What is a Vulnerability Management Program from the Point of View of an Auditor?

There are weaknesses in every technological ecosystem. A “Weakness in a data system, system security protocols, internal procedures, or execution that could be abused or provoked by a threat source” is one of the definitions for vulnerabilities that NIST has defined. Software developers, criminals, or security researchers may unavoidably discover bugs or weaknesses in the software and technology we employ over time.

A CVE number is given to a vulnerability once it has been made publicly known to identify it formally. The National Vulnerability Database (NVD) of NIST and MITRE both keep an up-to-date list of CVEs. Over 19,000 CVEs were monitored and maintained by NIST’s National Vulnerability Database in 2020, and over 9,000 CVEs have already been found for 2021. Undoubtedly, vulnerabilities are a concern for everyone and must be continually addressed. To address the dangers posed by vulnerabilities, DoD contractors must build an efficient vulnerability management program.

What is Vulnerability Management?

The “cycled process of finding, classifying, ranking, resolving, and eliminating” software vulnerabilities is known as vulnerability management. NIST defines vulnerability management as a data security constant monitoring capability that identifies vulnerabilities on devices that are likely to be utilized by attackers to infiltrate a gadget and use it as a foundation from which to extend penetration to the network.

Why Do You Need a Vulnerability Management Program?

How is vulnerability management different from program management if we add the term “program” at the end of vulnerability management? An expert in program management might reply as follows: A program is a collection of related initiatives and activities that are coordinated and managed within a framework that enables the delivery of outcomes and benefits. A program’s objective is to connect similar work. Anyone with vulnerability management knowledge can appreciate the significance of the idea behind this definition of “program.” Performing vulnerability management is a coordinated activity that calls for the efficient completion of numerous tasks and initiatives.

What constitutes a vulnerability management process’s four primary components?

A more prominent firm will require additional personnel and processes to guarantee that vulnerability monitoring is conducted properly and effectively. Although the number of individuals and procedures involved will vary from business to business, the following four key components should be present:

  • Inventory
  • Identification
  • Reporting
  • Prioritization
  • Response

The Importance of Creating an Inventory of IT Assets

As the proverb goes, you can’t defend what you can’t see. All forms of technology have flaws, as was already mentioned. You can’t identify the weaknesses in your technological ecosystem if you don’t know what technologies you currently use. A business must be aware of the technology used in its surroundings and keep an accurate inventory of its assets. Creating a thorough inventory of all your technological assets might be difficult for different businesses.

Due to tighter internal control regimes brought on by increased regulatory supervision, financial service and DoD companies organizations appear to have less difficulty recognizing their inventory of IT assets. Controls like disabling end users’ ability to install software or changing their endpoints’ configuration significantly limit the chances of introducing untested or unauthorized software into the ecosystem. Shadow IT hazards can also be decreased by limiting the devices connected to a network or by implementing stringent procurement procedures for hardware or cloud services.

On the other hand, software development companies appear to be at the other extreme of the spectrum. Contractors frequently use BYOD devices and have full access to the technological infrastructure. Creating an exhaustive asset inventory can be very challenging in this kind of setting.

Because resources can be set up quickly and easily in the cloud, things could become more difficult. Do you know what resources and technology your cloud environment possess? Are you aware of the cloud services that are present in your ecosystem? The most important aspect of a vulnerability management program is keeping an exhaustive inventory of all technological assets.