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4 elements of a robust vulnerability management program

Dr. Heather Buker |

January 1, 2023
4 elements of a robust vulnerability management program


In the wake of major security breaches, companies have been working to implement stronger and more proactive measures for managing vulnerabilities in their systems. However, as corporate networks have grown more complex and spread across various platforms, including the cloud, it has become increasingly difficult to gain a comprehensive understanding of the vulnerabilities present across the entire ecosystem. This lack of visibility has made it easier for cybercriminals to exploit chains of weaknesses in systems, applications, and human behavior.

Vulnerability management programs aim to address these modern cybersecurity challenges by establishing a comprehensive and ongoing process for identifying, categorizing, and addressing vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers. These programs often include vulnerability scanners, which automatically assess risk across an entire infrastructure and provide easy-to-understand reports to help businesses prioritize the vulnerabilities that need to be remediated or mitigated.

The 4 elements of a vulnerability management program

1. Performing vulnerability assessments

Effective vulnerability management begins with the ability to identify and evaluate vulnerabilities. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment program provides an organization with the tools needed to understand its security weaknesses, assess the risks associated with those weaknesses, and implement protective measures to reduce the likelihood of a breach.

By conducting regular vulnerability assessments, organizations can identify potential hazards, assess the likelihood of a security failure, and prioritize their resources towards addressing the most pressing vulnerabilities.

2. Using the right vulnerability management tools

As our understanding of security risk has evolved, so have vulnerability management tools, which now support a continuous, enterprise-wide process of vulnerability identification, remediation, and reporting. To be effective, a vulnerability management tool must be able to support a repeatable lifecycle of asset discovery and enumeration, vulnerability detection, risk assessment, configuration compliance assessment, change management and remediation, verification, and auditing and reporting.

Vulnerability scanning tools play a crucial role in any vulnerability management program. In addition to identifying vulnerabilities and errors, these tools also assist with risk assessment based on the severity of the threat and the value of the vulnerable system to the organization. After remediation, re-scans can confirm that corrective actions have been successful, such as the successful application of a patch or correction of a configuration error.

3. Integrating and aligning with business priorities

Vulnerability management is a key priority for organizations, and as such, it is important that the vulnerability management program be seamlessly integrated with the organization's critical systems and processes.

The program should be connected to vulnerability databases and aligned with key stakeholders across the organization, including those outside of the IT and infosec departments, as well as any compliance and regulatory requirements. Risks can emerge from any corner of an organization, so it is essential that risk management have a comprehensive view of the entire vulnerability landscape in order to identify and address potential threats.

4. Agility and scalability

The constantly evolving nature of IT security makes agility, cyber-resilience, and scalability critical considerations for any vulnerability management program. It is important to ensure that the program is agile enough to keep up with changing threats, takes into account the business context and criticality of different assets, and can scale to meet the demands of a continually evolving threat landscape.

As companies continue to add more endpoint devices, servers, and applications to their networks, the demands on IT to keep everything up to date and secure increase. With the number of known vulnerabilities constantly on the rise and the time between the discovery of vulnerabilities and their exploitation decreasing, it becomes increasingly challenging to effectively manage vulnerabilities when there are hundreds, thousands, or even millions of assets to consider and limited time to respond.

Final thoughts

As the attack surface continues to grow, businesses are exposed to increasing risks from hackers seeking to exploit vulnerabilities. Vulnerability management programs provide a framework for managing these risks at scale, enabling companies to quickly detect vulnerabilities across their entire environment. Analytics can also help organizations optimize their remediation techniques over time. 

By implementing a robust vulnerability management program, businesses can effectively address current and future risks. At 6clicks, we recognize the importance of a strong vulnerability management program that is easy to plan and implement. Hence, our platform blends automation and AI to simplify vulnerability management. See more on our solution page - Vulnerability Management.  

6licks also extends to complete GRC and risk management solutions all on the same platform which brings Automation, AI, a vast content library, and a range of features to improve information security and regulatory compliance.

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Dr. Heather Buker

Written by Dr. Heather Buker

Heather has been a technical SME in the cybersecurity field her entire career from developing cybersecurity software to consulting, service delivery, architecting, and product management across most industry verticals. An engineer by trade, Heather specializes in translating business needs and facilitating solutions to complex cyber and GRC use cases with technology. Heather has a Bachelors in Computer Engineering, Masters in Engineering Management, and a Doctorate in Information Technology with a specialization in information assurance and cybersecurity.