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8 ways to build your continuous vulnerability management strategy

Shaun Martin
by Shaun Martin
on May 21, 2024

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BlackIce Solutions is a premier provider of cybersecurity risk and compliance services including a comprehensive portfolio of services to address mission-critical business requirements including security program development, network penetration, risk assessments, and vulnerability remediation. We’re working together to help our customers ensure their open source software supply chain remains healthy and secure. 

Today we’re sharing a post from BlackIce President Roshunda Martin about how to build a vulnerability management strategy. 

These days, most software organizations have a vulnerability remediation strategy in place. It’s often a fully reactive approach: a vulnerability is detected, research is done to determine its level of severity, and teams investigate to find the recommended fix. In severe cases, such as the Log4Shell event, it’s a costly cleanup. Valuable time and resources are spent on remediation, when they could be better spent on innovating. 

There are ways to get ahead of this—enter: continuous vulnerability management. 

What is continuous vulnerability management?

Continuous vulnerability management is a proactive approach to identifying, prioritizing, and mitigating vulnerabilities in an organization's systems, networks, and applications on an ongoing basis. It involves a systematic process of assessing, analyzing, and remediating vulnerabilities to minimize the risk of security breaches and protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, exploitation, or manipulation.

Many organizations focus on the network boundary and cloud infrastructure layers when building security programs to prevent, detect, and remediate zero-day vulnerabilities. While this is a critical cybersecurity objective, oftentimes the software layer receives minimal focus due to lack of visibility and understanding. Furthermore, there’s the growing need to identify the open source software in use at an organization to meet growing compliance requirements from industry and government entities. 

With a sound continuous vulnerability management strategy, organizations can proactively address security issues and work to meet regulatory compliance objectives. Federal regulations such as CMMC, NIST 800-171 and leading security frameworks such as NIST 800-53, ISO 27001 PCI, Hi-Trust and others require an effective vulnerability prevention approach to prevent, detect, and resolve vulnerabilities to protect critical company and external client assets.

Eight ways to build your continuous vulnerability management strategy

  1. Asset inventory: The first step is to identify all assets within an organization's infrastructure, including hardware, software, networks, and cloud services. When it comes to software applications, this is where an organization will want to create their Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). With an SBOM, organizations can see the “ingredients list” of their applications, including what open source software is in use. In order to ensure compliance with all inventory assets, a periodic asset discovery and reconciliation process should be performed.

  2. Vulnerability scanning: Regular vulnerability scans are conducted using automated tools to discover vulnerabilities present in an organization's systems, applications, and code packages. These scans may include software code scans, network scans, web application scans, and database scans. 

  3. Prioritization of vulnerabilities: Vulnerability prioritization is the process of ranking the vulnerabilities in your environment according to their severity, business impact, and likelihood of exploitation. This approach helps organizations focus their resources and efforts on the most critical and urgent issues that pose the greatest threat to the organization.

  4. Risk assessment: Vulnerabilities are assessed in the context of the organization's risk tolerance and business objectives. Risks, including open source software risks, associated with each vulnerability are evaluated to determine the appropriate response and mitigation strategy.

  5. Remediation: Vulnerabilities are remediated through the application of patches, updates, configuration changes, or other security controls. Patch management processes ensure that systems and applications are kept up to date with the latest fixes.

  6. Ongoing monitoring and detection: Continuous monitoring of systems and networks helps detect new vulnerabilities and emerging threats in real time. Software CVE detection, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, and other monitoring tools are used to detect and alert potential security incidents. Executive and operational level reports should be distributed to stakeholders to ensure visibility and effectively drive vulnerability remediation efforts.

  7. Incident response: In the event of a security incident or breach, organizations must have effective incident response procedures in place to contain the incident, mitigate its impact, and restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

  8. Continuous improvement: Continuous vulnerability management is an iterative process that requires regular review and improvement. Organizations should regularly review their vulnerability management processes, tools, and procedures to identify areas for enhancement and optimization. 


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