Vulnerability Management refers to the systematic approach to the identification, classification, and remediation of vulnerabilities across various cyber systems.
Vulnerability management systems provide these services at a cost for companies of different sizes and functions since it’s essential for any company with an internet-facing asset to keep track of its cyber security.
Good vulnerability management systems come with the following features:
- Comprehensive vulnerability scanning
- Proper remediation guidance through measures and automated fixes.
- Scalability of management services according to the needs of clients.
- Customer support when and where required.
These are just a few of the crucial features to keep track of. This article will provide you with a detailed list of features that will leave you equipped with a perfect understanding of what the right option for your vulnerability management needs is. Let’s dive in.
Why is Astra Vulnerability Scanner the Best Scanner?
- Runs 3500+ tests with weekly updated scanner rules
- Scans behind the login page
- Scan results are vetted by security experts to ensure zero false positives
- Integrates with your CI/CD tools to help you establish DevSecOps
- A dynamic vulnerability management dashboard to manage, monitor, assign, and update vulnerabilities from one place.
- Helps you stay compliant with SOC2, ISO27001, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, etc.
- Integrates with Slack and Jira for better workflow management
- Trusted by the brands you trust like Agora, Spicejet, Muthoot, Dream11, etc.
Vulnerability Management Systems
TAC Security Survey reveals that 88% of businesses review security risks on their own rather than relying on a vulnerability management solution.
This however causes a major problem in the long run as reviewing security risks alone isn’t sufficient.
Systematic management of vulnerabilities by assessing and prioritizing them is essential for the continued upkeep of security. This is where vulnerability management systems come in.
Need For Vulnerability Management Systems
Vulnerability management systems add context to security and vulnerability scans by providing additional services such as automated vulnerability fixing, assessing the exploitability of vulnerabilities, and prioritizing them accordingly.
According to RiskBased Security, the year 2020 alone saw the unearthing of nearly 28,695 vulnerabilities. Among these, CVE-1999-0517 is the oldest vulnerability discovered in 2020, being over 21 years old.
When attackers are constantly and vigilantly on the prowl for vulnerabilities both old and new, such statistics are downright worrisome. Mainly because it indicates the number of vulnerabilities that could be still lying dormant, unfound, and or in a worst-case scenario, found and exploited for years before discovery.
This is why the need for vulnerability management platforms is high currently. With such protection in place, vulnerabilities can be continuously scanned for, assessed, prioritized, and remediated without any hassle before they are exploited.
Types of Tools Available In Vulnerability Management Systems
The most common types of tools provided by competent vulnerability management systems include:
- Vulnerability Scanning: This included automated vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, cloud configuration reviews, and network analysis. They are carried out to find any potentially exploitable flaws or security threats based on a large evolving vulnerability database.
- Identification And Prioritization: The vulnerabilities once found are identified and prioritized based on their exploitability and risk level in order to make patching easier and more focused.
- Remediation Assistance: This included receiving both appropriate and best measures for fixing vulnerabilities as well as applying automated patches where ever applicable.
- Vulnerability Shielding: If the vulnerabilities are too difficult or impossible to fix then another measure that is taken is to build a protective shield around the vulnerability thereby effectively isolating it.
Next up are some of the top vulnerability management solutions that provide a combination of all the above-mentioned services.
Top 10 Vulnerability Management Tools
1. Astra Security
Astra Pentest, one of the best vulnerability management providers, provides a world-class comprehensive vulnerability scanner with the following features for effective vulnerability management:
- Comprehensive vulnerability scanner
Astra Pentest provides continuous scanning facilities with its comprehensive scanner that is capable of conducting more the 3000 tests to find any and every hidden vulnerability.
It offers deep scans for web applications, APIs, networks, mobile applications, and cloud infrastructure.
- CI/CD Integrations
Astra offers CI/CD integration services for organizations. This helps companies move from DevOps To DevSecOps, thus giving more priority to security within every phase of a project’s development. It offers integrations with Slack, GitHub, and GitLab to name a few.
- Compliance-specific Scans
Astra offers the option to scan for specific compliances required by your organization. It provides a compliance-specific dashboard where you can opt for the specific compliance to scan for.
Once the scan is complete the results reveal the areas of non-compliance. Compliance-specific scans provided by Astra include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, ISO 27001, and GDPR.
- Pentest Certificate
Astra pentest certificate is a must-have and is only provided to customers who patch all the vulnerabilities found in the security weaknesses audit and obtain a rescan to ensure that there are no further vulnerabilities.
This certificate is publicly verifiable and can be displayed on customer websites to showcase its reliability and security-conscious nature. This brings about more customers who trust the services offered by your network.
- Intuitive Dashboard (CXO friendly)
Astra’s vulnerability scanner boasts a CXO-friendly dashboard that is super easy to navigate. It displays the vulnerabilities as and when they are found.
