What is Risk-Based Vulnerability Management?

Risk-based vulnerability management (RBVM) provides valuable context and analysis that legacy versions of vulnerability management don’t offer.  In addition to identifying vulnerabilities through vulnerability scanning and assessment, RBVM solutions add multiple layers of context, threat intelligence, and analysis that help prioritize remediation efforts.

Risk-based vulnerability management takes multiple actions to find and assess vulnerabilities.  Using automation and advanced learning techniques, RBVM can proactively scan, analyze, and report on severity while incorporating critical risk context like exploitability, exposure, and business criticality.  This enables cybersecurity teams to work smarter by focusing remediation efforts on vulnerabilities that truly pose the greatest risk.

Legacy Vulnerability Management vs. Risk-Based Vulnerability Management

Effective prioritization has become even more essential for remediation efforts as the number of existing vulnerabilities in the wild continues to grow.  IT security staff must be able to identify and focus on the most exploitable vulnerabilities, and that list can vary depending on asset locations and individual network infrastructure. Legacy vulnerability management solutions provide lists of found vulnerabilities, but lack the relevant information needed to correctly prioritize them.  Many vulnerability results can be considered noise because their location or severity make them a low threat risk.  The time and effort to remediate these is likely not a worthwhile use of resources.

Risk-based vulnerability management empowers teams to be more strategic in their remediation planning.  A RBVM solution will assess and process vulnerabilities, then assign them prioritization based on risk level.  The basis of this prioritization is established through threat intelligence feeds, public risk factors, exploit activities, and asset inventory.  By using a vulnerability management solution that is risk-based, IT professionals can avoid remediating vulnerabilities that aren’t true threats and can spend their time on the high-risk security weaknesses.

Benefits of Modern RBVM Solutions

Reduced Time-to-Remediation

Using a solution that finds and prioritizes the highest-risk vulnerabilities for you, leads to quicker remediation, closing vital security holes faster.


Threat intelligence adds data proven context to help your team proactively address the most critical vulnerabilities and avoid wasting resources on the “noise”.


Consolidate organizational assets within a single dashboard, from mobile to cloud-based, keeping the entire attack surface area in view.

Continuous Automated Security

Continuously scan and report, monitoring changes in your security posture.


Setting automated scan parameters helps an IT team focus on specific, important security threats.


Flexibility to scale up or down based on an organization’s size and keep the bandwidth to cover the vulnerability changes.

Do I need Risk-Based Vulnerability Management?

RBVM can offer some substantial benefits, especially if it's an upgrade from legacy vulnerability management options.

Cost Savings:  A data breach can cost a company millions from customer loss, compliance penalties, and possible downtime to fix the breach.

Quality over Quantity:  Instead of trying to remediate every vulnerability, prioritize the most urgent, exploitable weaknesses for remediation.

Time Saver:  It can take months to remediate a vulnerability.  An IT team needs to focus their time on the most high-risk vulnerabilities first.

What to Look for in a RBVM Solution

A risk-based vulnerability management solution needs more than static scanning. It should include a wide array of features to help facilitate and prioritize proactive security efforts including:

  • Vulnerability Prioritization with Risk Context - A risk-based VM solution uses threat intelligence and other risk context such as exploitation activity and exposure to help prioritize which vulnerabilities you should remediate first. Since each organization’s infrastructure is unique, this insight is crucial if you want to accurately prioritize remediation.
  • Vulnerability Trends - Vulnerability trends constantly change, and new vulnerabilities emerge. Threat intelligence should keep you informed of the most popular and used exploits in order to stay focused on the most exploitable vulnerabilities in your organization.
  • Ease-of-Use - Cumbersome vulnerability management solutions can cost you valuable time and effort. RBVM should be easy and intuitive to use, providing actionable, accurate results reports.
  • Data Management - A range of actionable reports makes vulnerability management and communication faster and easier. Reporting should be flexible enough to provide options and filters so you can examine specific characteristics and address your audience appropriately.
  • Compliance and Regulations - Compliance and regulations are enacted to protect the consumer’s data privacy but can be a headache for organizations. Major industry specific regulatory compliance auditing can be simplified with the right risk-based vulnerability management solution.
  • Network Endpoint Recognition - Networks expand and contract, depending on staff sizing and equipment changes. A RBVM cybersecurity solution should be able to scale with and track network endpoints as they’re added and subtracted.
  • Integration/interoperability - To work efficiently, a vulnerability management tool needs to fit into your existing security stack. Legacy solutions may work in traditional, physical security settings, but in innovative cloud-based infrastructure settings, they can leave glaring security holes. A RBVM solution must be capable of covering legacy infrastructures and the most recent virtual cloud-systems.

See The Comprehensive Vulnerability Management Buyers Guide >

Frontline VM: A Risk-Based Vulnerability Management Solution from Digital Defense

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