In the world today, companies rely on data and statistics to make strategic decisions for their businesses. With data, they can predict future revenue, market movements, and make better investment decisions. For businesses that know how to use it, data can be an asset that a company would always want to protect.
Think about it. As companies grow, they collect more and more information about their industries, operations, and even customers. By studying all this information and data available to them, businesses can develop better strategies with which to run their business. Guess work is eliminated as they can make more informed decisions based on the knowledge they’ve acquired from gathered data.
This allows them to create products that solve consumers’ problems, as well as personalize services to better suit consumers. But as useful as customer data is to companies, so is it to hackers and cyber-criminals that use them for fraudulent and nefarious acts.
Over the years, there’s been a rise in cyber-crimes and attacks on both private and public institutions. Hackers, knowing how companies value their data, have devised various means to steal and alter them to their benefit. Because most businesses have systems and networks that are connected to the internet, attackers can exploit loopholes or rather, vulnerabilities in these systems.
Organizations that stand a lot to lose if their data is comprised must create a vulnerability management plan that can keep unauthorized users or hackers away from their systems.
What is a Vulnerability?
In cyber-security, vulnerabilities are weak spots, faults, or loopholes in a piece of technology, system, or network that can be exploited by unauthorized individuals to compromise a company’s data. They can be intangible or tangible. Examples of intangible vulnerabilities include the insecure configuration of software or operating systems (OSs), while open communication ports and methods by which hackers can gain access to privileged information are tangible vulnerabilities.
What is Vulnerability Management?
This is the cyclical process of identifying, categorizing, evaluating, remediating, and reporting vulnerabilities in operating systems, software, end-user applications, and browsers. The essence of this process is to continually identify vulnerabilities in a company’s system that can be remediated or treated through patches and system settings configuration.
When it comes to cyber-security, this process isn’t all that is needed to protect data and keep attackers out. There are several other cyber-security tactics that must be employed alongside this to offer the best possible protection.
Cyber-criminals know how to find and leverage loopholes in systems, and they are really good at it. For a vulnerability management plan to work effectively, it must be managed by trained cyber-security experts that are reliable and capable. With the right technology and a capable team, businesses stand a better chance of minimizing attack surfaces that hackers would explore. Visit https://www.cio.com/article/3219371/how-to-build-a-cybersecurity-team.html to learn more on how to build a cybersecurity team.
Vulnerability Management Processes
As with most management processes, having a structured plan keeps you organized and allows you to perform the task efficiently. Although this process can get really technical, it can be summarized into the following steps:
- Asset Discovery: Asset discovery is the first step in this process because it would be impossible to secure assets that you’re unaware of. So, first of all, take inventory of every digital asset in your company including OSs, applications, open ports, and software to identify vulnerabilities. This can be accomplished with a network scan and should be carried out regularly. You may want to consider automating the process to make it much easier.
- Prioritization: Once every asset has been accounted for, any vulnerabilities discovered through the scan should be categorized and prioritized based on their risk rating. Many companies use the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) for this. Prioritization is important because it allows companies to deal with more serious threats and save less serious ones for later.
- Assessment: Once risks have been categorized, they should be assessed to discover applications or programs that they could potentially affect. This step is best conducted with every other department in the company, and not just IT alone. In the assessment phase, a risk baseline is also established as a point of reference. These baselines are compared with the current environment as vulnerabilities are eliminated.
- Remediation: Vulnerabilities should be fixed based on the CVSS score and prioritization. They can be fixed with security patches or by reconfiguring systems settings.
- Verification: Once remediation is complete, run another scan to be sure that all threats have been properly dealt with.
- Reporting: Any threat that is discovered and fixed should be properly documented for future references. Also, company executives need to be updated on all that is being done to protect the company from external threats.
Why is it Important to Companies?
Vulnerability management protects companies from advanced threats and helps them to keep their data secure and safe from unauthorized access. Cyber-attacks are increasing, and hackers are waiting for the smallest opening to come in and compromise companies’ data. It helps you identify threats like malware early, and deal with them before they are exploited by attackers. Click here to learn more about malware.
Avoid Hefty Fines
Many industries now have cybersecurity regulations that businesses must follow. Failure to do so may attract hefty fines that can run into millions of dollars.
Except your company doesn’t have any valuable data that needs to be protected, which is very unlikely, you should adopt this process. Aside from complying with industry regulations, you get to protect your business. As you may know, with malware, a hacker can halt all the digital operations of a company, which today is a lot. Unless you’re ready to pay millions to the hacker for access to your own system, you should invest in a vulnerability management plan.