What Is Vulnerability Management? Process, Assessment, and Best Practices

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Vulnerability Management Guide

In recent years, cybersecurity has established itself as a critical concern. However, as new threats come to light, the danger environment continuously changes.

Seventy percent of international company executives believe cybersecurity will become a more significant concern in the next five years. The actions taken by organizations today have an impact on how well they get ready for issues down the road.

An essential cybersecurity technique (and process) that organizations need to implement to prevent unintentional data theft and protect from direct, specific attacks is Vulnerability management.

To keep up with the growing number of threats, vulnerability management is a dynamic field that is becoming more sophisticated. Vulnerability management reveals the increasing severity of attacks and the actual degree of readiness of many organizations in the event of a cyberattack.

The development of a continuous process for vulnerability detection, study, and patching will be addressed in this article.

What is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability management is an organization’s multi-step approach to mitigating security risks. Finding vulnerabilities in cloud-based systems, apps, and infrastructure is a sophisticated vulnerability management procedure.

Considering the growing cyber risk that organizations confront as we approach 2024, this step is crucial:

Vulnerability management has evolved gradually from a primarily human approach to increasingly complex, automated methods. Specific tools are needed to detect and rank risks to develop and execute adequate strategies to prevent an intrusion on an IT system’s security.

Using a systematic approach to threat identification, vulnerability management establishes the groundwork for long-term management customized for the requirements and operations of each organization.

In simple terms, Vulnerability management identifies, determines, prioritizes, and minimizes security vulnerabilities inside your IT environment. Reducing the probability of a breach by fixing system weaknesses before they can be used to compromise your systems is the primary goal of vulnerability management.

Any weakness in a network’s architecture, operation, or design that an attacker could leverage to carry out a cybercrime is a security vulnerability.

Typical Vulnerabilities are outlined below:

  • Incorrect configurations of the system
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) without security
  • software that has not been patched or updated
  • insufficient or lacking authorization credentials
  • inadequate policies for access control
  • Incomplete or insufficient data entry
  • zero-day vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Management: Best Practices

Effective vulnerability management is necessary for an organization’s IT infrastructure to remain secure and intact.

In this section, we’ll discuss a few recommended practices for vulnerability management.

Specify your Objectives and Scope

Determining the objectives and constraints of your vulnerability analysis is necessary before you begin examining and evaluating your assets. Which crucial information and systems must you preserve? What threats and risks are there in your line of work? Which security rules and compliance requirements do you have to adhere to?

By answering these questions, you may have a better understanding of your goals, set expectations, and synchronize your goals with those of your stakeholders.

Go Proactive and Determine KPIs

Planning and strategy must come in initial stages, just like in any other company initiative, and then the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be developed.

In addition to giving, you the tools to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) that your vulnerability management software or solution is producing, KPIs also direct your security team and provide you with achievable goals to strive towards.

A few valuable KPIs to incorporate are:

  • vulnerability coverage, completeness, and vulnerabilities for each server in each security region
  • Frequency and intensity of scans 
  • Patching time
  • The speed at which your programmers are addressing vulnerabilities and the duration of high-risk vulnerabilities that have not yet been patched.

Define Tasks and Asset Classifications

Classifying and prioritizing assets according to their actual and inherent risk to the organization is extremely important, and it comes after taking an inventory of them.

This risk classification will inform the periodicity of vulnerability scanning and the order of importance of remedial operations.

Designating system owners as the ultimate responsible parties for the risks connected with an asset and their obligation if the asset is compromised is another crucial aspect of assigning ownership of assets.

Develop a Database for Vulnerability Management

A comprehensive picture of your company’s IT assets and the level of importance of each asset is obtained by mapping out and identifying all digital assets, systems, related and third-party systems and processes, IT infrastructure, hardware, software, computers, databases, management systems for content, development frameworks, ports, and so forth during the discovery phase of virtual machine (VM) deployment.

Just building the database once and leaving it that way is inadequate. The security posture of your virtual machine database is only as effective as the data before the update. As a result, you need to update the VM database often.

Conduct Regular Automated Vulnerability Analysis

Organizations should regularly perform automated vulnerability scanning tools for every machine on the network as part of persistent vulnerability management.

Tools for vulnerability scanning ought to be dependable, Adaptable, and reliable.

Regardless of the framework you choose, scanning should occur at least once a month or once every three months.

