Vulnerability Management Best Practices  

increase vulnerability management program success

Vulnerabilities are discovered daily across all technologies. Multiply proliferating vulnerabilities across today’s complex technological environments and you get a hamster wheel of never-ending risk.  

For years, vulnerability management has been a vital part of every business’s security program. Not only does it identify possible vulnerabilities within your network, but it also establishes a system to prioritize possible threats and minimize your attack surface. Often, compliance regulations even require these programs.  

But today, traditional vulnerability management programs are failing, internal IT teams are overwhelmed, and there is no solid proof to show that your tests are actually effective. So, what can you do? In this post we will take you on a deep dive into some reasons your vulnerability management program could be failing, and some best practices on how to ensure better results moving forward.  

Why is traditional vulnerability management failing?  

Vulnerability management is more than just a software tool that scans devices and produces a list of vulnerabilities. According to a recent Forrester Global Security Survey, 49% of organizations that suffered a security breach in the last year track anomalous behavior back to software vulnerabilities.  

Unfortunately, traditional forms of vulnerability management are failing because businesses are failing to balance their people, processes and technologies. Oftentimes, organizations have too many overlapping tools, favor spreadsheet asset lists, and have a constantly changing IT environment that makes accurately tracking assets nearly impossible. 

On top of all that defunct and legacy, vulnerability management tools and technologies are hindering your team’s ability to detect newly sophisticated attack methods; allowing attackers into your network without detection.  

Some other common reasons your vulnerability management program could be failing include:  

  • A conflict between Security Governance and business priorities. 
  • Security operations teams are simply overwhelmed and are suffering from alert fatigue. It is highly ineffective to have your IT team try to balance running the program, opening tickets, and patching systems. 
  • Your average Vulnerability Management report is about 1000 pages long and provides no business context or value.  
  • The inability of your Security Governance Program to correct issues in a sustainable manner. 

Above all, problems with your vulnerability management program stem from four root causes, outdated or insufficient technology, an inconsistent approach, poor team structure or a lack of classification and prioritization.

How can you fix this?  

Vulnerability Management Best Practices  

Vulnerability management is a defined and testable process that ensures people and technology work and communicate efficiently and effectively. To report software vulnerabilities and ultimately mitigate risk, this process should be performed regularly.  

If you are looking to regain your security posture with an updated vulnerability management program, here are some best practices to keep in mind:  

  1. Plan ahead and establish KPIs: As with any other business activity, you should start by establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These will guide your security team and establish realistic goals to work towards. Some good KPIs to include are vulnerability coverage, scan frequency and patching duration.  
  1. Understand your attack surface: You must include all elements of your attack surface in your vulnerability management program. This includes web applications, cloud instances, mobile devices, IoT devices, etc. apart from your traditional network assets. Leveraging machine learning and real-time dashboards like in Difenda’s Advanced Vulnerability Management will enable you to gain full visibility into your attack surface with ease. 
  1. Build out your database: Relying on overlapping tools or spreadsheet lists can make it difficult to accurately track assets, especially in a changing IT environment. Map out and identify all your digital assets to gather information on your network infrastructure. You can then categorize and prioritize these assets to ensure your business and operational focus’ are aligned. 
  1. Leverage automation: To address the increasingly complex security environment it is essential to leverage automation capabilities wherever possible. For example, automated asset management frameworks that improve connectivity and understanding across your organization or automate prioritization with risk scoring systems. Automation will help to increase compliance, reduce human error and make your program run more efficiently.
  1. Efficient reporting: New vulnerabilities are discovered daily across all technologies. If you can’t create fast and effective reports that enable team members to make remediations quickly, your vulnerability assessment is useless. The way information is presented and shared dictates how fast and efficiently the gaps in your system are closed. You need a system that allows you to alert the appropriate people with the right information quickly and seamlessly.   
  1. Prioritization: This is non-negotiable. Leverage your threat intelligence database and KPIs to establish custom prioritization measures. Prioritize remediation activities based on additional business context (such as asset sensitivity) to allow for streamlined risk deferment and further assessment capabilities. Effortlessly prioritize and assign remediation responsibilities by leveraging the Difenda Shield vulnerability response module
  1. Accountability and patching: Everything is irrelevant without effective patching systems and accountability measures. Re-assess newly patched systems or segments to ensure vulnerabilities are corrected.  

How to Choose a Vulnerability Management Service Provider 

To stay abreast of the latest changes made in its software, new systems added to their network, and regularly discovering new vulnerabilities many organizations are now choosing to outsource their vulnerability management program. Services like Difenda’s Advanced Vulnerability Management. Not only does this eliminate staffing problems, but it can also help provide added business context and more valuable outcomes. 

Your vulnerability management vendor needs to be able to help you identify vulnerabilities, prioritize assets and provide valuable outcome-driven reports.  

Most vendors will claim to have these capabilities, regardless of their actual level of competence, so how should you differentiate service providers? 

When looking to outsource your vulnerability management program this is what you need to look for:  

  • An actionable plan to consistently scan the environment. 
  • An updated configuration management database with classification capabilities. 
  • Automation capabilities that prioritize assets based on criticality. 
  • A Service level agreement and accountability measures for internal patching cycles. 
  • Live and on-demand reporting that provides increased visibility into your network and vulnerability management program.  

Do you think your vulnerability management program is failing? Download the Advanced Vulnerability Management eBook!   

Simplify vulnerability management processes by leveraging automation, business intelligence and real-time visibility with Difenda.  

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Ken Perkins

Biography coming soon.

Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon