Weaknesses will exist within your technical estate, that’s an unavoidable fact. These weaknesses contribute to your company’s attack surface. Vulnerability management is the process by which you identify, classify, remediate, and mitigate those weaknesses, helping reduce the attack surface.
Effective vulnerability management includes regular vulnerability assessments, prioritising remediation activities, continuous patch management, and effective change and configuration management.
As expected, vulnerability management starts with the identification of vulnerabilities across the company’s systems and services. This can be done through regular vulnerability assessments, which can be performed using manual testing methods and/or automated tools.
Once vulnerabilities have been identified, they must be prioritised based on their severity and potential impact on the company’s operations. High-priority vulnerabilities, such as those being actively exploited in the wild, should be remediated or mitigated first.
Patch management is an important aspect of vulnerability management. Companies should have a process in place to ensure that systems and software are updated regularly with the latest security patches. This process should consider both scheduled and emergency patching approaches. Subsequent vulnerability scans should be then used to assure the effectiveness of the patch management process.
Change and configuration management are also key, not all weaknesses will have an available patch, or you may not be able to deploy the available patch due to technical constraints. In these cases, you will want to deploy mitigating controls, which may be changes to the services themselves. These changes need to be controlled to ensure they do not introduce new weaknesses.
Incident response planning also supports effective vulnerability management. Companies should have a plan in place to respond to security incidents, including procedures for containing and mitigating the impact of an incident, as well as procedures for reporting and communicating with relevant stakeholders.
A comprehensive approach such as this will help companies manage their attack surface, reducing the opportunity for the successful exploitation of weaknesses.
ICA Consultancy has helped companies of various sizes and across various industries implement the processes required to manage vulnerabilities, reducing their attack surface.