Your IT infrastructure is the lifeblood of your business. It’s how your people connect and serve customers, and it houses all the IP your business generates each day.
And while we may hope that nothing ever happens to compromise the integrity of our systems (let alone steal our data and leverage it for nefarious purposes), the truth is that it can and often does happen. As fast as technology has evolved, well-funded cyber attackers have been at the forefront, looking for any and all opportunities to compromise public and private networks.
Countering this requires a serious and holistic approach to security, and one that places security as a foundation – rather than an add on – of an effective IT system.
Of course, no single security measure is ever enough to beat hackers at their game. Effective IT security must always incorporate a variety of measures, such as:
- vulnerability management
- endpoint protection
- disaster recovery
- access controls
- plus much more
Vulnerability management is perhaps one of the most integral, as it takes a proactive approach to identifying risks so you can actively minimise your attack surface – which then supports other security efforts.
Effective vulnerability management requires much more than deploying an off-the-shelf vulnerability tool though. Rather, you need an end to end process that factors in your entire operating environment – from on-premise to private and public cloud, across internal and external facing services.
Let’s look at 4 steps you can take to implement an effective vulnerability management system…
Step 1: Collate a full inventory of assets
It’s difficult to protect your entire IT environment when you’re unsure of exactly which IT assets you have.
Ideally, you want to ensure full coverage of any asset with an IP address so no device is left unscanned for vulnerabilities. This is particularly important in an era of remote working, where it’s likely that you have some portion of assets linked to your on-premise system while others are linked to the cloud.
How to make it easy: The only way to gain a full inventory is with the latest tool sets that can detect and assess devices across all networks. At Harbour IT, our Vulnerability Management as a Service (VMaaS) starts by gaining a full inventory of your assets using our state of the art discovery tool. This will also pick up any new assets that appear on the network in the future so they can be tagged and included in the vulnerability scan.
Step 2: Know your level of exposure
Once you have a full inventory of assets, you can begin to assess your level of exposure. This is any gaps (or vulnerabilities) in any software that would allow hackers to penetrate your system.
Vulnerability scanners will do this for you, but quite often you’ll end up with a report that shows potentially hundreds of vulnerabilities. If the software is good, it may also rank the vulnerabilities in terms of risk level.
However, it’s almost impossible for a basic scanner to properly understand the context of a vulnerability in your environment and therefore make a proper risk assessment.
Identifying vulnerabilities is also the easy part – it’s the remediation strategy and efforts that take the bulk of time and effort.
How to make it easy: Consider partnering with security experts, such as our team at Harbour IT. Through VMaaS, we can take the stress and cost of finding and remediating all of your IT vulnerabilities off your hands.
Step 3: Have a clear, comprehensive vulnerability management policy
The first thing we ask any new company when it comes to vulnerability management is: Do you have a vulnerability management policy?
Essentially, your vulnerability management efforts are only ever going to be as good as your policy, which should clearly and comprehensively detail:
- The intent of the policy
- Who is responsible for what and when
- How vulnerabilities are classified
- Your approach to categorising risk
- Vulnerability remediation strategies and timeframes
- How and when a remediation is marked complete
Your vulnerability management policy should link with your business goals, and also consider any regulations that apply within your industry.
How to make it easy: At Harbour IT, we can work with you to develop an effective vulnerability management policy that aligns with your business goals and any necessary security standards or regulations. This gives you peace of mind that your policy incorporates everything that’s needed to set your business up for successful vulnerability management.
Step 4: Stay on top of your changing environment
Every new device, application or change within your IT environment can create new vulnerabilities. This is why it’s essential to accept the always and ever-changing nature of the IT landscape and plan for it accordingly.
With vulnerability management, this means ensuring that the tools you are using are constantly updated to factor in the newest attack methodologies and potential vulnerabilities.
It also means adapting your policy to ensure it continues to align with the changing nature of your business.
How to make it easy: Vulnerability Management as a Service provides assurance that your environment is not just being proactively monitored today – but every day and into the future. We are always on top of the latest vulnerabilities and attack methodologies, and will keep your internal IT team updated with everything they need to maintain a secure network.
To find out how Harbour IT can support your business in implementing highly effective vulnerability management, please contact us.