Blog - vulnerability management

Vulnerability Management Cyber Security

Protect Your Data. Secure Your Organisation.

Adam Gleeson, Cyber Security Vendor Alliance Manager at CyberLab, discusses the key elements of vulnerability management and shares how to protect your organisation through robust practices and monitoring. He covers:

  • What is vulnerability management?
  • Why do we need vulnerability management?
  • Key steps to vulnerability management

What is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability management is the process of identifying and addressing weaknesses in computer systems, networks, and software that could be exploited by hackers or cause security breaches. It involves regularly scanning and assessing these systems to discover any vulnerabilities or potential entry points for attacks. Once identified, these vulnerabilities are prioritised based on their severity, and appropriate measures are taken to fix or mitigate them.


Why do we need vulnerability management?

By actively managing vulnerabilities, organisations can reduce the risk of cyber attacks and safeguard their sensitive information from unauthorised access or damage.

Software Updates

Software might be fine at the time it is released, but as time and requirements move on, the code of the software does too. This could be to add cool new features or to add a flashy new interface, but it’s becoming more important to fix security issues or vulnerabilities. These issues can be found either by security testers known as ‘Bug bounty’ hunters or the software vendor themselves.

Fixing these vulnerabilities prevents cyber-attacks from exploiting them. According to a recent report by the Ponemon Institute, more than half (57%) of reported data breaches could have been avoided if known vulnerabilities had been patched correctly.

What are the risks of not updating?

Keeping outdated software can be a big risk for an organisation – it’s like leaving your door unlocked. A study by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies revealed that cybercrime costs the global economy more than $1 trillion each year, with a significant portion resulting from data breaches.

The rising cost of cyber insurance is another risk that organisations need to consider. Companies that neglect proper vulnerability management practices often face higher cyber insurance premiums, Cyberpolicy estimates that companies without basic patch management measures in place may face cyber insurance premiums up to 25% higher.


Key Steps to Vulnerability Management

Gain Visibility

Scanning internally and externally with vulnerability assessment tools can highlight network layer “low hanging fruit” vulnerabilities that hackers will be looking to find the quickest and or least detectable entry point into an organisation’s network. According to a study by Spiceworks, 72% of IT professionals use vulnerability scanning tools to identify and remediate security risks. 

Identify Risk

To effectively manage vulnerabilities, you need to identify and eliminate areas of risk, such as unsupported operating systems, hardware, and applications. Essentially, anything connected to your internal infrastructure and external interfaces adds to this risk. According to a report by Tripwire, 76% of respondents identified legacy systems as the main challenge to their security.

Secure Your Websites

Knowing which web applications are accessible to the public via web browsers is crucial for your cybersecurity strategy. Protecting externally facing web applications that hold sensitive data (such as PII, PHI, PCI data, or commercially sensitive/customer data) is vital.

Performing regular vulnerability scans and at least one manual penetration test per year helps organisations address new vulnerabilities. It also helps to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive data, compromised user accounts, or external threats with increased privileges that could cause further harm.

Protect Your Data

In today’s world, attackers primarily target your data. They aim to either steal it, deny you access to it, or both, with the goal of extorting money from your organisation. 

When you consider how your data can be accessed, you can identify potential sources of risk and develop a strategy to minimise those risks. This involves considering vulnerabilities and controls, such as limiting access to authorised individuals, to protect your data effectively.

Addressing Your Vulnerabilities

It may seem obvious, but patch management is often overlooked or delayed, leading to future problems. Investing in reliable and effective automated patch management solutions is the best approach. While they may cost more, they require less constant tweaking and management, giving you confidence in their effective patching.

Identifying problems is often straightforward, but finding solutions can be challenging, especially when dealing with legacy or unsupported mission-critical operating systems or applications that cannot be shut down. 

Scheduled downtime is crucial to apply security fixes to these systems. If they are attacked without fixes in place, you’ll face unscheduled downtime, which is worse. If downtime or security fixes are not feasible, alternative solutions like Forescout can be used to implement effective network access controls and restrict access to vulnerable areas only to authorised entities.

Utilise Reporting

Managing vulnerabilities at a large scale is impractical as it would require constant effort to find and fix issues. Automation is the key to making it feasible. Reporting can be used to identify existing issues before applying patches and to verify the effectiveness of the patching process. Most solutions offer automated reports that range from high-level summaries to detailed breakdowns of vulnerabilities.


How CyberLab Can Help

CyberLab can provide consultancy and support on your key technology projects, help deliver business solutions, support your users in adopting them and provide managed or reactive support when your solution is up and running. 

What is a Cyber Security Posture Assessment?

A cyber security posture assessment is a check-up for your business’s cyber health and is a crucial step towards protecting your business.

The assessment involves answering a series of questions designed to determine how prepared your business is to defend against cyber threats.

What are the results?

After each assessment, our cyber security specialists will produce a detailed free report based upon your performance. By completing this assessment, you can ensure that your business is well-prepared to defend against today’s cyber  threats and those that may emerge in the future.

If you haven’t done so already, our Posture Assessment tool is a quick-and-easy way to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and get a better picture of your overall security posture. 

We have put together a page of recommendations for improving your Vulnerability Management, and which tools can help, which you can read here

Featured in this Episode

Headshot of David Dixon

Security Testing Consultant at CyberLab​

David Dixon

David recently joined CyberLab as a Security Testing Pre-Sales Consultant. He has over 7 years of experience in the industry advising businesses of different sizes and sectors on their cyber security.

Headshot of Andrew Walker

Digital Account Director, CyberLab

Andrew Walker

With over 25 years in the IT and Technology industry, Andrew Walker has vast experience designing and developing business applications, databases and data platforms to fit the needs of organisations across a wide range of sectors and sizes. Andrew helps our clients refine their goals, creates understanding of their digital challenges and offers scalable solutions according to budget and timeframes.

Headshot of Adam Gleeson

Cyber Security Vendor Alliance Manager, CyberLab​

Adam Gleeson

Adam has a passion for IT and cyber security. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, Adam’s resume boasts a wealth of knowledge around keeping businesses cyber secure.

Detect. Protect. Support.

Posture Assessment

Understand your security risks and how to fix them.

Take the first step to improving your cyber security posture, looking at ten key areas you and your organisation should focus on, backed by NCSC guidance.

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