8 Common Recurring Vulnerability Management Challenges – Don’t Ignore Them!
Effective vulnerability management (VM) is indispensable for any organization. But most of the organizations have the wrong, outdated conceptions of the VM, which translates into recurring vulnerability management challenges. If these vulnerability management challenges are ignored, they lead to poor security.
Read on to know what these VM challenges are and the way forward.
8 Most Common Vulnerability Management Challenges
Difficulty in Effective Detection of Vulnerabilities
This is one of the most prominent vulnerability management challenges organizations face in today’s day and age. New vulnerabilities are being introduced almost daily, and the overall volume of vulnerabilities is only increasing.
As of December 24, 2021, the number of published vulnerabilities in 2021 as per NIST is 19258, exceeding the 2020 total of 18351 vulnerabilities. In 2016, the number of published vulnerabilities was 6447. As we can see, the number of vulnerabilities published each year has tripled over the last five years. Given this flooding of new vulnerabilities, it is difficult for organizations and their IT security teams to keep up.
No Unified View of Vulnerabilities
Organizations often use multiple scanners and methods to detect vulnerabilities, each operating in its own silo. For instance, application vulnerabilities detected through pen-testing may reside in reports only, while misconfigurations identified through security audits may reside in audit reports only. Network vulnerabilities identified through network scans are treated in different systems, while application vulnerabilities are treated in disconnected systems.
Without unifying all vulnerabilities from multiple sources into a central and cohesive dashboard, it is difficult to track them effectively and remediate them.
Incomplete Asset Inventory
A clear, updated, and comprehensive asset inventory forms the foundation of effective vulnerability management. Unless organizations know what assets exist, how can they protect them?
Organizations today have thousands of assets, including rapidly changing applications, databases, moving parts, shared services, third-party components, and software, creating a massive attack surface susceptible to different attack vectors. The lack of a complete and updated asset inventory is another significant vulnerability management challenge.
While many organizations still do not maintain/ update their asset inventory, even those with one use archaic methods such as spreadsheets and manual discovery. Such methods often provide a distorted picture, thus increasing vulnerability management risks. For instance, critical assets may not be adequately protected because they have not been identified.
Inaccurate and Inefficient Prioritization of Vulnerabilities
Given a large number of vulnerabilities in the organization’s IT environment, it is next to impossible for developers and the IT security team to patch and fix them all. Therefore, risk-based prioritization into critical, high, medium, and low-risk vulnerabilities is useful. Risks are calculated based on factors such as:
- The criticality of assets
- Availability of public exploits
- Malware and attacks actively targeting the vulnerability
- The severity, scope, exploitability, and potential damage associated with the vulnerability
- The popularity of vulnerability
But several organizations proceed from identifying vulnerabilities to remediating them, completely skipping this step. In other cases, do not prioritize accurately. In either case, IT security teams may wastefully expend time, resources, and efforts on a less dangerous vulnerability while leaving critical vulnerabilities unpatched. This erodes the security posture and leaves the organization vulnerable in the worst possible way.
Having an Episodic Instead of Continuous Approach to VM
When the VM process is episodic and not continuous, organizations will find it challenging to control the flow of vulnerabilities and a vulnerability debt. If organizations work with a continuous backlog of security issues, it only increases vulnerability management risks. Organizations must have an ongoing VM process focused on continuously improving security and hardening the security posture.
Use of Outdated Methods for Scanning
Another vulnerability management challenge is using outdated scanning methods and tools, mainly manual scanning. By doing so, the time and effort took to perform scans increases while their accuracy and effectiveness decline. Why? By the time scan reports come in, the results become redundant! It is also common for the results to have higher false positives, inaccuracies, and human errors.
Overwhelming Vulnerability Assessment Reports
Vulnerability Assessment Reports hold the key to effective remediation and executive decision-making about security. If these reports are inaccurate, ineffective, or difficult to comprehend, they undermine the entire VM process. It adds poor communication between teams to the mix and is a recipe for disaster.
Lack of Resources
This is a significant vulnerability management challenge, especially for small and medium enterprises that work with frugal resources. They do not have the budget or the human resources to establish an effective VM program. However, by collaborating with the right security service provider, SMEs can establish an effective risk-based vulnerability management program within their budget and keep themselves protected.
The Way Forward
Vulnerability management challenges are part of VM process. But if they are recurring, you cannot ignore them; you must take action. With a new-age security service provider like Indusface, you can effortlessly overcome many of these challenges.