7 Steps to a Proactive Vulnerability Management Plan

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 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 program.

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

The key to managing vulnerabilities is knowing every device on the network. This means you need to create a full inventory of all the devices, including the software and hardware, that are on your network. At each stage of the plan, this map will help you categorize assets and identify criticalities. It will also give you a better understanding of any impact they may have on your environment.

Make sure to update the list on a regular basis. The size and complexity of your environment will determine how often you need to update it. For smaller infrastructures may only need to update yearly, but weekly may be necessary for larger organizations. No matter what the frequency, it’s essential to review and make sure your inventory is 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 those outside of the organization? (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 and/or your clients?
  • 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 layout of your network, including your ingress and egress points, it’s important to talk through remediation steps. Depending on the nature of the vulnerability and the availability of patch, you may be limited to blocking traffic for CNC to prevent further lateral movement in your network. 

If there’s a patch available, it’s critical that policies are in place for how those patches are validated and applied to hosts. 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 for you 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 your network for possible 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 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 dedicated 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, but this can only happen if all stakeholders know how their roles fit into making sure that the organization is protected from outside threats. If not reviewed or patched regularly, 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, including those with vulnerabilities or performing unauthorized activity. 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 attempts to  exploit the vulnerability. 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 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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About Hurricane Labs

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.

For more information, visit www.hurricanelabs.com and follow us on Twitter @hurricanelabs.