Vulnerability Management Workflow: 7 Step Strategy

By |Published On: September 6th, 2022|Tags: |

Vulnerabilities are like holes in the security net. You can’t wait until there is already something vulnerable and being exploited before you have a plan for remediation. Doing so just leaves your organization with more problems on its hands when an attack occurs. Proactive vulnerability management workflow means you’ll have faster response times and it’ll help ease any sense panic when an attack occurs.

If you’re looking for some more info on vulnerability management, check out our resources:

Keep these eight points in mind when crafting your vulnerability management workflow.

1. Vulnerability management workflow plans are essential to avoid compromise, and understanding your environment is key.

Knowing every device that’s in connection to your network is key to vulnerability management. Mapping out a full inventory of all hardware, software, and other assets on your network is essential to ensure that your vulnerability management workflow runs appropriately. It will give you a better understanding of which assets are critical and how they may impact the environment at each stage of vulnerability detection.

Regularly reviewing and updating this list is an absolute must, with the frequency adjusted according to infrastructure size. For example, yearly checks for small infrastructures and weekly for larger ones. Keep it accurate and up to date.

2. Classifying data helps security teams prioritize vulnerability remediation.

In order to properly classify your organization’s data, take the following into consideration:

  • How sensitive is the data? Also, how important is it that it remains confidential to external parties? (Or even to certain groups within the organization)
  • What impact would disclosure of this data, a compromise on its integrity, or its unavailability have on your organization?
  • How necessary is the availability and integrity of the data to your organization’s daily operations?
  • Is the data recoverable?

3. Shields up!

Once you understand the vulnerability your network may have, it is absolutely essential to go over remediation steps to avoid further problems. Depending on the vulnerability and what kinds of patch options are available to you, you may need to limit access to prevent any kind of lateral movement within. Put in place a vulnerability management workflow that is able to accurately validate and apply any applicable patches; it would be disastrous if they turned out unstable or caused more issues than they solved. Nothing worse than pushing a bunch of patches that take down your servers! 

4. In addition, make sure you have ongoing security monitoring tools in place.

In today’s world, it is not enough to just patch your network. You need monitoring tools that can detect threats and historical data on your hosts in order to understand what may have been compromised before they strike again. Some of the monitoring to have in place should be:

  • Intrusion detection systems (IDS) or intrusion prevention systems (IPS) can help you keep an eye on possible network intrusions.
  • Using a SIEM to review historical data to look for signs of compromise when indicators of compromise (IoCs) are released for a new zero day. The SIEM can also be used to alert on those same IoCs as they occur to shorten your mean time to detect (MTTD). 

5. Assign ownership and ensure that stakeholders understand their role in the vulnerability management workflow strategy.

Who on your team is responsible for overseeing the creation and improvement of a vulnerable management program?

Assigning responsibility for this plan and establishing a regularly-scheduled review is important. The overseer should be looking at the vulnerability reports or (if you have a well-established asset inventory in place) looking at new disclosures to see what’s applicable to the environment. 

The goal of vulnerability management programs is to keep the network secure. However, this can only happen if all stakeholders know how their roles fit into making sure that the organization is protected from outside threats. If there are not regular reviews and patches, there may be an attack on the network which could compromise the organization completely.

6. It is critical that you have rogue device detection on your network.

Rogue device detection will help catch any devices you didn’t identify in you asset inventory. This includes those with vulnerabilities or performing unauthorized activity. That said, the use of a vulnerability scanner or even your SIEM in conjunction with DHCP logs can give you an early warning system for any new devices being added to the network.

7. If you can’t remediate, use compensating controls.

If remediation isn’t immediately available, look at the CVE for more information on workarounds to put in place.

For example, if a vulnerability relies on using a particular port, you can block that port number at the firewall. You can also check your Web Application Firewall for your servers to see if there are ways to block malicious exploit attempts. These are temporary fixes (or they could be permanent) that you’ll use to provide security in lieu of remediating the vulnerability.

Stay secure out there!

Being proactive about your organization’s vulnerability management workflow is key to responding quickly to suspicious activity and attacks. If you need support improving your security stance, contact the Hurricane Labs security experts. We’re available 24/7 and will make sure you have everything that is needed to keep yourself safe.

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Hurricane Labs is a dynamic Managed Services Provider that unlocks the potential of Splunk and security for diverse enterprises across the United States. With a dedicated, Splunk-focused team and an emphasis on humanity and collaboration, we provide the skills, resources, and results to help make our customers’ lives easier.

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