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OpenSSL3 Critical vulnerability: How to fix CVE-2022-3602 and CVE-2022-3786 | Read here  >>

The CyberRisk Summit is back: Join us on Dec 6. as we recap the cyber risk landscape in 2022 | Get free ticket >> 

Product update: Group and deduplicate vulnerabilities with “Vulnerability Clusters” for efficient cyber risk management | Read here  >>

How-to guides

7 stages of the vulnerability management lifecycle

Successful vulnerability management requires taking into account the wider cyber risk picture. It requires working with a defined lifecycle, broken into defined steps.

Gal Gonen | November 18, 2022

The business of vulnerability management across networks, clouds and applications tends to be a complex process that involves several stakeholders and demands multiple actions such as identifying, prioritizing, managing, and reporting vulnerabilities in your system. 

Determining the success or failure of a vulnerability management program cannot be based solely on how many vulnerabilities were fixed in a day, week, or month—or without understanding the risks involved, and efforts that were made. Successful vulnerability management requires taking into account the wider cyber risk picture. It requires thoughtful planning and a clear roadmap, with defined steps.

Introducing the full vulnerability management lifecycle, step-by-step

vulnerability management lifecycle

 

Step 1: Consolidation

As the attack surface continues to expand, and new vulnerability and risk types emerge, it becomes harder to manage the enormous volume of scan data. Centralization of vulnerability and cyber risk data in one place, is the first, and fundamental step in the cyber risk lifecycle.

Why? 

  • For complete visibility
  • For duplicate data governing
  • For better control 

 

Step 2: Correlation

Duplicate data not only means duplicate tasks and inefficiencies, but also limited understanding of actual risk. In times when scale is crucial, businesses can’t afford chasing after individual vulnerabilities. The 2nd step in the cyber risk lifecycle is all about vulnerability deduplication and clustering. 

Why?

  • For simplified scan data management
  • For accurate risk understanding
  • For improved operating efficiency

 

Step 3: Enrichment

Lack of context is one of the biggest enemies of a successful cyber risk management program. Context means understanding the specific impact of vulnerabilities on the organization’s risk posture, And how to act upon them. The next step in the cyber risk management lifecycle is enriching the correlated scan data with actionable information.

Why?

  • For accurate risk scoring
  • For better actionability
  • For effective and smart prioritization

 

Step 4: Prioritization

The identified, correlated and enriched vulnerabilities should now be organized into a prioritized list that matches the risk-based policies each organization determines. Identifying the most important vulnerabilities for your specific organization is key, and prevents wasted time and effort on prioritizing vulnerabilities ineffectively so that focus remains on remediation.

Why?

  • For risk-based prioritization
  • For efficient operations
  • For rapid mitigation

 

Step 5: Orchestration

The next step, after assessing which vulnerabilities demand more attention, is to orchestrate the entire mitigation operation in the most efficient way possible. There are a lot of moving parts, multiple stakeholders involved, and this is where automation becomes crucial. Automating the communication and collaboration remediation tasks is key to streamlining risk mitigation.

Why? 

  • For effective operations
  • For reduced MTTR
  • For better organization-wide collaboration

 

Step 6: Collaboration

Cyber risk is business risk, and risk mitigation has become an organization-wide effort, creating too many cooks in the kitchen. DevOps, SecOps, and application development teams are now more than ever responsible for hands-on remediation tasks. The collaboration step is ensuring we manage the communication between all teams with the right tools, in the right way. 

Why?

  • For faster resolution
  • For breaking the silos between departments
  • For better management and visibility

Step 7: Reporting

The next, and final** is reporting: Which vulnerabilities were fully remediated? Which ones got a workaround? Are there any vulnerabilities that haven’t been fixed or any areas in the system yet to be checked? Cyber security efforts are sometimes missed when there’s no proper reporting in place.

Why? 

  • For better organization-wide collaboration
  • For tracking progress and performance
  • For meeting remediation SLAs

 

Next steps

**Although It may seem like reporting is the final step of the cyber risk management lifecycle, it might actually serve as the very beginning, and get us back to step 1. The cyber risk management lifecycle should be considered as a loop - it never actually ends. 

Setting a formalized plan and structure for your cyber risk operations is key to owning your risk. 

The Vulcan Cyber® risk management platform helps security teams get their cyber risk together using vulnerability and risk correlation, prioritization and orchestration capabilities. Book a demo today, or start your 30 days trial.