How Vulnerability Management Can Mature Endpoint Security

The endpoint landscape is constantly evolving and keeping up can be a huge challenge. All it takes is for an end-user to download an unapproved application or for an operating system patch to not be successfully applied to create a new vulnerability. And every vulnerability on an endpoint provides an opportunity for an attacker to breach your system. Once they have gained access, they can misuse resources, steal data or block access to files and services. Without identifying and remediating vulnerabilities, you are leaving your network open to attack. This is where vulnerability management becomes a critical aspect in keeping your business secure. Vulnerability management is a strategy used to track, minimise, and ultimately eliminate vulnerabilities in your systems. Not only can it help you to manage and protect your endpoints easier and more consistently, but successful implementation can also lead to endpoint maturity. 

What is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability management is an ongoing strategy used to identify and classify vulnerabilities so that appropriate measures can be put in place to eliminate or reduce business risk. Vulnerabilities can come from a variety of areas such as code, authentication mechanisms, or misconfigured settings. Vulnerability management aims to identify these across endpoints, workloads, and systems.

To search for all types of vulnerabilities, vulnerability management processes use a variety of scanners, databases, manual & automated tests, and other tools. Threat intelligence and knowledge of IT and business operations are fundamental to prioritising risks and addressing vulnerabilities quickly. Once a vulnerability management tool has detected vulnerabilities, security teams will then use different processes to patch or remediate them. 

The Four Stages of Vulnerability Management

By incorporating the following four stages into your vulnerability management process, you can have confidence that all possible vulnerabilities are found and addressed appropriately:

  1. Identifying - to find vulnerabilities in your systems, you need to know what you’re looking for. Threat intelligence, vulnerability databases, and vulnerability scanners can help you to identify potential vulnerabilities. This part of the process also involves creating a full map of your system, outlining where assets are, how they can be accessed, and the current forms of protection that are in place.
  2. Evaluating - at this stage, you need to prioritise possible vulnerabilities in terms of the severity of the threat they pose. Standardised systems such as the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) can be used to evaluate the level of vulnerability and assign a risk level. The ACSC's threat alert system for vulnerabilities can also be used as a frame of reference to evaluate threats. 
  3. Remediating - once you have prioritised vulnerabilities, it’s time to start remediating them. “At-risk” areas may be blocked to prevent exploitation until patches or safeguards are in place. Once vulnerabilities have been addressed, they need to be tested to ensure remediation has been successful and new vulnerabilities haven’t been created. 
  4. Reporting - creating a record of vulnerabilities, remediation efforts and relevant time frames can help with the accountability required for compliance. Additionally, it can help you to improve future security responses. 

How Can a Vulnerability Management Solution Benefit You?

Vulnerability management solutions help you to conduct a thorough search of vulnerabilities within your systems, remove them as quickly as possible, secure your network and improve your security posture. 

InfoTrust recommends considering CrowdStrike’s Falcon Spotlight as a Vulnerability Management solution. Falcon Spotlight uses a vast database of sources, including its proprietary threat intelligence, to help you to identify and prioritise critical vulnerabilities. The solution then uses built-in integrations to help you to deploy emergency patches and monitor your remediation efforts. The key capabilities of CrowdStrike’s solution include:

  • Identifying and Prioritising Vulnerabilities - intuitive dashboards and powerful filtering capabilities enable you to quickly review the most relevant information to your organisation, so you can effectively prioritise and manage risk. 
  • Automating Vulnerability Assessments - instead of vulnerability scans which can slow down businesses processes, scanless technology, and automated data collection deliver a real-time picture of all endpoints in your organisation. 
  • Improving Operational Efficiency - custom dashboard features enable you to quickly navigate and research critical issues, share insights across the business, and set remediation timeframes. 
  • Reducing Overall Complexity - as an always-on solution, Falcon Spotlight delivers constant real-time data and insights relating to all vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, critical vulnerabilities can be instantly remediated with emergency patching. 

How To Reach Endpoint Maturity

When it comes to protecting your business, identifying, prioritising, and resolving high-risk vulnerabilities is vital. However, this isn't something that can be done overnight. Vulnerability management solutions deliver a long-term strategy for assessing and monitoring vulnerability. With change as the only constant, it is the only way that you can reach endpoint maturity. 

If you want to maintain business productivity with no impact on any endpoints you need an integrated platform that includes vulnerability management tools alongside other cybersecurity solutions. Contact InfoTrust today to find out more about our vulnerability assessment and monitoring solution.

If you’d like to read my previous blog on the importance of endpoint security, click here.

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