that outlines the prioritized vulnerabilities. It should include step-by-step instructions that must be followed to decrease the security risk that may emerge from these vulnerabilities.
This will serve as recommendation on how to have a prompt and adequate response to any eventual problems.
NOTE: When reporting the vulnerabilities, classify them based on impact levels – low, medium, and high.
Start troubleshooting with the riskiest vulnerabilities. Begin by monitoring them, address the issues causing the vulnerabilities and oversee the situation.
Sometimes, patching your software is enough to address a known vulnerability.
All the network devices must be regularly monitored to keep up with the evolving threats.
NOTE: Controls must be established to express progress. To avoid downtime, check the patches and configuration changes in a test environment before being deployed to production.
Once vulnerabilities have been identified and resolved, there must be regular follow-up audits to ensure they won’t happen again. Also, the success of the process must be reassessed.
Verification is crucial as it limits the exposure of your system to threats, reduces the attack surface, and minimizes the impact of cyberattacks.
Eventually, the verification stage is useful to check if the previous phases have been successfully implemented.
The Importance of the Vulnerability Management Lifecycle
More than ever, organizations rely on their networks and systems for conducting their daily operations, financial transactions, and reputational stability.
A chain is as strong as its weakest link, so a robust vulnerability management program along with a strong cybersecurity plan can protect your organization when the next attack occurs. Therefore, risk mitigation should be prompt and timely to avoid unnecessary expenses and reputational damage.
Regular Patches and Updates
As expected, routine checks for vulnerabilities will lead to frequent updates and patches.
Assessing the vulnerabilities will give more awareness about relevant industry regulations that organizations must comply with. It also creates a proactive strategy for risk mitigation.
Defense Against Advanced Threats
A regular vulnerability management program can provide a solid defense against advanced attacks, sealing the vulnerabilities before any exploitation happens.
The Value of Continuity
Consistency and continuity are essential to stay updated on all emerging threats.
Acting proactively is always better than constant remediation, saving resources before they are wasted on late responses.
The Advantage of Prioritization
Prioritizing the assets that can generate the most significant risks is key. This can be achieved by studying the guidelines carefully and clearly understand which vulnerabilities should be remediated first.
Trust the Experts
Unfortunately, threats are constantly evolving. It can be disastrous to leave it up to chance when cybersecurity is at stake.
Our team of experts can provide consistent intelligence towards data, software, applications, and networks to identify, investigate and respond to vulnerabilities.
StratusPointIT can provide expert assistance and recommendations in crafting policies, best practices, and specifications helping your team create a solid vulnerability management program that can withstand the harshest of cybersecurity threats.