The 3 Factors That Will Determine The Success Of Your Vulnerability Risk Management Program
Vulnerability risk management programs are an essential aspect of any corporate security risk strategy. By formalizing the process through which security vulnerabilities are identified and addressed, your business can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your safeguards.
As you draw up your vulnerability risk management, make sure you consider the following three factors:
1. Prioritizing vulnerabilities
Every security vulnerability presents a risk to corporate systems and data stores – but these risks are not always equal in severity. Your vulnerability risk management program needs to categorize and prioritize every risk as it is identified. Once prioritized, you can then allocate resources for fixing vulnerabilities.
Effective prioritization relies on properly assessing the severity of the threat by determining:
- System/infrastructure affected
- Type of vulnerability
- Availability of a fix/patch
- Business impact should the vulnerability be exploited
Prioritization also helps to ensure that resources are not diverted from the most critical vulnerabilities as newer ones are discovered.
2. Fixing vulnerabilities
The most crucial part of any vulnerability risk management program is the actual fix of identified risks and shortcomings. The specific approach to each issue will follow a basic pattern:
Research – investigate the vulnerability, its cause and the scope of carrying out a repair. Is this a case of applying a manufacturer's patch/update, or will you need to develop a custom fix?
Compensate – can other systems (like firewalls and malware-detection applications) be tuned to reduce the risk while a permanent fix is developed?
Test - fully test any proposed solution before deploying to the live environment, to assess the potential impact on other systems and operations.
Deploy – with testing complete and compatibility confirmed, the fix can be rolled out to the live environment.
This will be an ongoing effort as your team works through the prioritized list of identified vulnerabilities.
3. Governance and oversight
Finally, an effective vulnerability management program uses a carefully defined framework to govern the entire process. Governance does not mean overburden some management, but rather continuous oversight provides better visibility to all.
Keep accurate records of each identified vulnerability, the progress towards developing a fix and the outcomes of your efforts. In this way, you prevent mistakes being made, as crucial steps in the remediation process may otherwise be missed.
However, governance also plays a critical role in the preservation of evidence following a security incident. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) demands that you clearly document the scope of a breach and (where appropriate) contact affected individuals. In the UK, if the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) decides to investigate, you will be expected to provide evidence of how your business approaches security. US companies are not subject to investigation by the ICO, but they still need to comply with the GDPR if they handle any personal data of European citizens. Furthermore, although there is no federal equivalent of the GDPR at present, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which comes into effect in 2020 indicates the direction of travel.
The same is true of your insurer – any claim for cybercrime-related damages will require supporting evidence. Your vulnerability management program must address these requirements by outlining the forensic response to security issues.
Sharing the load
Utilizing the services of a managed cloud service provider (MCSP) like Navisite, with extensive experience in assisting organizations in maximizing their security and compliance postures, to improve your vulnerability management provisions, is a choice many clients have made. Navisite provides the additional resources and expertise for security testing, and is able to help you better understand and prioritize development in relation to legal requirements.
Click here to learn more about vulnerability management programs and how Navisite can help you build a robust security framework for your business, contact us or call us at (888) 298-8222 for additional information.