A Business Owner's Guide to Vulnerability Management

How do you keep your business safe when it comes to technology? With this business owner's guide to vulnerability management.

Statistics suggest that organizations today have over 100,000 vulnerabilities in their business technology systems. However, 85% of those vulnerabilities cannot be exploited, at least not realistically.

That still leaves many vulnerabilities that are potential avenues for cybersecurity breaches. This begs the question of what is exploitable and what is not.

This is when you need vulnerability management to determine the areas of your IT security which are truly at risk. 

Further, if there are areas of your IT security that contain vulnerabilities, how do you remedy them? Prevention is better than waiting for exposure to incur. 

Not only is it time-consuming to clean up a cybersecurity breach, but it is costly too. Reports show that, typically, data breaches cost $4.4 million.

To learn more about vulnerability management and how it can help your IT security, keep reading.

What Is Vulnerability Management?

This is a term that IT security experts use to describe strategies, processes, and tools which help to assess systems, applications, business networks, and devices and identify areas of exploitable vulnerabilities in the business technology. Underestimating and overlooking Vulnerability Management is one of the most common cybersecurity mistakes.  

Vulnerability management is about being proactive. Rather than waiting for an attack, IT support takes an ongoing approach to find potential attack vectors. Then, they secure them.

How Vulnerability Management Differs From a Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability management extends your typical vulnerability assessment. Both approaches aim to help businesses discover vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity.

However, a vulnerability assessment is a task that happens one time. There is a particular start and end date to it. In contrast, this is not the same for vulnerability management.

Vulnerability management monitors a business's information systems and technology infrastructure continuously. It is a solution that constantly identifies, discovers, evaluates, reports, and remediates.

Security Vulnerability Types

While there are different criteria for this, security vulnerabilities have a few categories. It depends on items like what caused it, where the vulnerability lives, and how someone can use it.

Here are some types of vulnerabilities.

Network Vulnerabilities

An outside party can intrude on your network via hardware or software. An example of a network vulnerability is insecure Wi-Fi access. Another example is a firewall with poor configuration.

Operating System Vulnerabilities

Hackers can exploit your operating system if they find a vulnerability. They would look to gain access to an asset installed on it, or they would look to cause damage to the operating system. One example of this would be exploiting a superuser account.

Human Vulnerabilities

The human element of the business is often your weakest link. A user could make an error that leads to exposure to sensitive data. They could even create an access point for a cyber attacker to exploit.

Process Vulnerabilities

Process control, or lack thereof, could create vulnerabilities. Weak passwords are an example of process vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Management in Six Steps

With this systematic approach, your business technology has the tools to be effective, continually addressing vulnerabilities upon discovery. While every organization may vary slightly in its method, there is one basic structure for vulnerability management. It comprises these steps.

1. Discovery

First, you must take a thorough vulnerability assessment and include all your IT business technology assets. This means evaluating your configurations, applications, services, operating systems, and more.

The goal, here, is that your business is scanning for potential vulnerabilities. Upon discovery, you will want to classify and secure them. When you can automate this process at regular and consistent intervals, you can uncover more and more vulnerabilities that appear between scanning.

2. Prioritization

Not every vulnerability you uncover will have equal risk levels. When IT security finds them, they must classify them. They can put them in categories based on potential damage and urgency.

When a vulnerability is critical, it should have a higher priority assigned. That way, you can resolve it quickly.

3. Assessment

It is vital to assign a severity score. There are a few frameworks for this. A common one is using the "US Department of Commerce's Common Vulnerability Scoring System."

Your IT security will consider multiple factors. An example is how easy exploitation is. As your vulnerability management strategy develops, this will give you a risk baseline for reference.

4. Remediation

Upon identification and a full assessment, it is time for IT support or IT security to fix the vulnerability issues. Begin with vulnerabilities that have the greatest priority, though. Remediation requires proper controls, which ensures that solutions are effective.

5. Verification

Remediating is important, but you must perform another assessment beyond the remediation. You need to check that the vulnerability is indeed no longer active. You can move to the last phase once you establish the vulnerability is no longer an issue, but correct.

6. Reporting

During each of the six phases, there should be some reporting and documentation. That way, at the end of the phases, you can take all the team's findings and create one final report. Proper documentation will assist IT security in the future for continuous improvements in your remediation strategies.

Further, you can get a better insight into your current risks and the overall position of your IT security.

Vulnerability Management Options

While it may seem time-consuming and complex, it is much simpler than you think when you partner with the right business technology experts. Leveraging their vast experience, Lenet's qualified engineers will apply their talents to solving your organization's technology challenges. Our team can also guide you through the design and implementation of a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan.

Improve your cybersecurity, and click here to schedule a free discovery meeting.

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