Members of the development team can be added to the dashboard to collaborate with pentesters for quicker vulnerability resolution.
The dashboard also offers the option to comment under each vulnerability so that the development team can clear queries quickly.
- Zero False Positive
Zero false positives are a sure thing with Astra’s thorough vetting which is done by expert pentesters based on the automated pentest results obtained. This double-checking, therefore, ensures that the customers don’t have to worry about any false positive vulnerability detection.
- Detailed Reports
Once the vulnerability scanning is completed a report is generated which includes the scope of testing, a list of vulnerabilities found, their details, and possible remediation measures.
It also mentions its CVSS score and Astra goes a step further by providing customers with an actionable vulnerability risk score based on which critical vulnerabilities can be prioritized.
- Remediation Support
Once vulnerability scanning with Astra is complete Astra also provides detailed steps for remediation based on risk prioritization. This is done with the aid of POC videos and collaboration within the vulnerability dashboard.
- Can detect business logic errors and conduct scans behind logins.
- Provides rescanning upon successful remediation of vulnerabilities.
- Provides compliance-specific scans and reports.
- Ensure zero false positives through vetted scans.
- Could have more integrations.
Rapid7 provides world-class application security, vulnerability management, and SIEM services.
Rapid7’s Insight VM offers capabilities such as advanced remediation, tracking, and reporting.
Other services provided by this company include penetration testing services and vulnerability scanning.
- Simple and easy-to-navigate interface.
- Capable of finding hidden vulnerabilities
- Great and easy-to-understand reports.
- Customer support can be improved.
- Removal of scanned devices must be done manually.
Qualys provides its cloud customers with continuous monitoring, vulnerability management, compliance solutions, and web application firewalls.
Besides its notable vulnerability management services, Qualys also offers network mapping and detection, vulnerability prioritization and remediation as well as cloud security.
- Timely alerts and responses.
- Well-designed and easy-to-navigate user interface.
- Constant updates ensure the current security measures for the cloud environment.
- Limited scheduling options.
- Scans are not applicable to all applications.
Nessus is a web application vulnerability scanning tool released by Tenable. It helps with point-in-time analysis of security systems to find vulnerabilities that may be plaguing them.
Tenable vulnerability management tool focuses on automated scanning to get a better view of cloud infrastructure and web applications to find vulnerabilities.
They also provide a detailed reporting feature that details the vulnerabilities found and the appropriate patches for them.
- Helps find missing patches that are critical to maintaining security.
- Point-in-time analysis of security system.
- Helps achieve compliance with the scans.
- Advanced support is only available upon additional payment.
- Takes time to complete scans.
- Can be an expensive solution.
Breachlock offers a valuable vulnerability management program as well as penetration testing services. It is a SaaS platform that allows you to request a pentest and after the penetration test is conducted you can avail of monthly scans through the same SaaS platform.
Breachlock’s team of ethical hackers conduct AI-augmented pentests giving you a comprehensive picture of your security posture. Accompanied with this is their fast remediation support as well as compliance readiness.
- Continuous addition of risk checks
- Scalable vulnerability management solution
- Manual and automated testing options
- Helps in identification of grey areas in the codes
- Product support could be improved
- Documentation can be confusing
This tool is used to ensure and reduce cyber threats through quick scans, diagnoses, and resolutions of issues that may affect the performance of assets. Its services are available for cloud, hybrid, and on-premise solutions.
Catering to both small and large enterprises, this vulnerability management tool helps to troubleshoot network misconfigurations, and other flaws and risks while providing a detailed report for the same.
- Detailed reports
- Quick scans and resolutions.
- Easy-to-use interface.
- Provides reports on inventory and OS for all the devices added.
- Better suited to larger infrastructures.
- Can be difficult to implement for beginners.
7. Arctic Wolf
This company provides managed detection and response solution that is available 24*7. It includes constant monitoring of networks, cloud environments, and endpoints.
Arctic Wolf eliminates alert fatigue and the possibility of any false positives while customizing responses catered to the organization.
- Good security protection solution.
- A cost-efficient solution to having an in-house SOC.
- Notifications can take time.
- Could have more integrations than currently available.
8. Alert Logic
AlertLogic is a well-known SOC-as-a-service and vulnerability management provider that provides managed threat detection and response services (MDR).
Their holistic services include 24*7 threat monitoring, incident validation, remediation, log management, and more.
- User-friendly solution
- Precise and timely notifications
- Easy-to-navigate dashboards.
- Could have better end-point protection.
9. Orca Security
Orca Security helps you cover vulnerabilities that might have escaped the agent-based vulnerability scanning solutions. It provides vulnerability management services for cloud infrastructures like AWS, Azure, and Google Platform.
