Innovation can lead to technology vulnerabilities. Software companies often release updates with flaws in their code that can be exploited by hackers. Once identified, software and hardware manufacturers immediately patch the issues; each subsequent software and hardware upgrade continuing the cycle.
At around 93% of corporate networks, hackers may attempt to breach. Organizations lack the resources to assess and manage these weaknesses, leading to inadequate vulnerability management which often results in breaches.
61% of security flaws on corporate networks date back more than five years.
Unpatched vulnerabilities in software code are used by numerous types of attacks, such as account takeover and ransomware attacks.
When reading about data breaches, the term "exploit" or any similar expression refers to an exploit of a vulnerability. Hackers use these loopholes to write malicious code that can be used for gaining elevated privileges or performing system commands that pose serious network intrusion risks.
A comprehensive vulnerability management program can help reduce your exposure to risk. Getting started doesn't need to be complex - simply follow these steps for success!
Vulnerability Management Process
Step 1. To begin, identify all devices and software you require. All devices that connect to your network should be included.
- IoT devices
- Cloud services
Vulnerabilities can occur in many places. From operating systems and cloud platforms, to software or firmware, you need an extensive inventory of all endpoints and systems in your network for protection.
It is essential to determine what should go into your assessment.
Step 2: Conduct a vulnerability assessment
Next, you will need to conduct a vulnerability assessment. IT professionals typically utilize assessment software for this task and may also conduct penetration testing as part of the evaluation.
During an assessment, a certified professional will scan your system for known vulnerabilities. Their tool compares discovered software versions against vulnerability databases.
Databases may detect, for instance, that Microsoft Exchange is vulnerable. If it detects your server running the same version of Exchange, then it will alert you of a security flaw.
Step 3: Prioritize Vulnerabilities Based on Threat Level
These assessment results provide a roadmap to mitigate network vulnerabilities. While many exist, not all are equally serious. Therefore, you need to decide which ones need immediate attention and address first.
Experts who consider severe should be at the top of this list. The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is widely used by vulnerability assessment tools; it categorizes vulnerabilities based on a rating score ranging from low to severe.
Prioritize vulnerabilities according to your business needs. A vulnerability that only affects one device may not merit top priority; even if the software vulnerability can affect all employees' devices, it may still rank highly as a priority.
Step 4: Remediate Vulnerabilities
Identify which vulnerabilities need fixing first and prioritize them accordingly. Sometimes this involves installing an updated or security patch, or it could involve upgrading hardware that cannot be updated due to age.
Ringfencing is another technique for remediation. This involves "walling off" an application from other users on the network. If a scan reveals an exploitable vulnerability for which there is no patch available, companies may resort to this measure.
Additionally, you can enhance advanced threat protection settings within your network. Once the issues have been rectified, confirm their existence.
Step 5: Document Activities
It is essential to document the vulnerability assessment and management process. This document serves as a vital record for both cybersecurity and compliance purposes.
Document when the last vulnerability assessment was performed and all steps taken to fix each vulnerability. These logs are essential for any future breaches and can also serve as guidance during the next vulnerability assessment.
Step 6. Once a round has been completed, vulnerability assessment and mitigation are not complete. Vulnerability management must continue to be an ongoing effort.
In 2022, more than 22,500 vulnerabilities were reported. Software updates are released frequently by developers; each update may introduce new risks into your network.
Establishing a regular schedule for vulnerability assessments is recommended. It's essential to maintain this cycle of assessment, prioritization and mitigation in order to protect your network from cyberattacks and remove hackers' main enablers.
Start With a Vulnerability Assessment
Begin the journey towards effective vulnerability management. Let us help protect your network from attacks - contact us now to arrange for an assessment!