Vulnerability management strategy refers to an ongoing, comprehensive process or program that aims at managing an organization’s vulnerabilities in a holistic and continuous manner. It is a continual process that aims to manage an organization’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities long-term.
In this, it involves continuous vulnerability assessments. Vulnerability assessment has a specific start and end date.
Vulnerability assessment refers to a series of operations that are used to define, identify, prioritize and classify vulnerabilities on computer networks, applications, and infrastructures. This assessment provides intelligence regarding the conditions, risks and the background to the security team of an organization. It determines how they can react to the threats appropriately. Sophisticated security tools including network security scanners and threat intelligence tools are the most used resources to assess vulnerabilities in your environment.
Organizations can benefit from vulnerability assessments by understanding the nature of a threat or attack, security flaws, and overall risks. This means the chances of systems breach are reduced and helps protecting the assets of an organization.
Types of Vulnerability Assessments:
An organization is expected to perform its assessments or scans on different levels. They are as under:
1. Network-based scans: These scans are used to identify security attacks on an organization’s network. Occasionally, it can check for risks on wireless and wired networks.
2. Host-based scans: This type checks for risks and threats to an organization through servers, workstations, and on host points of other networks. They offer a wider visibility coverage for configuration settings and patch logs.
3. Wireless network scans: This include the search of the Wi-Fi infrastructure and networks of an organization for threats. They also detect rogue access points and validate security configuration.
4. Database scans: This check the databases for threats and possibly malicious access.
Why Vulnerability Assessments?
Before any form of scanning is done, it’s necessary to understand the organization’s network. Hence, a vulnerability assessment is supposed to start with asset discovery. Knowing this will help to define the vulnerability scans to specific network segments and assets that matter the most.
1. With the use of Threat intelligence and analytics tools, vulnerabilities discovered on an organization’s systems, networks and database can provide clues on what techniques can be used to mitigate any future risks. Techniques may include patching for certain weaknesses.
2. Proactively finding vulnerabilities also helps to prioritize the order of dealing and fixing them.
3. It is a vital process to indulge in timely remediation where managed services help to maintain a view and control over 3rd-party hookups and multiple teams working on a host’s network.
4. Rogue assets including changed profiles on historic IPs can be probed in investigative instances.
5. Real-time knowledge of an organization’s weakness is obtainable from a vulnerability assessment or scanning and these weak points can be sought early and closed up before attackers are able to exploit them.
6. With the right tool, it is possible to gain insights and make choices concerning remediation actions. It will also provide guidance and industry support to issues found.
This helps to:
1. Access control parameters and check if authentication processes can be bypassed.
2. Check that a non-user cannot intercept a password reset.
3. Check the webserver configuration.
4. Check SSL versions, key lengths, key exchange methods, and algorithms.
5. Check OS command, LDAP injections, Script, SQL Injections.
6. Check the overall integrity of your system.
Best Practices for Vulnerability Assessments:
To perform a valid and top-quality assessment, the following has to be considered:
1. Invest in the needed tools for vulnerability assessment and management.
2. Seek to incorporate broad scanning techniques and prioritize risks.
3. Assessments should be carried out as frequently as possible. Weekly or daily assessments should be indulged, as against quarterly scans that most people run.
4. An organization will benefit more when the change-over-time is known.
5. It is important to scan high-value assets and resources in authenticated or credentialed mode and configuration settings should be tested on key hosts.
You should know that vulnerability management never ends. Hence, vulnerability assessments cannot be done away with, because any organization’s network is always changing. To keep up with consistent assessment, the need for threat intelligence becomes expedient. Organizations today cannot afford for their systems to be compromised as that could not only affect their business and reputation but also impact their customers and everyone connected with them. Therefore, conducting timely vulnerability assessment has become a necessity to proactively protect your organization from any impending harm.