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360° Visibility over your attack surface - How Vulnerability Managers fortify your security posture.

Organizations are working up the speed of how they intensify their cybersecurity postures, but vulnerabilities are showing everywhere on the attack surfaces. Vulnerability Management solutions provide comprehensive visibility over an organization's systems, applications, and networks, providing a much clearer backlog for prioritizing and remediating such vulnerabilities.

What is a vulnerability?

In layman's terms, a vulnerability is a gap in an organization's system. A gap through which an attacker -be it a bot or a human- can exploit an organization and gain unauthorized access over data or devices. Vulnerabilities or security gaps do not appear in network or user devices only, they can be a misconfiguration in a web application, a software bug, outdated software or something as simple as a weak password.

How do attackers usually exploit vulnerabilities?

Attackers usually exploit such vulnerabilities through different types of attacks, malware infections, Denial of Service (Dos) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are some of the most common. A more impactful attack type could be remote code execution where attackers can run scripts remotely on a user's device that resides within your network with the objective of stealing data, taking over a device or making your service unavailable to users.

How can a Vulnerability Management solution help with cybersecurity?

Vulnerability Management solutions act as your eyes and ears across the entire communication landscape, known as the attack surface. By consistently and proactively monitoring your assets -both physical and logical- a Vulnerability Management Solution reduces the organization's exposure to security risks. This is usually achieved through a number of preventative remediations such as:

  • Vulnerability Assessment: Where the deployed engine assesses and prioritizes the gaps through a number of factors like age, severity, number of affected systems and exploitability.

  • Regulatory compliance: Using compliance information system benchmarks, a Vulnerability Manager audits and instantly identifies violations that could compromise your system and provides remediation insights for a SOC team to take the appropriate action.

  • Patch Management: Operating Systems (Windows, Mac and Linux alike) provide the attackers with some of the most widely available gaps in the globe. A competitive Vulnerability Manager has the ability to download, test and deploy patches automatically to said systems to further enhance your organization's security posture on a device level.

  • Optimizing Security Configuration: The center for internet Security (CIS) and the Security Technical implementation Guides (STIG) together provide benchmarks for cybersecurity baselines that guide SOC teams in deploying and enforcing the basic practices. While such baselines are never sufficient on their own, they provide a secure starting point. Building on those baselines a Vulnerability Manager can make sure your systems are protected with least access privileges, memory protection and complex passwords.

  • Web server vulnerabilities: Web servers can have sensitive security flaws. A Vulnerability manager can protect your internet-facing devices and secure them from various attacks vectoring web applications.

  • Risky software: Some users don't mind installing software that could compromise their devices. Clients such as peer to peer sharing applications, Remote Desktop Sharing among others can be unsafe for your organization's devices.Vulnerability Management solutions have the ability to identify such risky software and track their activity to ensure that no threats are posed on your organization's network.

  • Vulnerability Mitigation: Some threats are faster than the remediation process designed by security vendors. Zero-day vulnerabilities are a famous example of such threats. With a strong Vulnerability Management tool, you can deploy scripts that are pre-built and tested to secure your network from zero-day vulnerabilities without the need for waiting for a patch from your OS provider.

.... such baselines are never sufficient on their own, they provide a secure starting point. Building on those baselines a Vulnerability Manager can make sure your systems are protected with least access privileges, memory protection and complex passwords.

Isn't this similar to a SIEM solution?

A vulnerability management tool is used to identify and track vulnerabilities in systems, applications, and networks, and to manage the process of remediating those vulnerabilities. It typically scans and assesses IT assets for vulnerabilities, provides reporting on the results, and can even suggest actions to mitigate vulnerabilities.

On the other hand, a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution is used for collecting and analyzing security-related data from various sources, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security devices. SIEMs correlate the data and generate alerts based on predefined rules, detecting potential security threats or attacks. SIEM solutions can also provide log management and forensic analysis capabilities.

It's true that both tools are important for maintaining your security posture, however, vulnerability management tools focus on identifying and remediating vulnerabilities, while SIEM solutions focus on detecting and responding to security incidents from a logging perspective.

You can read further about SIEM solutions in a previous blog.