Advanced Vulnerability Management Essentials


What is Advanced Vulnerability Management (AVM)? 

 We all are aware of what vulnerability management is and how important it is for us to safeguard our IT environment. But when everything in the IT landscape is constantly changing, have we ever wondered if vulnerability management needs any upgrade? What was there in the IT environment two decades ago is not there today, and the security hemisphere has become even more complex post the pandemic. However, the vulnerability management process has almost remained the same with no innovation. 

If you have convinced yourselves that siloed approach, relying on different tools for remediation, focusing only on CVEs, and ignoring other crucial security risks are enough to protect your network; it is the same as locking the main door and leaving all the windows in the house wide open and believing you are safe. Modern IT security teams need an advanced vulnerability management solution that automatically manages vulnerabilities and numerous security risks from a centralized console that strengthens the overall security posture.  

Pitfalls of Traditional Vulnerability Management: Why Advanced Vulnerability Management?  

 There are numerous reasons why traditional vulnerability management cannot cope with the modern security landscape. Let us look at the three major reasons which present an inevitable need for Advanced vulnerability management.  

  • Not Managing Vulnerabilities Beyond CVEs: 

All CVEs are vulnerabilities, but not all vulnerabilities have a CVE number. More than 40% of vulnerabilities do not have a CVE identifier assigned. Numerous security risks exist in a network that are as threatening as a software vulnerability. Traditional tools focus only on CVEs or software vulnerabilities leaving behind other crucial security risks. 

  • Lack of Integrated Remediation:  

With new vulnerabilities being discovered every passing day, security teams have difficulty keeping a tab on patching them. According to a study by Edge Scan, IT teams take over 58 days to remediate discovered vulnerabilities. The huge delay in patching is due to traditional vulnerability management tools lacking integrated remediation capability.  

They rely on a different tool to patch the vulnerabilities and face hiccups in integrating the vulnerability data and executing the patching process. Delay in patching increases vulnerability exposure, opening gates for numerous cyberattacks. The lack of integrated remediation in vulnerability management tools also leaves IT teams in a dilemma of which tool to use for remediation.  

  • Relying on Siloed Interfaces and Multiple Tools: 

For different steps of vulnerability management, traditional processes depend on multiple tools, causing chaos and confusion while correlating and assessing the vulnerabilities for mitigation. Due to the complexities involved, the siloed interfaces make it hard for security teams to gain control over the risk exposure. They also create delays between different steps, leading to huge security gaps in your vulnerability management program.  

  • Slow and ineffective scanners 

As the horizon of security risks and vulnerabilities expand, traditional scanners lack the intelligence to detect them. Traditional vulnerability scanners take around 3 to 24 Hrs even to discover the common vulnerabilities. The time taken to discover all risks, including vulnerabilities, will be even longer with these traditional scanners. Longer scanning time directly corresponds to a delay in remediation, leaving the vulnerability to prevail for longer intervals in the network.  

And some vulnerability scanner produces false-positive results and consumes huge bandwidth while scanning hybrid devices. Thus, ineffective vulnerability scanning is a major let down for the whole vulnerability management process.  

  • Unable to keep up with the volume of vulnerabilities 

Tens of thousands of vulnerabilities are discovered every year, and the volume of vulnerabilities released in the NVD database is mammoth. The year 2021 ended with a total of 20,061 vulnerabilities, 9.3% more than the previous year. Security teams face numerous challenges in keeping up with the increased volume of vulnerabilities. To add to this, the number of security risks in the network is also huge.  

  • Poor clarity on what to remediate first 

According to a study by ESG, 43% of security admins have challenges understanding which vulnerability to remediate first. After detecting a huge pile of vulnerabilities and risks, it is critical to identify and remediate the high-risk ones to minimize attacks. Traditional vulnerability management tools lack the right techniques to prioritize vulnerabilities and risks based on severity.  

  • Lack of remediation controls beyond patching 

Patching is not the only remediation measure to fix vulnerabilities and other security risk exposures. As the horizon of vulnerabilities and security risks expand, numerous remediation controls are needed to fix different types of vulnerabilities. Traditional vulnerability management tools lack these controls and restrict security teams from going beyond patching to fix other risk exposures.  