On the other hand, threat actors find new vulnerabilities daily, and many of them are turned into weapons within hours or days after their discovery. This implies that the final 29 days might expose your company to risk if you conduct monthly scanning.

Certera advises continuously approaching your scans. Weekly or even daily scans can be suitable, depending on your organization.
~ Website Vulnerability Scanning

Use the Appropriate Frameworks and Standards

Your vulnerability assessment in your sector can be guided and supported by several different standards and frameworks. NIST SP 800-115, OWASP Top 10, ISO/IEC 27001, PCI DSS, and CVSS are a few of the widely used ones.

Best techniques, processes, standards, metrics, and references are offered by these frameworks and standards for doing vulnerability evaluations in various settings and domains.

Applying the appropriate frameworks and standards can help you accomplish security and compliance while fitting your goals and scope.

Set Vulnerabilities in Order of Significance and Carry Out Measures to Fix Them

Organizations must rank vulnerabilities according to how they affect the company and implement the necessary fixes.

High-risk vulnerabilities should be fixed first in a well-established vulnerability remediation procedure. Not CVSS scores, but business risk is what we mean when we term “high risk” in business terms.

Blend Vulnerability Management with Additional Security Procedures And Solutions

As part of a comprehensive approach, vulnerability management should be combined with other security procedures and solutions.

Companies ought to think about combining vulnerability management with the following:

  • Threat Intelligence
  • Incident Response
  • Network Security
  • Access Control 

An organization’s security posture may be improved by taking a comprehensive approach to security by integrating vulnerability management with other security procedures and solutions.

The Lifecycle of Vulnerability Management

An organization can actively address system vulnerabilities by using the Vulnerability Management Lifecycle, which is intended to be a continuous management process that involves identification, prioritization, evaluation, acting, rechecking, and enhancement.


Identifying and focusing on the assets that need to be a part of the vulnerability assessment is called identification.


The assets according to importance or influence on the firm’s operations and prioritize them.


Based on the asset finding, carry out the vulnerability scan. Make reports to make sure every object is scanned correctly and yields information.


Discuss the vulnerability report with the relevant parties. Create a plan for risk acceptance or remediation.


Evaluate again to make sure dangers are removed and to show that mitigation measures are effective.


Regularly assess the status of your vulnerability program. Explore methods to enhance and protect your network from novel and upcoming dangers.

Vulnerability Management vs. Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability management involves a thorough system scan by cyber security professionals to get information on vulnerabilities, of which vulnerability assessments are only a tiny portion.

  • Which dangers pose a risk to the company’s network?
  • Which risks are the biggest?
  • Which dangers are most likely to materialize?

Frequent scanning sessions are necessary for assessment to gather information for creating an action plan and ranking the hazards that demand immediate attention.

Let’s explore this distinction from the perspective of a physical property owner to clarify it more. If you own a valuable construction, you most likely take certain precautions to keep it safe.

  • You maintain it.
  • You have insurance for it.
  • You confirm that the windows and doors are locked.
  • You configure the alarms.

These steps are part of controlling the risk to the property and its contents.

Suppose you hired an individual only to test your alarms and external defenses and provide a report. An evaluation would be a better term for it. While your assessment is a one-time exercise with set objectives or standards, the administration of the security on your property is a continuous procedure made up of everything pertinent to the process.

Similar methods are used to address cybersecurity issues. Vulnerability assessments are one technique used in a more extensive, comprehensive approach called vulnerability management.

Vulnerability Management Benefits

We now have a better understanding of vulnerability management, including its definition, methodology, structure, and implications for you and your company.

To save you time, we’ve compiled a list of a few advantages of vulnerability management.

Very Economical

Cost-effectiveness is unquestionably one of the main advantages for every organization, and vulnerability management offers several cost-saving benefits.

Ad hoc patching is removed, which might result in missing fixes and increased expenses.

By assisting the company in focusing attention and setting priorities around assets that pose the most significant risk of being exploited, it also helps to lower technological debt.

In other words, vulnerability management gives an organization’s security posture more excellent structure and accuracy. This helps the organization justify its security posture to stakeholders, who are more willing to support vulnerability efforts.

Reacting Instantly to Threats

The bad guys never sleep or take a vacation! Every day, new vulnerabilities are discovered that catch us off guard.

For example, all organizations were put on high alert after the Log4j vulnerability was discovered the day before November 2021.

Organizations may transition from a reactive to a proactive reaction with vulnerability management.

