AcademyWhat is Vulnerability Management?

What is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability management is the process of identifying, evaluating, prioritizing, and mitigating or remediating vulnerabilities in cloud service environments.

Wiz Experts Team

Vulnerability management seeks to minimize the risk of cyberattacks by maintaining a secure and reliable technology infrastructure. 

Effective vulnerability management is an ongoing effort rather than a one-off task, ensuring that systems and services remain secure and up to date as threats evolve. By taking a proactive approach to vulnerability management, organizations can reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks and protect their digital assets from compromise. 

Vulnerability management is an essential aspect of cybersecurity and helps organizations to stay ahead of emerging threats, protecting their cloud-based assets from cyberattacks. 

Vulnerability management 101 

Vulnerability management is a multi-stage process, and typically involves the following steps: 

  • Discovery and Assessment: The process of vulnerability management starts with the discovery of assets within an organization, including hardware, software, and network devices. Once identified, these assets are evaluated to identify potential vulnerabilities using vulnerability scanning tools as well as manual testing. 

  • Prioritization: Once discovery is complete and vulnerabilities are identified, risk-based prioritization based on the severity and potential impact on the organization of each vulnerability is undertaken. This process informs the effective use of resources by addressing the most critical vulnerabilities first. 

  • Mitigation and Remediation: Mitigation and remediation plans often involve the application of security patches and software updates, as well as reconfiguring systems to address vulnerabilities directly or implementing other security controls to reduce the likelihood of exploitation. 

  • Monitoring: Vulnerability management is an ongoing process, and digital assets must be continuously monitored for new vulnerabilities. This helps to ensure new risks are visible to the organization, enabling a rapid response to mitigate any potential threats. 

Uncover vulnerabilities across your clouds and workloads 

There are numerous tools and techniques that organizations can use to uncover vulnerabilities across cloud environments and workloads. 

Manual analysis and testing was once the approach of choice, involving hiring security experts to conduct targeted penetration testing or ethical hacking. This can help to identify vulnerabilities, and while it may be effective in scenarios calling for specific knowledge or expertise, it is often costly and subject to the inconsistencies associated with human error. While it is potentially useful as a point solution in niche circumstances, vulnerability management at scale needs an automated solution. 

Vulnerability scanners are automated tools that can scan an organization's cloud infrastructure and identify potential vulnerabilities. These tools can identify a wide range of vulnerabilities, including software misconfigurations, unpatched systems, weak passwords and exposed secrets, as well as other security issues. 

Effective vulnerability management across clouds and workloads requires a comprehensive approach that combines automated tools, manual validation of those tools, and ongoing monitoring to ensure that systems are secure and resilient against emerging threats. 

 The challenges of vulnerability management 

While vulnerability management is an essential aspect of maintaining the security of any organization, it can be a complex process that comes with its own challenges, including: 

  • Identifying all vulnerabilities: It can be challenging to identify all vulnerabilities in a complex cloud deployment, especially doing so at speed if the organization has a large and diverse technology environment. 

  • Effective risk-based prioritization: Once vulnerabilities are identified, it can be challenging to establish their respective levels of risk, enabling prioritization of resources based on those risks. 

  • Resource constraints: Vulnerability management can be resource-intensive, requiring time, money, and personnel to carry out effectively. This can be a challenge for smaller organizations with limited resources, and costly to larger organizations. 

  • False positives: Vulnerability scanning tools may sometimes report false positives, which can waste resources and distract from genuine vulnerabilities. 

  • Patching and remediation: Once vulnerabilities are identified and prioritized, patching and remediation can be a challenging and time-consuming process, particularly in complex environments. 

  • Ongoing monitoring: Vulnerability management is a continual process, as vulnerabilities can re-emerge and new ones can arise. Ongoing monitoring and assessment are necessary to ensure the security of the organization. 

  • Staying one step ahead: New vulnerabilities and exploits are discovered every day. For manual or software-driven vulnerability management solutions to be effective, it is essential that the information on which they are based is up to date. The broad range of technologies and large number of related threats makes the manual approach extremely difficult and labor intensive.  

  • Visibility and coordination: In larger organizations, the scale of cloud deployments can make vulnerability management a challenge. Different tools for different platforms and multiple operations teams can make coordination between these teams a challenge, particularly where priorities and resources differ. 

Agentless and cloud-native vulnerability management 

Using an agentless cloud-native API,Wiz vulnerability management empowers customers to continuously assess workloads to detect and prioritize vulnerabilities at scale. Operating system and application configurations are monitored against CIS benchmarks to ensure a robust security posture across cloud service providers and technologies, including AWS, GCP, Azure, OCI, Alibaba Cloud, VMware vSphere, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift. Vulnerability management is extended into the CI/CD pipeline, preventing vulnerabilities from reaching production by scanning virtual machine and container images before deployment. 

Whether you’re using standard VMs, containers, container registries, appliances or serverless, Wiz offers single pane of glass visibility for all workloads to provide the latest vulnerability intelligence, enabling rapid remediation using automated rules, or with a single click. A catalog of over 70,000 supported vulnerabilities across 30 operating systems and thousands of applications is updated within 24 hours of new vulnerability disclosure, reducing false positives and ensuring effective vulnerability management thanks to a holistic view and vulnerability heatmaps. 

To experience the advantages of modern vulnerability management tools, contact us for a demo. 

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