It combines all cloud assets in a single graph and supports more than 40 CIS benchmarks and other security regulations. Orca’s vulnerability management program makes actionable data easily available to the right teams.
Other features like data encryption, antivirus, potential intrusion, and threat detection are also provided.
Managed services from Orca Involve a simple 3-step process that includes discovery, monitoring, and assessing the assets.
- Vulnerability management services for AWS, Azure, and Google platform.
- Provides actionable data
- Provides data encryption and antivirus protection.
- No upfront pricing provided
Detectify provides surface monitoring and application scanning options for a company’s growing attack surface. Its Application Scanning option scans and detects vulnerabilities automatically.
Detective mainly focuses on attack surface management which relies on an attacker’s perspective and requires continuous scanning of various assets.
- Real-time alerts for the vulnerabilities detected.
- Continuous scan that can be integrated into the development pipeline.
- Surface monitoring provided by Detectify can detect a lot of vulnerabilities in the internet-facing assets that organizations have.
- Expensive compared to other options.
- Reported performance issues with the interface.
Differences Between Vulnerability Management And Vulnerability Assessment
In order to get into the differences between vulnerability management and vulnerability assessments, we first need a clear picture of what vulnerability assessments are.
In short, vulnerability assessment is the process by which assets are systematically scanned for vulnerabilities using a vulnerability scanner and then evaluated based on their severity for quicker remediation of detected critical vulnerabilities.
Multiple vulnerability assessments need to be carried out in order for a holistic vulnerability management system to be mapped out for an organization’s cyber assets.
Therefore it can be said that vulnerability assessments are a part and an essential step in vulnerability management but don’t comprise the whole process of managing vulnerabilities.
Steps in Vulnerability Management Process
Steps in a holistic vulnerability management process include:
1. Vulnerability Scanning
Make use of a comprehensive vulnerability scanner with a good vulnerability management system. Such a scanner should be able to continuously scan and detect even the most minute of vulnerabilities.
It should also have an extensive vulnerability database so that all vulnerabilities are rightly assessed. A good scanner should also be able to carry out behind-the-login scans, detect logic errors, weed out any false positives as well as ensure that there are no false negatives.
This step involves the identification of vulnerabilities that were found within the system using comprehensive vulnerability scanners.
In general, it should be able to detect the known CVEs, and vulnerabilities mentioned in standard frameworks like the OWASP Top 10 and SANS 25 as well as based on the current trends in malicious exploitation.
The process results in mapping out your assets in detail and scouring them for any possible vulnerabilities that could construe a threat to the cloud platform. It is vital to schedule such scans during slower traffic times as it can cause disruptions in regular operational conditions.
Once the vulnerabilities identified are matched to the vulnerability database at hand, they are assessed and evaluated further to understand the extent of their threat levels.
Another reason for this evaluation of identified threats is to prioritize them according to the mentioned risk levels posed by each vulnerability. This allows a team to understand which of the vulnerabilities need to be fixed immediately and make a diligent plan in lieu of it.
The most common system used to evaluate the extent of threats posed and prioritize them is the CVSS system. CVSS stands for Common Vulnerability Scoring System, it assesses the vulnerabilities according to a few set characteristics like their traits and specific effects on the cloud. Based on the scores, the vulnerabilities are patched.
Once the vulnerabilities are assessed according to the risk they pose, it is now time to respond and fix each flaw found. This is done based on the data from the risk assessment.
Based on the threat level there are four general measures that can be opted for to create a viable and healthy security solution for the cloud. This includes:
- Patching: This refers to fixing the highest risk posing vulnerabilities immediately based on their risk severity. The vulnerabilities are patched or fixed and the issue is completely eradicated.
- Shielding: Vulnerabilities that are too difficult or impossible to fix are covered with a protective shield around the vulnerability thereby effectively isolating it.
- Mitigation: If fixing the problem at hand isn’t a feasible solution at the time, then the next step is to try and reduce the risk or problem posed by them to the security of the cloud. This in turn reduces the chances of them being found and exploited.
- No Action: This refers to taking no action against some found vulnerabilities. Such flaws always have an extremely low CVSS score and the pros of exploiting them are vastly outweighed by the cons. Therefore leaving these vulnerabilities alone and focusing on the more attention-demanding flaws is recommended.
Once the evaluation is carried out and the flaws are patched, mitigated, or left as such, a detailed vulnerability report is generated by the vulnerability scanner.
This report details the details of the scan, the methods employed to detect vulnerabilities, and the vulnerability database used as a standard reference. Along with this, the vulnerabilities found are listed and extensively explained with their CVSS scores as well as possible remediation measures.
Once the major steps of identification, evaluation, and remediation are carried out followed by the report generation. The final step would be to avail a re-scan to ensure the security system of the asset is free from all the initially found flaws and they have been appropriately managed or fixed.
