No system is perfectly secure, as proven by software analysis firm CAST, which reviewed 278 million lines of code and discovered more than 1.3 million vulnerabilities caused by errors and poor code practices. Because of this, organisations should have a plan of action (known as Vulnerability Management) on how to handle these vulnerabilities.
Vulnerability Management is typically defined as an ongoing process to identify, evaluate, treat, and report vulnerabilities across systems and endpoints. Alongside other security strategies, a vulnerability management system is a vital tool used to help manage potential threats.
There are multiple ways to define a potential security issue. However, these are the typical definitions that most organisations follow:
Each of these issues poses a problem on its own, which is why organisations should look towards implementing a vulnerability management system. This would allow them to keep track of these potential issues and have a plan to handle any critical security issues.
Vulnerabilities are commonplace in today's development world, and each one can introduce some form of risk if exploited. Having a detailed process to form a vulnerability management lifecycle will allow an organisation to assess their IT landscape better and develop action plans to resolve vulnerabilities.
1. Assess For Vulnerabilities
An organisation should routinely perform vulnerability assessments across its systems, preferably on a monthly basis. Vulnerabilities are reported constantly, and it's essential to keep up with these through vulnerability management tools.
Automating your security workflow is a key concept in modern shift left development and should be implemented in every software development lifecycle. Creating an automated vulnerability assessment system can identify weaknesses across an entire organisation, assessing them for potential issues while providing critical information for any known vulnerabilities.
Creating a team that can regularly assess and organise a plan to solve vulnerabilities can lead to more effective prevention and better results overall. This group can best evaluate these issues and formulate a strategy that works best for the organisation.
Your organisation should have a firm idea of all the vulnerabilities within your systems at this stage. With this information, your team should be utilising the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to find the numeric score for each vulnerability based on individual severity.
Once this has been done, a team can choose to place it in one of three categories:
Vulnerabilities can be prioritised to better formulate a plan of attack, weighing the impact and cost to fix some of these issues. In most cases, an organisation will find more problems than it can afford to fix. This is where senior management should step in and prioritise what can be fixed now, to reduce business risks.
Now that you have a list of vulnerabilities, your team should be put into action to resolve them. Documentation is key here, as your organisation should notate any changes and document vulnerabilities that aren't being fixed.
Once all fixes have been deployed for this portion of your vulnerability management lifecycle, it's time to reassess and assure that the changes were successful. Taking a step back to confirm these vulnerabilities have been resolved will allow your team to validate their work. This also provides an opportunity to document any new vulnerabilities that may arise.
After we've finished these steps, it's time to formulate a report. This allows executives and other IT personnel to understand the current status of systems to have a summary of the IT landscape. Comparing this new report to the previous scan can help form metrics to track and improve for the next cycle.
Although no system is entirely secure, we’ve learned that Vulnerability Management helps to mitigate risks with a step-by-step process that allows organisations to identify and fix weaknesses within their systems.
Uleska helps security and development teams manage application security at scale by automating and orchestrating their preferred security tools within CI/CD.
With Uleska, teams can confidently start an AppSec program using open-source, commercial, and custom tools and then quickly change, add or scale tools as the technology and business needs evolve. Uleska also brings speed and scale when integrating into development tools, and reporting of metrics and risk.
By bringing security, DevOps and development teams together, we help reduce manual tasks so application security takes less time, cost and can scale, allowing teams to focus resources on the issues and metrics that matter.
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