With the proliferation of attack surfaces and the ever-increasing sophistication of cyber threats, a smart, powerful and organic approach to vulnerability management is crucial to the protection of your systems.
This means deploying more than routine vulnerability scans.
The following vulnerability management best practices go beyond routine scans to comprise the foundation of an organized approach to identifying and eradicating potential security risks — well before they can blossom into full-blown issues.
1. Broaden System Vigilance
You want the ability to view the status of all of your network assets simultaneously. This means you should have the capability of exercising vigilance across a wide variety of internal networks and public cloud resources, as well as assets that can’t be scanned with cloud agents.
In other words, you want to have the capability of seeing everywhere at once.
2. Scan Your Network Continuously
This is key to identifying and remediating issues in the timeliest manner possible. Delays in identifying issues will leave your system open to attack far longer than is necessary. This wastes resources and exposes your enterprise to risks.
You want a vulnerability management system that is capable of uncovering unexpected access points, web servers, and other devices that can leave your network open to attack with Six Sigma accuracy — on an ongoing basis. This, in turn, means you’ll need a dashboard capable of mapping all of your network hosts (see number one above) to provide well-defined and thorough oversight of your security stance.
3. Automate Remediation as Much as Possible
Look for a machine-learning platform capable of analyzing, correlating and reporting data, and responding to potential threats automatically. You also want rich reporting capability to enable the immediate generation of remediation tickets upon the discovery of possible threats.
Additionally, your system should be capable of providing more than just an alarm.
It should be capable of analysis to provide you with a sense of the nature of the perceived vulnerability. Even better, it should have the capability of assigning priority levels, anticipating consequences and recommending strategies you can follow to implement effective solutions.
In other words, you want a system capable of seeing patterns before they become issues, earmarking the most likely threats and resolving them independently — when it can — as quickly and efficiently as possible. This keeps remediation efforts as simple as possible, which makes getting your arms around them easier.
It also minimizes the need for additional capital expenditures, staff and infrastructure, which lowers your total cost of ownership, as well as makes it more predictable.
4. Inform Key Personnel Regularly
Even with automation — or more precisely, because of it — you must keep the appropriate teams and managers informed. This ensures ample communication with the key stakeholders throughout your organization, as well as their continued buy-in.
Keep management both aware and engaged helps them see the big picture details and keep abreast of procedural changes as the IT environment evolves in response to threats and the remediation tactics they necessitate.
5. Continually Fine Tune Discovery, Ranking and Remediation Processes
What worked yesterday might have triggered a new type of threat today. Hackers evolve right along with your defenses. This makes constantly running penetration tests critical to the discovery of chinks in your defenses — before potential interlopers can do so.
Making every effort to constantly improve your ability to get visibility into threats across your on-premises, cloud, and mobile IT assets will enable you to generate proactive alerts and remediation solutions on an ongoing basis in order to eliminate problems before they become breaches.
These five vulnerability management best practices will help you mount the finest defensive effort possible and keep would-be infiltrators at bay.