Exeleon Magazine

The Role of Automation in Streamlining Vulnerability Management Processes

The Role of Automation in Streamlining Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management processes are complex and resource intensive. They involve importing, assessing, and prioritizing vulnerabilities and require ongoing monitoring and follow-up, validation, and delegation of work to owners.

The good news is that organizations can streamline vulnerability management processes by leveraging automation and best practices. It helps them close gaps faster, improve their security posture, and meet compliance requirements.

Identifying Vulnerabilities

Identifying vulnerabilities and assessing risk can be difficult, especially in large organizations. Vulnerabilities are constantly surfacing, and human security teams can’t keep up with them all.

Automated vulnerability management tools help reduce the manual workload by scanning for and identifying threats in infrastructure, software, applications, and other systems. It helps to eliminate gaps in cybersecurity defenses that cybercriminals can exploit.

Unlike other automated scanning and reporting solutions, it also adds valuable contextual data to vulnerability reports that help organizations prioritize and remediate them. It is done by leveraging information like prior scan results, analysts’ note, and known and accepted risk elements. This way, IT teams can maximize their limited resources and avoid wasting time on low-risk or trivial vulnerabilities. Additionally, IT can prioritize and remediate vulnerabilities based on business criticality. It is a key step in achieving best-in-class vulnerability management.

Prioritizing Vulnerabilities

Effective identification, correlation, and prioritization are essential, with millions of vulnerabilities in many large networks. Although fixing every vulnerability discovered in these settings is practically difficult, there are approaches to work more effectively and efficiently.

The first step is prioritizing vulnerabilities based on asset value and threat intelligence. The best way to do this is through a risk-based approach, which helps IT teams accurately evaluate the severity of an issue in context with their assets and the threat landscape.

Another important factor in priority setting is whether or not a fix is available. It might seem rudimentary, but there’s little point in prioritizing a vulnerability likely to be fixed later.

Some organizations use CVSS scores to rank vulnerabilities, but this method comes with critical limitations that are being recognized by the security industry. A better option is to take a risk-based approach that prioritizes vulnerabilities based on the weaponization of an attack and how it affects a specific asset.

Mitigating Vulnerabilities

Vulnerability management aims to minimize vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. By regularly scanning systems, networks, and applications, the vulnerability management process identifies weaknesses attackers can use to gain access and steal or damage critical information. It enables an organization to safeguard its business operations better and achieve its goals.

Without automation, identifying assets, discovering new threats, prioritizing vulnerabilities, and dispatching and remediating vulnerabilities manually are difficult – especially in large, complex IT environments. IT teams must perform manual tasks such as parsing scan outputs and separating action-required lists for each owner.

Automating these processes enables IT teams to spend their limited time on more important projects. In addition, automating these tasks reduces the chance of human error and allows for a more accurate understanding of an enterprise’s current attack surface. It helps enterprises remain compliant and avert costly data breaches or cyberattack damages. Moreover, automated processes also help to ensure that the right fixes are applied at the right time, reducing the threat window and safeguarding valuable information.

Remediating Vulnerabilities

Organizations can leverage automation to quickly identify, assess, prioritize, dispatch, and remediate vulnerabilities with minimal human involvement. It helps close vulnerability gaps and reduces the window of opportunity attackers have to exploit assets.

It is accomplished by identifying repeatable vulnerability remediation workflows and automating them for greater efficiency. It also allows security teams to focus on the vulnerabilities that pose a risk to the business and help minimize the time needed to complete a patching cycle.

Mitigating a vulnerability lessens its likelihood of being exploited but doesn’t fully fix it. It is necessary when a patch isn’t available yet and provides a valuable buffer to protect your systems from attack until the fix is ready to deploy. The Balbix platform automatically detects and updates your attack surface’s vulnerability details, including misconfigurations and issues beyond CVEs. Responsible owners are identified, and tickets containing context are assigned for expedited triage and remediation.

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