Doing so is akin to going the extra mile in the name of safety and truly ensures the safety of your organization’s service. It also increases your reputation as a safety-conscious provider and increases trustworthiness.
Benefits of Employing Vulnerability Management Systems
The benefits of employing vulnerability management systems include:
1. Early Threat Identification
Vulnerability management is a cyclic process that dedicates a significant amount of time and resources for the quick and timely detection of potential threats, risks, and vulnerabilities.
Such early threat identification makes a major difference as it ensures that your organization’s web applications, networks, cloud infrastructure and or other cyber assets are constantly protected.
Earlier the detection, earlier the evaluation, prioritization, and remediation of discovered vulnerabilities!
2. Maintain Compliance
Many organizations are required to comply with various regulations and industry standards, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and NIST, which mandate regular vulnerability assessments. Using a vulnerability management system can help organizations meet these compliance requirements.
3. Built-In Remediation
The system can help organizations prioritize vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact, allowing them to focus on the most critical issues first.
By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities proactively through automated remediation, organizations can minimize the risk of a security breach and protect their sensitive data.
4. Automation of Security
Vulnerability management systems can automate many security processes, such as scanning, reporting, and remediation, making them more efficient and less time-consuming.
5. Continuous Monitoring
The vulnerability management system can continuously monitor the network, systems, and applications for new vulnerabilities and alerts the administrator as soon as a new vulnerability is discovered.
Features To Look For In Vulnerability Management Systems
Here are some of the features to look for in vulnerability management systems mentioned in detail:
1. Comprehensive Vulnerability Scanning
The tool should continuously monitor and scan assets to find any hidden or new vulnerabilities that could have risen. It is also important that these scans be conducted every time an application is updated, a new feature is added or some other form of change is made.
2. Periodic Pentests
Conducting regular pentests is an excellent practice for the best cloud vulnerability management. They go a step further from vulnerability scanning by exploiting the found vulnerabilities to properly assess the extent of damage that could occur from such an attack in real-life.
Regular pentests and scans are often considered mandatory during compliance audits since they help organizations identify and fix loopholes that need to be resolved.
3. Real-Time Alerts
The right vulnerability management system should provide real-time alerts when new vulnerabilities are discovered, allowing organizations to take immediate action to address them.
4. SDLC Integration
Integrating vulnerability scanning into the development allows for continuous scanning for vulnerabilities throughout the progress of the application.
Such integration also allows for cloud service providers to be continuously compliant with the important regulatory standards they need to abide by like GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
5. Remediation Guidance
They should be able to provide innate assistance with your vulnerability remediation for your organization’s security. This includes providing POC videos, immediate query clearance, and providing detailed steps within the vulnerability scanning report.
6. Reporting Capabilities
Well-detailed reports have the scope of testing explained, vulnerabilities found on scanning, methods employed for exploitation of vulnerabilities, and the damages and information revealed from exploiting them as well.
Based on this, the report should also mention the CVSS scores for these vulnerabilities and the detailed steps to take to patch them up. These reports are extremely useful for organizations when it comes to patching, or for documentation purposes for an audit.
7. Access Control
Robust access control is an important feature in vulnerability management tools, enabling the administrator to assign different levels of access to different users. This successfully reduces the risk of unauthenticated access of employees from a level they shouldn’t have access to.
Scalability is an important feature to consider when looking for a vulnerability management service. The service should be able to scale to meet the needs of organizations of different sizes and with different types of networks, systems and applications.
9. Support Services
Lastly, evaluate and thoroughly understand the support services that are offered by the vulnerability management tool under your consideration. They should have a dedicated support team available to assist with any issues or questions that may arise.
How Are Vulnerabilities Categorized?
Vulnerabilities that are discovered are categorized in the following:
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) are vulnerabilities discovered in computer systems that leave them susceptible to attacks.
Common Configuration Enumeration (CCEs) are configuration flaws with certain systems that could be concerning for the security of those systems.
Common Platform Enumeration (CPEs) refers to the identification of systems,or groups of software applications that can be affected by the same vulnerabilities.
Common Vulnerability Scoring System is a metric used to define the severity posed by a vulnerability where 0 is of least concern while 10 is critical to security.
These categories are followed by other vulnerability databases like Mitre CVD and National Vulnerability Database.
This article dissected what exactly vulnerability management systems are, and the benefits that make it a valuable asset to one’s security practices. All the problems of today and tomorrow can be faced if found on time by a reliable vulnerability management tool when it is deployed.
Astra Security’s vulnerability management system is one such tool that can meet all your needs and requirements. It employs the best features of a good vulnerability management system thus ensuring the safety of your web and mobile applications, networks, APIs, cloud services, the applications, and the data within.