  • Unable to align vulnerability management goals with security compliance  

Popular industry compliance standards like HIPAA, PCI, NIST, and ISO propose numerous system hardening controls and vulnerability management measures to tighten security. Many traditional vulnerability management tools in the market are not equipped with sufficient features to align with these security benchmarks. Thus, security teams rely on different tools to enforce security compliance, making it a challenging goal to achieve.  



What is Advanced Vulnerability Management?

 Advanced Vulnerability Management reinvents the traditional vulnerability management process with a broader approach to vulnerabilities, integrated patch management, end-to-end automation, multiple security controls for remediation, and alignment with regulatory compliance from a single centralized console. It enables IT security teams to combat the existing vulnerability management challenges and go beyond traditional methods. With a continuous, automated, and advanced vulnerability management solution in place, you can easily prevent cyberattacks and achieve continuous security risk and compliance posture.  

Top Benefits of Advanced Vulnerability Management  

  • Manage a Wide Range of Security Risks 

Unlike traditional vulnerability management practices, Advanced Vulnerability Management examines vulnerabilities that go beyond CVEs. Along with software vulnerabilities, the AVM program also addresses various security risks in your network to strengthen your IT security posture.  

  • Reduce attack surface to a greater extent  

Integrated remediation is one of the key strengths of advanced vulnerability management. By integrating remediation controls into the same console, you can mitigate vulnerabilities on time and reduce the attack surface to a greater extent. 

  • Enhance operational efficiency 

You can eliminate the operational challenges of traditional vulnerability management by implementing advanced vulnerability management. Integrated vulnerability management and end-to-end automation eliminate the complexities and chaos associated with swivel chair interfaces and manual methods. Using a single centralized console, you can easily make vulnerability management continuous and eliminate security gaps between steps. 

  • Comply with regulatory requirements  

Multiple risks are addressed by advanced vulnerability management, such as IT asset exposures, vulnerabilities, patches, and configuration errors. These security risks are also part of regulatory compliance benchmarks such as HIPAA, PCI, ISO, NIST, and more. Thus, you can easily implement advanced vulnerability management and meet these security benchmarks. 

  • Establish a solid foundation for preventing cyberattacks

Cyber security frameworks prioritize prevention before detection, response, and recovery. We can easily protect our network from numerous threats if we focus on prevention. Advanced Vulnerability management will act as a crucial method for preventing cyberattacks and tightening the network’s overall security.  

Best Framework for Advanced Vulnerability Management  

 An Advanced Vulnerability Management program must,    

  • Unify the entire vulnerability management lifecycle into one single console. 
  • Eliminates the need to implement and operate on multiple siloed products and interfaces.  
  • Automate the implementation of vulnerability management into a continuous process.
  • Achieve continuous and measurable cyber hygiene posture to prevent attacks.  

 The proposed framework consists of 6 steps:  

1. Visibility:  

Gain complete visibility over the IT infrastructure to identify all the IT assets and devices in the network.  

2. Identify: 

Run continuous & automated scans to discover the network’s vulnerabilities and security risks, including software vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, missing patches, IT asset exposures, security control deviations, & security posture anomalies.  

3. Assess:  

Assess all the vulnerabilities and security risks rigorously from a centralized console and stay aware of the potential risks in the network.  

4. Prioritize:  

 Prioritize the vulnerabilities based on their risk level to aid smarter remediation.  

5. Remediate:  

Remediate vulnerabilities and security risks with integrated patching and relevant security remediation controls and reduce risk exposure.  

6. Report:  

Perform strategic analysis of the implemented processes and analyze the vulnerability landscape with insightful & customizable reports.

 

 

Top Use Cases of Advanced Vulnerability Management:

 Advanced vulnerability management completely revamps the idea of vulnerability management and changes it for the better. By ‘redefining the scope of vulnerabilities, amalgamating, and automating the functionalities of multiple solutions’, advanced vulnerability management can help with a number of use cases. 

  • Visibility over IT assets

    Advanced vulnerability management begins with complete visibility over IT assets. We can only protect what we can see, and with AVM, no asset in your IT network is missed.   

    With its eagle-eye watching over the network, AVM provides an overview that ensures every device is under a protective umbrella. 

  • Integrated Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation 

    AVM integrates vulnerability assessment and remediation into a single, streamlined process and further simplifies it into a simple routine by automating it from end to end. So, it eliminates the need for correlation of data between solutions and transforms the herky-jerky vulnerability management process into a smooth, cyclic process.  