A continuous patch management procedure guarantees that significant vulnerabilities are identified and prioritized and that the resources are available to fix them immediately. Doing this creates the framework for a speedier and more efficient reaction to any new risks.

Improves Transparency And Access

As was previously said, vulnerability management aids in developing a tracking and reporting system while doing a vulnerability assessment.

A project’s transparency can aid in supporting other initiatives by helping stakeholders understand the return on investment in security.

The team is further helped by vulnerability reporting, which offers actionable dashboards and trend data for fast program evaluation and performance assessment. Senior management may use these contextualized reports’ essential metrics and indicators to make well-informed choices on important initiatives.

Boost Consumer Confidence

Organizations have been compelled to audit third-party suppliers due to the improvement in ransomware and supply chain attacks, such as the Kaseya ransomware attack, which has increased stakeholder awareness of the risks associated with unsecured systems. Key metric indicators and executive-level reports give customers and stakeholders insight into the program’s status.

This is a crucial aspect of contemporary business practices, as more and more stakeholders evaluate the risk of conducting business in light of an organization’s security posture. Possessing the information and tools necessary to report on the company’s state increases its legitimacy and the likelihood of conducting business.

If you still need to develop a cybersecurity program, establishing security policies is an excellent place to start.

Challenges in Implementing Vulnerability Management

The following are a few factors why most companies still see vulnerability management to be a significant challenge: 

Monitoring the Number of Vulnerabilities

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, or CVEs, are in the hundreds and are added monthly. It makes sense that organizations cannot patch even the most severe vulnerabilities on time. Even years after fixes have been released, many businesses still use known vulnerabilities.

Serious Software Vulnerabilities that are Difficult to Patch or Repair

Patching is insufficient or unavailable at times. Organizations must use other strategies to reduce these vulnerabilities, such as opening ports, incorrect setups, and lax access and authentication procedures. Unfortunately, this procedure may be very resource-intensive for a lot of businesses. Cybersecurity experts must assess the vulnerability, identify its mitigation, and personally carry out any necessary corrections.

Considering Patching and Maintenance Tasks for IT and Cybersecurity as a Top Priority

Due to competing goals and a lack of resources, many organizations need help to address vulnerabilities. Examples include:

  • Introducing new apps.
  • Allocating funds and staff to handle patch maintenance and vulnerability concerns.
  • Addressing other time-consuming tasks like compliance reporting.

In most cases, manual patching procedures or a lack of automation are the underlying causes of this lack of priority in organizations. IT and cybersecurity operations must catch up if prioritization isn’t a component of your vulnerability management plan since it takes so long to test, patch, or deploy updates to resolve vulnerabilities.

In What Ways Does Certera Support Vulnerability Management?

Certera, a cutting-edge and renowned Certificate Authority, offers ongoing, on-demand security testing by providing various security solutions for your company. You could track the platform’s progress through exploration, evaluation, repeat testing, and correction phases.

We’ll support your security teams in identifying and fixing vulnerabilities before hackers take profit from them, whether the objectives are to launch a product, meet regulatory requirements, or show compliance.

Common FAQ’s

What is a Vulnerability in Practice?

Vulnerability involves uncertainty, danger, and emotional exposure. It occurs when you take a risk, attempt something different, or step beyond your comfort zone. It’s like that crazy rush of emotions you get when you first try out yoga, and you don’t know what you are doing, but you do it anyway.‌

What is the Most Effective Way to Handle Vulnerabilities?

Organizations should begin with these fundamental vulnerability management best practices:

  • Map all assets and evaluate exposure.
  • Threat data powers vulnerability management lifecycles.
  • Encourage inter-team cooperation in the correction of vulnerabilities.
  • Combine with other company security solutions.

The systematic detection, prioritization, prevention, validation, and reporting of vulnerabilities inside an organization’s information systems and software applications is done through a continuous and organized process called the Vulnerability Management Lifecycle.

Vulnerability Management Lifecycle: What Is It? 

By regularly addressing and managing vulnerabilities considering the changing threat landscape, this lifecycle is essential to enhancing an organization’s overall security posture, guaranteeing the protection and confidentiality of sensitive data, and lowering the chance of exploitation.

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a passionate Cyber-Security Enthusiast who keenly monitors the latest developments in the Web/Cyber Security industry. She puts her knowledge into practice and helps web users by arming them with the necessary security measures to stay safe in the digital world.