Man holding unlocked lock showing vulnerability management program

Keep Your Network Safe: Why Every Organization Needs a Vulnerability Management Program

The cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve as cybercriminals look for new ways to exploit IT assets using the latest technology. Instead of relying on phishing attacks and human error when infiltrating an organization’s IT system, malicious actors will use programs that automatically scan for vulnerabilities in the system. They can use these weak points or coding errors to remotely take control of IT assets, or hold sensitive information for ransom. This technology makes it easier for almost anyone to initiate a cyber attack, which has led to an increase in the number of breaches over the last few years.

Organizations can use similar scanning technology to identify and patch vulnerabilities in their systems before a breach occurs. But preventing cyber attacks takes a village. Every cybersecurity strategy should implement what is known as a vulnerability management program. This group will monitor the entire IT network for potential vulnerabilities, while tracking the remediation process to make sure the most severe threats are resolved as quickly as possible. Investing in a vulnerability management program will enable organizations of all sizes to reduce their risk landscape.

Every organization needs a vulnerability management program in today’s high-risk environment. This article will help you to learn how these programs work and how they prevent cyber attacks.

The current cybersecurity landscape

The cybersecurity landscape has changed. Organizations can no longer afford to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to protecting their networks. Cybercriminals regularly search for potential vulnerabilities in the most widely used software programs and IT assets, such as those from Microsoft, Adobe and Google. They have many tools at their disposal. Criminals will often share vulnerabilities and proxy attacks on social media. Malicious hackers have also started selling malware toolkits to aspiring cybercriminals, which has increased the incident rate.

Organizations need to take a similar approach by scanning for potential vulnerabilities 24/7. But not all vulnerabilities are created equal. Many IT managers rely on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) when assessing the potential impact of a vulnerability, but this is only one way of analyzing the severity. IT teams should use automated scanning tools that incorporate several different risk factors, including the vulnerability’s CVSS score, how many times it has been mentioned on social media, and the potential harm it could do to the organization.

The way we work has also changed dramatically over the last two years. During the pandemic, many organizations shifted to remote work, which increased their reliance on IT assets and digital software systems. This has increased the scope of the risk landscape, and companies need to take a more hands-on approach to combat the rising number of potential vulnerabilities.

When organizations scan for potential vulnerabilities, they often create large amounts of data, which can leave the IT team feeling overwhelmed. Some issues can get lost in the shuffle, leaving the network exposed to vulnerabilities for months on end. The most pressing and dangerous vulnerabilities should be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent a breach.

What is a vulnerability management program?

A vulnerability management program will address all of these problems at once. The program establishes clear protocols for identifying, tracking and remediating potential vulnerabilities. This will help the IT team analyze the entire threat landscape, so every person uses their time efficiently.

It begins with taking inventory of all the organization’s IT assets. Many companies fail to include certain programs, apps and devices in security assessments, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), but any asset that can be used to wage a cyber attack must be accounted for.

Once the team has inventoried all assets, they can begin scanning the entire IT network for potential vulnerabilities using a multi-factor approach. The program will automatically rate each vulnerability based on the probability of a breach occurring and the potential damage. The system may generate large quantities of data, but teams can use this scoring system to prioritize vulnerabilities that pose the most risk.

The IT department should use a ticketing system to keep track of all potential vulnerabilities and software issues. Each incident report should include important details, such as the time and date it was reported, the risk level, whether the asset contained sensitive information, and the time and date it was remediated. Workers can use this method to make sure every incident gets accounted for.

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The scanning program should also make it easy to create and share cybersecurity reports. IT teams can use these tools to demonstrate the value of their work to management. They can also use this data to track their progress when it comes to various key performance indicators, such as the average amount of time it takes the team to remediate potential threats, and the average number of threats reported within a set period of time.

Organizations of all sizes should use a comprehensive vulnerability management program to reduce their risk landscape in today’s increasingly complex digital world.

 

Head of Security Research at NopSec