Why is enterprise vulnerability management so important when running a business that operates on the internet? And how are big brand companies implementing vulnerability management process to ensure that nothing blows out of proportion?
These and more you will get to learn in the course of reading this article. But first…
What Exactly is Vulnerability?
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The word Vulnerability is a popular notion in the enterprise security domain.
When we mention vulnerability in this scope it refers to a defect in a system that can leave it open to attack.
Vulnerability is any type of weakness that is present in a computer system, computer program code, or in anything that allows information security to be exploited.
When we talk about vulnerability, we are in effect referring to: a system weakness, attacker access to the weakness, and the attacker’s ability to exploit the weakness using a tool or technique.
Examples of Vulnerabilities Are:
- Human error
- Weak passwords
- Software that is already infected with virus
- Missing data encryption
- Network misconfiguration
- SQL injection
- Buffer overflow attack
But Why Do We Need Vulnerability Management Program?
What’s the importance of vulnerability management programs? According to a report by the U.S. National Vulnerability Database, over 18,000 were published in 2020. The result of the research made recently about some popular organizations confirmed a lot of positive vibes that vulnerability management programs can bring to any organization.
When an establishment has a vulnerability management program set up, they are more prepared to be protected from enterprise security risk and attacks that the presence of vulnerabilities can cause.
According to a 2021 Vulnerability Statistics Report published by Edgescan where the severity of web application vulnerabilities was analyzed, it was found that 50 percent of internal application vulnerabilities are considered a high or critical risk
The oldest vulnerability discovered in 2020 was 21 years old.
Below are some of the security risks that many organizations are exposed to:
- Data loss
- Identity Theft
- Unauthorized network access
- Intellectual property theft
From the research made it was discovered that nothing less than 4 billion records, including credit card numbers, home addresses, phone numbers and other highly sensitive information have been exposed through data breaches in 2019 which is a case study year.
Check some data breaches carried out between July – August 2019
- 14 Million – Hostinger, August 25, 2019
- 1 Million – Suprema, August 14, 2019
- 23 Million – CafePress, August 5, 2019
- 50 Million – Poshmark, August 1, 2019
- 100 Million – Capital One, July 29, 2019
- 5 Million – Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency, July 17, 2019
Vulnerability Management vs Vulnerability Assessment
There is usually a misconception of these two which we cannot do without when we discuss information technology security as an essential part of an organization, but the real deal is that one is on a larger scale compared to the other.
A vulnerability assessment is not just a security scan; rather it’s a one-time project with a defined start and end date.
A vulnerability assessment is usually done after a complete review of your enterprise domain and using some tools to identify a variety of potentially exploitable vulnerabilities that you are exposed to in a detailed report.
The report will not only list all the detected vulnerabilities but also provide necessary action and recommendations for remediation. Such a report often provides the best vulnerability remediation steps.
It will inform you the level of severity the vulnerability can pose like CRITICAL, HIGH, MEDIUM and LOW
The vulnerability assessment involves more than just a single scan, the security expert will have to scan more than one to confirm that any vulnerabilities found are removed completely and the last step is the preparation of a final report before the vulnerability assessment ends.
When we talk of vulnerability management we are referring to IT security on a larger scope. It’s a full IT security management package and never ends as it’s a continuous management circle.
Below is the vulnerability management life cycle that every organization has to follow if they want an attack free enterprise domain.
The steps in the Vulnerability Management Life Cycle above are explained below.
- Discover: This stage helps with inventory of all assets across the network and identify some major assets that are very important to the business of an organization. Develop a network baseline. Identify security vulnerabilities on a regular automated schedule.
- Prioritize Assets: Categorize assets into groups or business units, and assign a business value to asset groups based on their criticality to your business operation.
- Assess: This stage helps with the profiling of the baseline risk so you can eliminate risks based on asset criticality, vulnerability threat, and asset classification.
- Report: This stage measure the level of business risk associated with your assets according to your security policies. We document a security plan, monitor suspicious activity, and describe known vulnerabilities.
- Remediate: Prioritize and fix vulnerabilities in order according to business risk. Establish controls and demonstrate progress.
- Verify: There is need for Verification that threats have been eliminated through follow-up audits.
The benefit of vulnerability management in every organization cannot be underestimated as it protects the entire network through:
- Risk assessment
- Vulnerability Assessment
- Penetration Testing
- Patch and Configuration management
Below are some IT security organizations that provides vulnerability management (VM) tools that is currently been used today.
Top Vulnerabilty Management Companies
- Observe IT
- Alien Vault
In summary, the vulnerability management program is important not just to meet regulatory standards, but also as a basic building block of every security program.
An effective vulnerability management program enables an organization to mitigate these enterprise risks and have higher confidence in the integrity of their infrastructure and the security of their systems and data.