If it seems like the task of vulnerability risk management is growing more difficult by the day, there’s a good reason for that impression. The sheer number of vulnerabilities to manage can overwhelm even a strong security team.
With COVID-19 disruptions and an ongoing cybersecurity skills gap complicating matters even further, it’s critical that organizations identify the right support tools to help get the job done. By deploying an advanced vulnerability management solution — and following some smart day-to-day management practices — it’s possible to mitigate much of the risk endangering your most critical assets.
Key Tips for Successful Vulnerability Management
Before we delve into the variables that should be considered when deploying an automated vulnerability management system, let’s run down some savvy tips for keeping your “crown jewel” assets secure.
- Create an inventory of your assets within all IT environments. The principle here is simple: You can’t effectively defend assets that aren’t visible. This means you need to create a network blueprint identifying every server, workstation, device etc. By fully mapping out your assets, you can identify shadow IT issues and eliminate vulnerabilities that arise from those “forgotten about” elements within your environment.
- Ensure that all patches are up to date. This one sounds simple, but failure to keep software current is a tried and true cause of asset vulnerability. If there are vulnerabilities that cannot be patched, it’s important to consider other steps to mitigate this risk (replacement of an aging or unsupported product, for example).
- In a dynamic IT environment changes are occurring with great frequency. Therefore, it’s imperative to maintain visibility into how these changes impact security. Frequent scanning — enabled via continuous automation — is the best method for ensuring that risk is managed in an ongoing fashion.
- When vulnerabilities are uncovered, focus on smart prioritization. This includes weighing both the potential damage caused by each discovered vulnerability and the likelihood of a successful breach occurring. By prioritizing — and considering how each vulnerability may impact other vulnerabilities — it’s possible to ensure that critical assets are afforded immediate protection.
- Make sure that the whole process is documented. By creating a record, you’ll be able to refer to prior changes and adjustments when moving forward. Tracking in this fashion is essential for avoiding mistakes and managing risk efficiently.
- Deploy the appropriate vulnerability risk management tools. Breach and attack simulation (BAS) platforms, and other cutting-edge security solutions, can make endpoint vulnerability management much simpler through the power of automation. Choosing the right BAS platform, however, is key.
How to Evaluate a BAS Platform
Breach and attack platforms launch non-stop simulated attacks on IT environments. By doing so, they uncover security problems related to vulnerabilities, misconfiguration, and human errors. After detecting vulnerabilities (through simulated attacks with no impact on production), an advanced BAS platform then offers prioritized remediation guidance, allowing organizations to quickly move to protect critically exposed assets.
A fully automated solution, such as the one offered by XM Cyber, allows organizations to continuously monitor their security in both cloud and on-premises environments. Human error can defeat even the most robust and up-to-date security controls. By enabling constant vigilance through continuous testing, XM Cyber ensures that risk is more effectively managed, security practices and protocols are optimized and resources can be allocated in the most impactful and efficient fashion.
The right vulnerability management solution — combined with smart management practices — can provide a higher level of security for today’s organizations. By leveraging the power of automation and continuous testing, BAS platforms are perhaps the most valuable tool an organization can wield in its efforts to reduce risk and maintain strong cyber vulnerability management.
Tamir Shriki is Customer Operations Manager, XM Cyber