Vulnerability Management For Cybersecurity Dummies
Studies show that about 50% of organizations have suffered one or more data breaches in the past year. That’s 1 out of 2 companies. What’s more, the Forrester Global Security Survey reveals that software vulnerabilities were the largest factor to contribute in those breaches.
In the landscape of cybersecurity, a single tiny vulnerability is all it takes for cybercriminals to slip-in and steal valuable data. This is the reason why the Center for Internet Security (CIS) ranked vulnerability management in its Top 18 CIS Controls.
The terms, explained
Vulnerability management can be defined holistically as the process of identifying, categorizing, prioritizing, and resolving vulnerabilities in operating systems (OS), enterprise applications (whether in the cloud or on-premises), browsers, and end-user applications.
In understanding the concept, three terms pertaining to cybersecurity are often referenced. In fact, these three are sometimes used interchangeably, despite them having different meanings. We have found Compuquip Cybersecurity to have perfectly distinguished the terms:
- Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities. In cybersecurity, a vulnerability is a potential weakness in a security architecture that opens an organization or individual to cyberattacks.
- Cybersecurity Threats. The term “cybersecurity threat” refers to combination of tools and methods involved in a cyberattack. These threats are not inherent to the network. Instead, they leverage vulnerabilities on the network.
- Cybersecurity Exploits. Exploits can be defined as when a cybersecurity threat is applied to a vulnerability to conduct some form of malicious activity. Impacts of these exploits may vary by threat and vulnerability type.
With the advancement of technology, new threats surface almost every day as cybercriminals leverage on various organizations’ vulnerabilities. This creates exploits that gets harder and harder to mitigate. Thus, vulnerability management processes should always be adaptive and flexible in blunting new cybersecurity threats.
Its importance, emphasized
Network vulnerabilities are not always inherent. As an organization’s system and operation takes its natural course, it’s network are bound to acquire vulnerabilities- the nature of which is dependent on the business.
These security gaps are not always obvious and easy to spot. This is what makes it even more dangerous. Once spotted by attackers, they can use these weaknesses to damage network assets, trigger a denial of service, or worse, steal sensitive information.
Thus, the key is for you to find out network vulnerabilities before the cybercriminals do.
A statistical research featured in Infosecurity Magazine reveals that almost 60% of data breach were due to an unpatched vulnerability. In essence, nearly 60% of the data breaches suffered by the respondent organizations could have been easily avoided by simply implementing a vulnerability management protocol that would have addressed critical patches before attackers leveraged on its exploitation.
The suggested solutions, enumerated
There are various ways on how to build a robust vulnerability management program. Actually, you have the option to create a program internally or use an outsourced service from a managed security service provider.
If you are building a program internally, the following factors are suggested to be taken into account:
- Inventory Management. Come up with a tracking system for your assets to know which vulnerabilities have been addressed and what’s not.
- Patch Management. Determine a clear plan on how you intend to deliver security patches to your network assets.
- Vulnerability Scanning Solutions. This is the part where you would be needing vulnerability scanning tools to detect network weaknesses and log them for patches. Consider also checking external network assets with vulnerability scanners.
- Risk Assessment. This process is a follow through of the penetration testing. The best strategy is to prioritize the easiest to fix vulnerabilities that would connote a bigger impact on your system security.
As previously mentioned, another method of building a vulnerability management process is to use a vulnerability management service. By outsourcing the process, you are afforded access to an experienced team of professionals which is used to handling vulnerability and patch management plans.
Regardless of the method you are going to use, the primal importance of vulnerability management in an organization’s cybersecurity protocol cannot be more overemphasized.
When you conduct thorough risk assessment in periodic schedule, you are always one step ahead of malicious attackers that can pose a great threat not only in your business, but also on the data security of your would-be-affected customers.