In an age of increasingly complex IT security solutions for multidimensional networks, no information security program is complete without an effective vulnerability management program.
These programs are designed to focus whichever resources are available on the most serious issues and risks that exist at any one moment. Thus helping to make networks and their organisations run more cost effectively, and more efficiently in general.
The first process encompassed in vulnerability management is the identification, categorisation and assessment of network assets. In other words, working out which parts of your organisation’s network are worth more to hackers, and thus are at higher risk of attack with greater consequences (such as loss of valuable data). Because every network is in a constant state of change, the information about its assets needs to be continually updated.
The second process assigned to vulnerability management is reporting. While all security programs do this, vulnerability management is about cross-referencing the data between each program and pinpointing the vulnerabilities within each one so they can be prioritised and repaired.
Which leads us on to the next process, and arguably the most important one: prioritisation. Vulnerability management effectively ranks each and every risk discovered across all the network assets that were identified. It is this process that enables the right resources to be sent to the right places, in the right order, so as to provide the most effective means of security protection for an organisation.
The second half of the prioritisation process is risk response. Once the vulnerability management program has flagged up and categorised the risks, an organisation can then choose how to address each one. The response can be one of three options: remediate, mitigate or accept. Ignoring a risk in this context does not constitute as a response.
It is important to reiterate that while vulnerability management is essential, it is only one piece of a whole security program. It cannot work alone to solve an entire risk management challenge. Nor can it run itself. For this reason, an organisation must run it frequently so as to refresh the data and optimise the program’s functionality.