Glossary

Vulnerability Remediation

A security vulnerability is a weakness in your system which can be exploited if left unattended. The process of identifying security weaknesses and looking at ways to fix them is called vulnerability remediation. A robust vulnerability remediation tool can address security gaps in your systems and safeguard your organization from internal and external threats.

There are five steps to vulnerability remediation:

  1. Create an Inventory
  2. Scanning and Detection
  3. Vulnerability Profiling
  4. Classify and Prioritize Risk
  5. Resolution or Remediation 
Vulnerability Remediation

Create an Inventory

Create and maintain a database of all network assets, including software, hardware, applications, and sensitive data. Assets should be categorized by value and sensitivity to prioritize remediation vulnerability management. With a solid inventory, you can gain complete visibility into your attack surface. Also, with an organized inventory, it’s possible to limit scanning to relevant devices and services within the scope of a given vulnerability.

Another essential item to compile is the architecture of your system which presents how components of your system interact with each other. It’s crucial to understand the landscape of your organization’s IT environment and the risk exposure of digital assets.

Scanning and Detection

The first step in vulnerability remediation is scanning and identifying vulnerabilities in a network. A scan systematically tests the network infrastructure for known vulnerabilities. Automated scanning tools are built to stay up-to-date with the latest security and threat intelligence. Continuous vulnerability scanning is far more effective than periodic scanning and positions you better in the race against hackers. Remember that identifying vulnerabilities is a race of time between security professionals and criminals that are looking to gain entry through security gaps.

Vulnerability Profiling

  • Identify the components (software, hardware, firmware) that are affected by this vulnerability
  • Understand whether this is a zero-day vulnerability, what the severity level is, and if there is a patch or workaround available.

Classify and Prioritize Risk

With limited time and resources, it is an impossible task to fix every security vulnerability. That’s why ranking and prioritizing vulnerabilities are so crucial to determine which weaknesses to focus on first. A risk score based on the impact on your environment should be given to each vulnerability. The impact of exploitation can vary from the revelation of information about the host to a complete compromise of a system. 

According to the report conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the majority of organizations report that they do not have adequate staffing to sufficiently scan and remediate vulnerabilities. With vulnerability prioritization, you will know where to invest your limited resources to safeguard your organization’s crown assets.

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system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

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Steps To Vulnerability Prioritization

  1. Vulnerabilities that are currently being exploited, or are expected to be actively exploited soon, should be prioritized with a higher level of risk. Continuous threat intelligence and situational awareness are crucial for this process.
  2. Your prioritization list should be dynamic, allowing the addition of new vulnerabilities as they emerge.
  3. Your asset inventory should be mapped to vulnerability profiles so you know which assets are most likely to be targeted.

Resolution or Remediation

In a classic case, remediation involves deploying an upgrade or applying a patch released by the vendor of the affected software or hardware. But patching is not like bandaging a wound or applying an iron-on patch to fix a trouser hole. Patch management can be very costly and time-consuming, and downtime may be required during the deployment process. Patches have inherent risks. The “healed” patch software compilation may have unforeseen effects on the application or connected assets.

Automated vulnerability remediation tools can speed up patch management and keep costs lower. As always continuous vulnerability assessment and remediation is far more effective than point-in-time management processes.

Sometimes, there are other workarounds to fix vulnerabilities. For example, you can disable a vulnerable component that is not actively in use and reactivate it once you’ve tested and ensured that the flaw is fixed.

4 Methods To Address Vulnerabilities

  1. Remediate the risk: The vulnerability can be avoided by either removing or patching the affected component completely or implementing a control that prevents exploitation of the vulnerability. 
  2. Accept: Accept the risk and do nothing about it.
  3. Mitigate the Risk: Bring in controls that can reduce the impact of exploitation to an acceptable level. Due to resource constraints or the complexity of remediation, a workaround that doesn’t eliminate a vulnerability is sometimes your best business decision. 
  4. Transfer the risk: Transfer the impact of the exploit to another entity, such as an insurance provider.

Security and management teams should work in collaboration to determine which method of risk remediation or acceptance is best for their business strategy. Regulations and standards that an organization is required to follow play a major role in deciding on the methodology to adopt.

The Centraleyes platform offers a huge variety of standards and frameworks on which to base your vulnerability management program. Contact us today to see how we can help you get started.

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Want to talk to Centraleyes about Vulnerability Remediation?

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