What Is Vulnerability Management?

5 min. read

Vulnerability management is an ongoing cybersecurity practice where cyber vulnerabilities are continuously identified, assessed and prioritized for remediation. Traditionally, security teams have leaned on a vulnerability management tool to detect vulnerabilities and have a program to remediate them before a bad actor can exploit them.

Why Is Vulnerability Management Important?

A good vulnerability management program helps cybersecurity teams mitigate their exposures. A seasoned vulnerability manager will use threat intelligence and granular visibility into known and unknown assets to comprehensively identify exposures against zero days and misconfigurations, and prioritize remediation efforts.

What Are the Steps of Vulnerability Management?

  • Identifying vulnerabilities: The bedrock of a security program is a single source of truth for all the assets that belong to an organization. Without this, any program built on incomplete inventory is going to be suboptimal. Organizations should use this as a vulnerability management platform tool to continuously discover and inventory all their assets and apply policies on these assets to mitigate fallouts.
  • Evaluating vulnerabilities: Once vulnerabilities have been identified, organizations have to deploy a prioritization matrix, normally a risk-based model, to prioritize these vulnerabilities as critical, high, medium or low so they can work on a remediation plan.
  • Treating vulnerabilities: While there are several remediation options, integrations between vulnerability discovery tools and remediation tools will help an organization be efficient in treating vulnerabilities in their network.

What Is the Difference Between Vulnerability Management and a Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability Management
Vulnerability management is the overarching set of processes and tools that enable an organization to detect, evaluate and remediate a vulnerability in their network.

Vulnerability Assessments
Vulnerability assessments are a specific subset of tools that scan and report to help to tactically identify and prioritize vulnerabilities for remediation. These can be periodic scans or automated scans to discover vulnerabilities against new zero days.

While a vulnerability assessment can have a specific time period when it is performed, vulnerability management is an ongoing process in all organizations.

How to Automate Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management can largely be automated by integrating vulnerability discovery and remediation tools. For example, organizations that want to manage their interfacing vulnerabilities can deploy an attack surface management (ASM) tool integrated with a security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) platform to automatically discover their misconfiguration, shadow IT and remediate them with playbooks and scripts.

What Are Vulnerability Scans?

A vulnerability scan is an automated assessment that identifies and reports on potential known vulnerabilities in any organization's network. Additionally, vulnerability scans can shed light on an organization's known and unknown assets, which can be helpful in remediation efforts.

Learn more about how attack surface management (ASM) can help your vulnerability management program.