4 Steps Every Business Should Include in Vulnerability Management

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Your company’s protection against cyber-attacks and data breaches is as strong as the weakest part of your security.

If you’re like most companies that continually grow and add new technology to operate the business, you have set up layered cybersecurity. 

The right tools cover every network and device that you use and your employees have undergone basic cyber security training.

Therefore, the next step in protecting your major assets is securing the vulnerability management of your infrastructure.

Regardless of how many security points you have to protect your business, they must all be updated and regularly managed.

The attack surface of your business, that can be targeted by cybercriminals, is continually growing. You add new systems, solutions, and work devices. With every new change, the infrastructure becomes more complex and requires more elaborate security.

However, just adding new tools is not enough. The attack surface can change in minutes with every update and employee login.

Hackers come up with new techniques to target companies and individuals every day. New threats can leave your infrastructure vulnerable. If it’s not updated to protect you from zero-day attacks, you lack the tools that can discover and mitigate the attack.

To discover new weaknesses early, companies rely on vulnerability management. Here are the steps you can take to discover flaws in the system and patch them up before they turn into serious and costly incidents.

#1 Testing Your Assets Against Cyber Attacks

Evaluate the cybersecurity and systems you have, as well as the people who use them. After you complete the assessment, you should have the answers to these questions:

  • Which assets are the weakest parts of my security?
  • Can my cybersecurity software, protocols, and tools defend me against a breach?
  • Are my teams ready for a possible hacking attempt?
  • Will IT professionals recognize the threat and mitigate it on time?

Security Testing is essentially discovering any weaknesses in your infrastructure before threat actors get a chance to exploit them.

Traditionally, companies rely on penetration testing. They hire cybersecurity experts to simulate attacks on the network and assess whether those tools and your employees you can protect your assets in case of a cyberattack.

While penetration testing is still a legal requirement for some companies and it offers a deep dive into the vulnerabilities of systems, it has one major flaw.

This type of testing is often done annually or biannually because of the high cost it takes to hire the experts. Also, it tests only a part of the infrastructure from specific attacks.

For the rest of the year, IT teams rely on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) which separates the common flaws into low, medium, or high risk. The analytics help teams organize the schedule for patching up the security.

While the CVSS tool gives a general idea of the current security, it doesn’t indicate the exact vulnerabilities that cause issues and result in breaches.

To stay on top of things, businesses use automated tools to test their security. For example, they can use Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) to test the tools and people they have in the company.

BAS tests the security 24/7 with simulated attacks, analyzes the posture with its previous versions to discover suspicious activity, and isolates key issues that are likely to result in major incidents.

Also, the BAS tool is linked to the MITRE ATT&CK Framework, a library of all the latest methods and techniques that threat actors have used to conduct attacks. This resource also lists the possible solutions teams can implement to strengthen its security.

#2 Discovering Leaked Intelligence on the Internet

Hackers typically start with the data that’s available online. 

While many of them get the leaked credentials from hacking forums and the dark web, they can discover a lot about a company with a quick and simple Google search.

Attack Surface Management is a tool that discovers leaked corporate intelligence on the web. It reveals the credentials that have become available online as well as any confidential data that could lead to unauthorized access to your infrastructure.

#3 Analyzing the Data to Uncover High-Risk Threats

If you’re testing your security with penetration testing, cybersecurity experts analyze the documentation of the attack manually. After that, they suggest which parts of the systems have to be strengthened and how to do it.

Automated tools such as BAS generate forensic reports for you. They continually compare the attack surface and simulate tests in a safe environment to discover if your security tools don’t operate as they should.

The automated report is a comprehensive analysis that highlights high-risk threats and also suggests further steps your IT teams can take in order to improve security.

#4 Patching up Flaws and Strengthening Security

The analytics received after the simulated attacks highlight any possible pain points of your security system. Frequent changes in the attack surface could mean that there are many issues that need to be fixed.

IT teams and dedicated cybersecurity experts start with high-security threats first and work their way down to the less pressing tasks on the list.

They can advise you whether you might need more basic cybersecurity training for your employees and if the tools that protect the company are sufficient.

Scan, Analyze, Fix and Repeat

The key to the proper management of the security is to regularly scan the system for possible weaknesses that could create an opportunity for criminals.

The data that’s discovered with scanning is then analyzed by IT teams who determine which flaws have to be patched up first.

Fixing and improving the security will be different every time. Sometimes the revelations might indicate that you need more tools. In other cases, your employees may need additional cybersecurity training.

Therefore, vulnerability management is a repetitive cycle that involves the discovery of vulnerabilities and the strengthening of cyber defenses of your company.

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About author
Ryan Kh is a big data and analytic expert, marketing digital products on Amazon's Envato. He is not just passionate about latest buzz and tech stuff but in fact he's totally into it. Follow Ryan’s daily posts on Catalyst For Business.