An inconvenient fact about running an organisation these days is the soaring amount of cyberattacks that target a wide range of organisations – ranging from start-ups to small and midsize organisations (SMBs) to huge multinational corporations.  At Hold Everything we often hear stories of hacking and data theft.  Some companies just don’t take commonness precautions because they don’t think ‘it will happen to them’.  Unfortunately it sometimes does and always at the worst possible moment.  One client told us of his distress when his system was hacked and put offline just as he was preparing their annual tax returns.  Many companies are held to ‘bitcoin’ ransom’ by hacker pirates who block IT systems and demand ransom. This is where vulnerability management comes in.

One constant route for attackers to manipulate businesses is through discovering vulnerabilities in software application and other systems before vendors can issue patches. These weaknesses often go undiscovered for long periods of time and can potentially allow direct access to an attacker.

An average of 81% of all security and safety issues is associated to network vulnerabilities, whereas 19% is related to internet applications such as APIs.

Vulnerability management is an efficient security solution that helps recognise and address systems, applications, processes, and program vulnerabilities. Vulnerability management is a little bit of an umbrella term specified to cover the entire process of identifying and managing vulnerabilities in software.

What is Vulnerability Management?

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Vulnerability management is the process of determining vulnerabilities in an environment, evaluating the risks associated with them, and taking appropriate measures to mitigate them.

It is a proactive approach to manage security vulnerabilities by early detection and reducing the likelihood that weaknesses in code or design could compromise the security of your systems or an endpoint.

Vulnerability management involves several steps ranging from vulnerability scanning to taking other aspects such as risk acceptance, mitigation, and remediation.

Identify assets: The first step in vulnerability management is identifying assets in your company. For example, if a database stores the sensitive information of customers, it needs to be well protected.

Scan vulnerabilities: Once you have identified critical assets, scan them for vulnerabilities. You can do this via regular network scanning, penetration testing, or using an automated tool like a vulnerability scanner.

Identify vulnerabilities: Once the network is scanned for vulnerabilities, the pen test results, or vulnerability scan results are analyzed to determine anomalies that suggest risks or potential malicious threats that could take advantage of a security vulnerability or could exploit a vulnerability in the future.

Determine the severity of vulnerabilities: In this step, vulnerabilities are classified on the basis of their severity, the level of risk they represent, and their impact on applications, networks, and servers on the system.

Address vulnerabilities: After determining the severity of vulnerabilities, it is time to accept, transfer, or mitigate these vulnerabilities.

The Importance of Vulnerability Management

Vulnerabilities in a system represent security flaws that could be exploited by cyber criminals to gain access to sensitive data, cause denial of service, and damage to other assets. Attackers are regularly looking for new vulnerabilities they can abuse and take advantage of security gaps such as unpatched vulnerabilities.

Establish a Vulnerability Management Solution
There are a number of reasons why companies set up a vulnerability management strategy. One of the most primary reasons is to adhere to security standards or frameworks, such as ISO 27001 or PCI DSS.

It is also essential to make sure you are using the latest version of your software packages and get official vendor patches when they become available.

Additionally, having a vulnerability management strategy enables you to establish and enhance visibility in your IT infrastructure. This helps ensure that your business can effectively react to security dangers in a timely manner.  It is always better to be forewarned than forearmed.  There is expertise available from many companies such as Tenable and Kenna security who can answer your queries about vulnerability management.