    By replacing siloed solutions and broadening the scope of detection, AVM helps combat software vulnerabilities but doesn’t stop there. It can also fix misconfigurations and harden systems to further reduce the attack surface. 

  • End-to-end automation of VM  

    Vulnerability management shouldn’t be a one-time process happening per quarter or, even worse, per half. With automation and continuity in its central focus, AVM ensures that the protection is continuous and real-time instead of the false sense of security stemming from the sporadic traditional vulnerability management. 

    With automation at its core, AVM reduces the time and effort it takes to build and enforce a comprehensive vulnerability management program. 

  • Cloud-based assessment and remediation 

    With more and more organizations shifting to a remote and cloud-based environment, IT admins are facing the challenge of efficient assessment and remediation with an on-premises vulnerability management solution. But AVM, being cloud-based, bridges that gap.

    With a centralized cloud-based console, IT admins can protect devices throughout the world from anywhere.  

  • Adhering to and Enforcing compliance policies 

    Compliance mandates are an integral part of an organization, and strict adherence to compliance policies can do a world of good to organizations. From better security to a reduced chance of cyberattacks, compliance can also help improve an organization’s reputation. 

    AVM can help you adhere to and enforce compliance policies and maintain your organization’s compliance status. By continuously fixing misconfigurations, it helps reduce attack surfaces and stay compliant. 

  • System configuration hardening 

    Misconfigurations and security anomalies are projected as the leading cause of cyberattacks in the near future, and the only way to defend your organization from them is by hardening your system configurations. 

    With AVM, you can proactively fix misconfigurations and harden your system to significantly reduce the attack surface. This also helps you stay compliant and ensures you are protected. 

  • Achieve continuous compliance 

    Along with achieving and enforcing compliance, AVM also ensures that you are continuously staying compliant. By actively scanning and fixing compliance issues in real time, AVM helps stay compliant and decreases the chance of getting cyber-attacked. 

    This keeps your organization proactive and vigilant to quickly mitigate risks and ensure its safety. 

  • Cyber resilience 

    Resilience means toughness. And with AVM, your organization’s defence strengthens and its ability to fight back and prevent cyberattacks increases. 

    By increasing the velocity of vulnerability management through integration and automation, you can prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited. 

    Since AVM doesn’t limit itself to software vulnerabilities and looks at other security risks, this guarantees enhanced cyber resilience against cyberattacks. 

  • Audit-ready reporting  

    AVM performs a multitude of actions on the devices in the network, like scanning, patching and more. Moreover, it can accurately detect and track these changes as well. 

    Since AVM also provides an eagle-eye view of your organization, it can also generate audit-ready reports that are actionable and customizable. 

 

 

Adopting Advanced Vulnerability Management: Overcoming the Challenges 

  • Accustomed to existing solutions:  

IT security teams are often accustomed to their existing tool stack and find it challenging to switch and scrap to new tools. However, implementing Advanced vulnerability management is a simple process. As AVM merges critical security functions in a single tool, it makes it easy for you to deploy in your network and escape the agony of gazing across a maze of tools.  

  • Deploying New Agents:  

IT security teams will already have an agent/agentless setup to manage vulnerabilities. They might be already relying on multiple agents to execute different steps of vulnerability management. Hence will be reluctant to install and configure new set of agents in their devices all over again.  AVM overcomes this by providing a single agent to execute all steps from discovery to remediation of vulnerabilities and security risks. You can easily install this lightweight agent across your devices and kick start an effective vulnerability management process.  

  • Training Security Teams on New Framework:  

While implementing a new framework to manage vulnerabilities, there comes the challenge of training the teams to use it. Advanced vulnerability management not only provides a range of benefits in securing your network, but it is also quite easy to learn and adapt. AVM provides a simple straight forward approach to manage vulnerabilities and security risks, where you can handle everything from a single place.  

Advanced Vulnerability Management fills the void of an all-around process that can perform a slew of tasks that simplifies and eases the work of IT Security teams while strengthening and protecting your organization from cyberattacks.  

While breaking away from older traditions is always challenging, the pros of AVM far outweigh its challenges and the benefits make the effort you put in worthwhile.  

With its advanced capabilities and functionalities, AVM creates a sphere of unbreachable protection around your IT infrastructure, with a single unwavering goal of preventing cyber-attacks.