7 pillars for effective vulnerability management in IT systems

7 pillars for effective vulnerability management in IT systems

gestión efectiva de vulnerabilidades



Vulnerability management is a critical security process that has been an important part of cybersecurity operations for decades.

Security and risk management teams continually struggle to protect assets.

…and, above all, customer data, reducing threats against their businesses.

Furthermore, CISOs have trouble optimizing their programs and achieving desired results.

Daily, the number of cybersecurity vulnerabilities increases, causing the attack surface to expand beyond the limits of traditional IT.

In this regard, more companies of all sizes understand the importance of having a vulnerability management program and expanding it with strict cycles and minimal security baselines.

However, some enterprise security teams describe their vulnerability management programs as simple “scan, patch, and rescan” processes.

Rather an effective vulnerability management program requires consistent processes, business context, risk prioritization, timely remediation, mitigation, and actionable metrics.

All without business interruptions.

Additionally, such management must be capable of providing fully effective mitigation.

In the next point, we will explain its importance.

Cybersecurity Vulnerability Mitigation

Many organizations attempt to prioritize these vulnerabilities based solely on CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) scores.

But this method has proven to be ineffective.

Leading security teams to waste most of their time chasing down the wrong problems while not attending to many of the vulnerabilities that pose the greatest risk to businesses.

Therefore, a risk-based approach to vulnerability management allows IT, security teams, to focus on the most important vulnerabilities and assets-

So they can address the real risk to your business instead of wasting time on vulnerabilities that are unlikely to be exploited.

Key challenges

  • As the scope and scale of your company’s IT infrastructures increase, a lack of coordination between cross-functional teams creates gaps in asset inventory.
  • Even the best vulnerability management, infrastructure, operations, and application teams often fail to meet service level agreement (SLA) deadlines, being examined by auditors and stakeholders for their inefficiency.
  • Mismanaging exceptions to mitigate vulnerabilities can increase business risks in your organization.
  • In most of the existing vulnerability assessment solutions on the market, prioritization has become mainstream, so many companies are changing their cybersecurity strategy for risk-based vulnerability management.

The evolution towards a risk-based cyber-economic approach

  1. Discover and classify assets

Most of the companies have complex interconnections of servers.

Therefore, with cloud instances, desktops, laptops, mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT), among others.

These assets are dynamic and seemingly borderless.

They move and grow continuously.

As this footprint increases, so does companies’ exposure to cybersecurity threats.

Maintaining asset inventory is critical to any robust cybersecurity program.

Being aware of this inventory is also critical to a vulnerability management program.

vulnerability management

  1. Protection anywhere

Users must be protected wherever they are and no matter what devices they use.

Today, more than ever, mobility is a challenge for all organizations and, as it could not be otherwise, security has to facilitate mobility, not hinder it.

A complete security strategy can never be effective if your employees and customers are not protected at the same level inside or outside the company.

Whether using their desktop PC, laptop or smartphone.

In addition, in this equation, you have to include new factors such as virtualization and the cloud.

Consider some questions when you think about your security strategy:

  • Do my employees and clients have the same level of protection when are they connected to Wi-Fi or a public network?
  • Can my security solutions protect me if I decide to virtualize my company data or go to the cloud?
  • Are my users and my data protected when they use smartphones or tablets?
  1. Scan vulnerabilities with optimal frequency

Vulnerability program managers often face the dilemma of selecting the correct scan frequency for their IT systems.

So, what is the correct scan frequency: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual?

The right frequency is derived from your company’s risk tolerance, and industry regulatory compliance mandates.

Also, the number of assets, such as critical infrastructure.

Most importantly, however, this frequency must be rational and synchronized with the remediation cycle of your systems.

Companies must use various scanning methods in combination to achieve the desired scanning frequency, such as:

Agent-based, network scanning, and passive network devices.

  1. Prioritize vulnerability remediation

Companies won’t be able to fix all vulnerabilities for a variety of reasons, such as having limited resources and patching is not always possible.

Therefore, discerning critical vulnerabilities from non-critical ones becomes imperative.

Information security teams must be able to delimit and make pragmatic decisions to make vulnerability management more manageable.

In this regard, companies must use a combination of internal and external intelligence sources to prioritize vulnerabilities.

These should be correlated with internal sources.

Such as business importance, security posture, risk logs, change management systems, CMDBs, Pentest data, network accessibility, and network control data.

The idea is to use multiple factors and continue to focus on the business context.

Information security teams should prefer vulnerability assessment solutions that have vulnerability prioritization capabilities.

Also, it is relevant to seek to complement them with solutions that can help with more effective vulnerability prioritization.

vulnerability management

  1. Handling Exceptions

The essential principles of cyber-resilience are intended to reduce the likelihood and impact of threats.

Therefore, adding various layers of security to your IT environment will help in the early identification of vulnerabilities and will also help to prioritize them.

For example, using a network access control solution will give you control over what can and cannot be connected to your network.

This reduces the possibility of exploitation of unauthorized access.

With these principles, organizations can design and implement mitigation controls to handle vulnerability exceptions.

  1. Implement actionable metrics

Metrics are important, though often neglected, part of a vulnerability management program.

The right metrics help you make better decisions.

Because they can justify and quantify your actions, decisions, and resource utilization.

When they are significant and quantitative, metrics help you find the shortcomings of your programs.

For example, the patch and the fix go hand in hand to the point that.

When we first think about fixing a vulnerability, we think of its patch,

In this regard, metrics such as the percentage of unpatched vulnerabilities are more action-oriented than the total number of vulnerabilities.

  • Measure and compare your numbers to assess the progress, improvement, or fall of the program.
  • Customize reports and dashboards based on your audience to aid decision-making.
  • Choosing the correct metrics helps resources strategize their vulnerability treatment actions and plan their daily responsibilities to achieve better results.
  •  It also helps to maintain management interest and support in vulnerability management programs.
  1. Keep your assets and employees working

This point, often forgotten, is one of the most important for the success of effective vulnerability mitigation management.

As your assets and IT security teams must be able to work without security being an impediment.

Safety must be the most natural for your employees.

It should not get in the way of their work performance.

Therefore, good practices in cybersecurity should look for solutions that simplify the most common tasks, automating as much as possible the number of processes.

Such as the disinfection of malware or the recovery of a forgotten password.

vulnerability management

How can we help you?

At GB Advisors, we know how important it is to adopt a risk-based approach to manage vulnerabilities.

As it dramatically improves the effectiveness of your cybersecurity teams, allowing them to focus on the most important assets and vulnerabilities.

If you need advice to decide on the best vulnerability management platform (VM) for your company, do not hesitate to contact us to offer you the best possible solution.

We offer comprehensive solutions to protect your networks from all kinds of vulnerabilities and provide you free advice with incredible discounts. Contact us now!


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