The practice of reducing the possibility that a threat may cause damage is known as vulnerability management. SANS has created a basic framework outlining the stages for effective vulnerability management: Prepare, Identify, Analyze/Assess, Communicate, and Treat are the steps in the treatment process (PIACT).
Prepare means to remove or reduce the likelihood of exposure to a threat. This stage involves planning for possible threats by identifying potential vulnerabilities within an organization's systems and processes. For example, an information technology (IT) department might prepare by creating a plan for updating software on servers, tracking down outdated applications, and removing unused files from computers. The more time that can be spent in advance to prevent problems with computer systems after they have been deployed, the less work needs to be done afterward to repair any damage caused by identified threats.
Identify means to confirm that a threat has been realized. At this stage, potential threats are examined in detail to determine if they actually pose a risk to an organization. For example, an IT department might identify threats to server security by searching for unauthorized activity on logs files, scanning computers for viruses, and testing connections between computers within a network. These activities should be performed regularly to ensure that no threats have gone undetected.
Analyze/Assess means to estimate the level of harm if no action is taken. Vulnerability analysis involves estimating the severity of a threat and determining how likely it is to happen.
While a vulnerability assessment has a beginning and end date, vulnerability management is a continuous process that tries to manage an organization's cybersecurity vulnerabilities over time. This means that you will need to conduct another assessment once a year or more often if evidence of new vulnerabilities emerges.
During a vulnerability assessment, you will identify which systems are vulnerable to attack and estimate how likely it is that an attacker can successfully exploit these vulnerabilities. You will also determine what action should be taken to prevent any possible attacks on vulnerable systems. Vulnerability management involves keeping track of these issues over time and taking appropriate action - such as applying security updates - to protect your organization from future threats.
Vulnerability assessments can be done manually by reviewing each system against a list of known vulnerabilities, or they can be performed automatically by software tools designed for this purpose. There are two main types of automated tools: black box tools that scan networks looking for specific vulnerabilities, and white box tools that analyze code for weaknesses prior to building them into the product.
Black box tools benefit organizations by reducing the time required to conduct audits but they cannot distinguish actual vulnerabilities so they may report false positives. White box tools can be used to detect some specific vulnerabilities at design time but not others. For example, they cannot detect zero-day vulnerabilities that have yet to be published online.
Vulnerability management is a proactive approach to network security that reduces the possibility of defects in code or design jeopardizing an endpoint's or network's security. This means taking action before problems occur.
The goal of vulnerability management is to reduce the risk of systems being compromised by malicious actors. It does this by continuously scanning for vulnerabilities, implementing appropriate countermeasures when found, and maintaining the status of those measures.
Vulnerability management includes both internal and external efforts. Internal activities include building secure software, using secure coding practices when writing code, and training staff members how to identify suspicious behavior. External activities include keeping track of known vulnerabilities so that they can be addressed quickly once they are discovered, and publishing information about newly identified vulnerabilities so that they can be avoided by other companies.
Vulnerability management is necessary because networks are vulnerable to attack from outside sources as well as inside ones. An attacker may compromise an end point by exploiting a vulnerability for which there is no fix or patch available. These attacks are called "zero day exploits". Or, an attacker may simply try many different ways to get into a system until one works. These attacks are called "crash-and-burn" techniques. The only way to prevent these attacks is through awareness and vigilance on the part of users.
It is described as the "cycle activity of discovering, categorizing, prioritizing, remediating, and mitigating" vulnerabilities in a technological system. The scope of vulnerability management goes beyond the realm of computer security to include business activities. External collaborations with other organizations can help broaden the perspective required for effective vulnerability management.
The goal of vulnerability management is to reduce the risk associated with existing vulnerabilities. This can be done by either removing known vulnerabilities or by applying appropriate safeguards when adding new software to the organization's computers.
Vulnerability management should not be confused with security management. Security managers are responsible for ensuring that the organization's security systems are properly designed and adequately maintained. They also oversee the deployment of these systems to ensure they are used as intended.
In addition, security managers may have direct responsibility for certain types of vulnerabilities within their area of authority. For example, an information technology (IT) manager might be responsible for determining how to protect computing resources from malicious code. If this manager fails to take proper action, then IT employees would be vulnerable to attack.
Finally, security managers may work with other groups within the organization to resolve issues affecting multiple users at once. For example, a global security team may collaborate with local staff to investigate reports of malware on internal computers and to prevent its spread further if necessary.
Vulnerability management systems provide businesses with a framework for addressing these risks on a large scale, discovering weaknesses throughout the whole environment more quickly. Meanwhile, analytics assists firms in continuously optimizing the repair approaches they employ.
These tools operate by constantly scanning their assigned areas of interest for any modifications or issues, after which they will notify you if anything is found. If a problem is identified, it can be fixed immediately. Regular scans ensure that problems are discovered before they become big issues - something that could have been difficult to do with traditional security methods.
Most vendors offer some type of cloud-based service that allows users to scan networks, servers, and other devices remotely. This saves time for individuals who must perform this function themselves, as well as providing continuous coverage even when staff members are not present.
The most effective vulnerability management programs will also include a component designed to identify vulnerabilities before an attacker can find them. This involves using ethical hacking techniques to test the security of a network or device before an unauthorized individual can do so. Vulnerabilities found through such efforts can then be addressed before they are exploited by malicious actors.
Such programs may also include a component called intrusion detection, which monitors a network's activity for signs of unauthorized activity. If any suspicious activities are detected, the system can generate alerts so that appropriate action can be taken.
Aspects of a successful vulnerability management methodology