Risk-Based Vulnerability management is an enhancement over the traditional Vulnerability Management process where after the identification of vulnerabilities the prioritization is done on the basis of its risk to the organization. It helps you understand the threat context and business impact of the vulnerability, thus helping you focus on what is really a critical vulnerability in your system instead of something theoretically exploitable.
On average when a vulnerability assessment and pen-testing exercises are performed on any system it finds 1000+ Vulnerabilities so for any organization it is not possible to fix all these vulnerabilities and even if an organization tries to fix all these they may focus more on the vulnerabilities which are theoretically critical but may have low impact and because of this, the vulnerabilities which can have a high impact on business may get exploited.
To avoid such issues risk-based vulnerability management divides these identified vulnerabilities into low, medium, high, and critical on the basis of their severity and exploitability. On the basis of this assessment data, the organization can focus on fixing the vulnerabilities which are high risk.
For identifying the severity of a vulnerability Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is used. It is done by scoring the vulnerability on the basis of how easily the vulnerability can be exploited and the level of impact it will make after successful exploitation will occur. But CVSS is not the best practice for any organization as 56% of all the vulnerabilities are scored as high or critical regardless of whether they are likely to be exploited. We will share more information on the pros and cons of CVSS in our next article.
How risk-based vulnerability management prioritizes vulnerabilities:
- With the help of vulnerability scans, it identifies various vulnerabilities in the system.
- With the help of historical data, it determines the likelihood of an attack for each vulnerability.
- Then the severity of risk is calculated by multiplying its probability by its financial cost.
Steps involved in Risk Based Vulnerability Management:
- Identify and classify vulnerabilities: Use automated tools and manual testing to identify potential vulnerabilities in the organization's IT systems and applications. Once identified, classify the vulnerabilities based on their severity, impact, and likelihood of exploitation.
- Assess the risks: Determine the potential impact of each vulnerability on the organization's IT systems and applications. Consider factors such as the likelihood of exploitation, the potential damage that could be caused, and the ease of exploitability.
- Prioritize vulnerabilities: Prioritize vulnerabilities based on their risk level. Focus on addressing the most critical vulnerabilities first, those with the highest risk level.
- Remediate vulnerabilities: Develop and implement a plan to remediate vulnerabilities based on their priority level. This could involve applying patches, updating software, modifying configurations, or other security measures.
- Monitor and reassess vulnerabilities: Continuously monitor the IT systems and applications for new vulnerabilities and reassess the risk level of existing vulnerabilities. This will help to ensure that the organization's security measures remain effective over time.
4 Reasons you need Risk-Based Vulnerability Management:
- Companies can only afford to waste time on vulnerabilities that truly require less attention because it takes more than 205 days (on average) to fix a critical vulnerability.
- Patching 980 out of 1,000 vulnerabilities means nothing. It may sound good number but the attacker only needs one vulnerability to hurt your organization.
- You need a contextual strategy and direction for your technological stack so you can decide what to fix first and when.
- Your investment could save between $3 - $8 million. The right vulnerability management solution is a critical investment in protecting your business.
Benefits of risk-based vulnerability management:
- It helps organizations to take faster and more accurate decisions regarding system security.
- Risk-based vulnerability management continuously scans and monitors the system to detect vulnerabilities that are high on risk.
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