Threat and Vulnerability Management

By Fortra's Digital Defense

It takes a great deal of time and effort to build an effective cyber security infrastructure. With the threat of malicious attacks increasing every day, businesses and organizations must ensure that their systems are free of any risk or other vulnerabilities that could harm the company. 

Threat and vulnerability management programs involve honing in on security risks with vulnerability assessments by arming yourself with information that could lead to mitigating a future threat. Additionally, building a security risk management program is more of a continuous, ongoing process that an instant solution for your security needs. Keeping your organization safe from a risk or vulnerability is a layered, multi-stage process. 

Developing threat and vulnerability management solutions involves establishing and regularly testing your defenses, as well as informing your employees at every level about both the best cyber security practices and types of attacks. Cyber security measures are at their strongest only when a business understands and implements a broad, long-term program that addresses a security risk in a rational manner, and ensures proper staff training. 


Building an Effective Threat and Vulnerability Management Program

Performing Regular Penetration Testing

To ensure that your network is secure, testing is the most important aspect. If an information security expert has yet to punch a hole through your network defenses, security effectiveness is still considered unknown and your systems remain at risk. 

Penetration Testing (Pen Testing) is a great introductory vulnerability management solution to help an organization find and fix vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. This process can effectively accomplish two main tasks. First, penetration testing can help secure your network against any external attacks. Second, penetration testing can give organizations unbiased and expert vulnerability management into their security infrastructure to fix any potential risk. 

When coupled with other threat vulnerability management processes such as vulnerability assessment services, regular penetration testing has proven to be an effective vulnerability management strategy for remediating security laws in an organization’s systems. 


Follow a Patching Schedule

Software is not perfect and expecting software and systems to be perfect is unreasonable. However a slow and steady improvement is very possible, and updates can easily help mitigate risk, improve security posture, and lower your organization’s attack surface. 

Patching your software and systems as soon as those updates are available can help secure your networks against any attackers who attempt to exploit known vulnerabilities. Updates to software like operating systems and other commonly used applications are regularly released by vendors that the organization purchases from. 

It is still considered best practice to have a development or testing environment that mirrors production. This is because updates can oftentimes cause functionality issues. This way, organizations can test each update to find known vulnerabilities before applying the update. 


Keep Track of All IT Network Assets

It only takes one long-forgotten piece of hardware or software to become a vulnerability in your network. They might seem harmless as they just sit in the corner with little to no purpose; however, those old systems and programs often represent weak links in your security infrastructure that potential attackers may be waiting to exploit. The vulnerability management of network assets is important in securing your network and systems. 

It is important to remember that your organizational security posture is only as strong as the weakest points in your network. It is also hard to secure assets that you have forgotten about. Make sure that your organization accounts for all of its assets, whether they be software or hardware to avoid any threat from attackers. 


Obtain Current Threat Intel

Information can go a long way in helping keep a network secure. Attackers can discover and latch onto vulnerabilities quickly, so you have no choice but to stay a step ahead of them, if you wish to stop any incoming attacks. 

Always follow up-to-date threat intelligence feeds so your organization can stay on top of newly discovered vulnerabilities and exploits. The vulnerability management of these feeds are held by experts who track potential threats and vulnerabilities. Having constant vulnerability management to update this information will help you keep your network safe from even the most recently discovered threat. 


Work Towards Fixing Current Data Vulnerabilities

While vulnerability assessments and penetrations tests can help sniff out security flaws in your network, the process of fixing them is still on your organization. As newer vulnerabilities are discovered and made public, you should ensure that your network will not fall victim to anyone who exploits them by working beyond the vulnerability assessment. 

As you discover the current vulnerabilities, your organization should plan and implement fixes for them. A healthy combination of both threat intelligence feeds and tools to help track vulnerabilities and fixes will help you maintain a complete view of any security improvements that your network might need to make. 


Visualize Data and Understand Risk Management

Your employees may often be the weakest links in your cyber security infrastructure. It may not be enough to have your IT staff understand the potential threats and vulnerabilities out there. Your entire organization needs to have a basic understanding of good cyber security practices. 

Following irresponsible practices has been the downfall for many businesses. Even some of the most advanced security infrastructures cannot protect against instances of employees inadvertently letting attackers into their networks. It is best to make sure that your staff understand the risks that are out there. Make sure they are not compromising your network security by acting relaxed, uninformed, or careless. 


Use Proper Security Tools

There are many tools and applications that can make threat and vulnerability management easier when trying to build a cyber security infrastructure. From updating vulnerability management tools to the preliminary performance scans for vulnerabilities, there are valuable resources to improve your infrastructure to avoid any threat from an attacker. 

Patch management tools and vulnerability scanners are important tools to use in your cybersecurity arsenal. One vulnerability management solution can keep you current with the latest in security patches, while the other vulnerability management solution will help you find common flaws in your networks or systems. 


Add Remediation Clauses in Policies and Procedures

Service Level Agreements can help your organization manage expectations when dealing with a third-party service provider. These agreements may gloss over specifics, which allow the service provider to set specific deadlines and time frames. Still, an open vulnerability is a risk, and it remains one the longer it stays unfixed. 

Having remediation clauses in SLAs will ensure that your service provider is required to fix any vulnerabilities within a specific time frame. This clause will help protect your networks better, and also grant you peace of mind that any open vulnerabilities and potential threats will be properly handled.

Managing data threats is a constantly evolving process. There is no specific solution to threats in cyber security, so stay informed and watch out for any misleading information. Remaining informed, regularly testing your infrastructure, using the right tools, and educating your staff are the most important points of focus when creating a threat and vulnerability management program. If your organization is able to handle these simple aspects of security effectively, your organization can rest assured that it is doing the absolute best it can when it comes to securing your data and protecting your networks from a security breach or other malicious attacks. 

About Digital Defense

Our Frontline.Cloud SaaS platform supports Frontline Vulnerability Manager™, Frontline Web Application Scanning™, and Frontline Active Threat Sweep™ that together provide:

  • Asset discovery and tracking
  • OS and web application risk assessment
  • Targeted malware threat assessment
  • Machine learning features that leverage threat intelligence
  • Agentless & agent-based scanning
  • Penetration testing for networks, mobile applications, and web applications
  • Compliance management. One of the world’s longest tenured PCI-Approved Scanning Vendors

The Frontline.Cloud platform virtually eliminates false-positives associated with legacy vulnerability management solutions, while also automating the tracking of dynamic and transient assets and prioritizing results based on business criticality.

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