enterprisesecuritymag

Managing Threats and Vulnerabilities in your Enterprise: Structuring for Modern Day Challenges

By John Gunter Jr., Head of Threat and Vulnerability Management, Electronic Arts

John Gunter Jr., Head of Threat and Vulnerability Management, Electronic Arts

With every passing day, we hear of a data breach, malicious cyber-attack or the other wreaking havoc on organizations. Yet organizations are finding it difficult to implement and maintain an effective threat and vulnerability management program. Learn what the key aspects are for organizations to process.

Imagine if we had one unique solution to solve our problems related to cybersecurity; however, it does not work that way. Organizations must build and come up with a robust cybersecurity framework that encompasses a threat and vulnerability management program to deal with ever-evolving cyber threats. It is not child’s play to infiltrate into any computer network and steal data; it requires people with intricate knowledge of how a program or product works, where the vulnerabilities are, and how these can be exploited. It means security managers and security analysts alike cannot afford to throw up their hands in despair. Designing a robust threat and vulnerability management program can help you handle such situations.

Questions to be Asked Before Implementing aThreat and Vulnerability Management Program

Cybersecurity measures work effectively only when the organization understands and implements a long-term, well-thought, and holistic information security framework.

• What is your organization’s security culture?

• How do you deal with sensitive and confidential information?

• How do you classify the data?

• What kind of threats does your organization face?

• What are the controls in place? How adequate are these controls? How do you measure the effectiveness of the controls in place?

• How do you respond to security incidents? What is your incident management program’s maturity? And, is it tested regularly?

What Are The Key Components That Must Be Considered?

Having a holistic information security framework that effectively manages threats and vulnerabilities is the key to the success of your enterprise information security program. The following components should be at the core of the threat and vulnerability management program.

Threat detection:

This includes intrusion monitoring, analysis of log activities, malware detection, etc.

Vulnerability identification:

It includes network and application vulnerability scanning, penetration testing.

Threat and vulnerability assessment:

Assessing the vulnerabilities, deciding the severity based on threats and risks.

Threat and vulnerability remediation:

This encompasses activities such as incident response, risk management, etc. 9

Continuous threat monitoring:

Regularly reporting on emerging threats, intelligence sharing, security program assessment.

How to Implement an Effective Threat and Vulnerability Management Program?

An information security framework is efficient when it can address all types of security vulnerabilities rationally across all layers of organizational security. These vulnerabilities can be present in the form of a bug in the code that allows adversaries to gain root access or a misconfiguration that may cause another most time, more severe vulnerability.

Adequate employee training and education

The first principle in any risk management exercise is to identify the risk before you proceed to handle it. It necessitates training your staff members, contractors and vendors as well. Your employees are not only your first line of defence but also in most instances, a cyber adversary’s primary target of attack. Educating your employees on the various threats that can emanate and the ways of dealing with them should form the core aspect of your threat and vulnerability management program.

Effective and regular penetration testing

Penetration testing is one way of ensuring that your networks are susceptible to threats and attacks from outside. It also helps security experts to understand the inherent strength of the security of the organizational network periphery. If you can pierce a hole in your systems, it does not take much time for cybercriminals to do it either. Though pen testing is a useful threat management tool, it works better when other security aspects are in place.

Routine and intricate vulnerability scanning

Vulnerability scanning is similar to penetration testing as it allows an organization to understand what it is susceptible to. The differentiation comes from vulnerability scanning, identifying misconfigurations, out of date patches, and mishandling of privileges. Having a routine scanning period of the environment goes hand in hand with updates, and is essential to standing the priority list of vulnerability remediation.

Regular patching and updates

With every passing day, your application program and system software become older and obsolete, thereby enabling hackers to find ways and new vulnerabilities to infiltrate it. Therefore, organizations should ensure that regular patch management programs and updates are made available to deal with the latest threats.

Effective information assets inventory management

Have a proper inventory management program in place. Obsolete computers and servers might appear harmless, but they could harbour malicious programs that the attacker is searching to exploit. Remember that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A proper inventory management program can take care of this aspect correctly.

Keep yourself updated

In this online world, no one can afford to relax and drop their guard. It is imperative for security systems to always be ahead of cybercriminals who can catch up at any minute. Go through threat intelligence feeds on a real-time basis to keep your network safe from malicious attacks. Updating your knowledge can save the day for you.

Effective risk management

Once you have identified the vulnerability, you must fix it, as well. Thus, security teams have to be on their toes at all times to look out for possible solutions to counter these threats. New vulnerabilities can spring up every day. Therefore, it becomes critical to ensure that your network does not end up becoming a victim.

Final Words

Enterprises must adopt a proactive approach to security rather than be reactive when dealing with threats and vulnerabilities. The top management must ensure that the entire business unit is aware of the best cybersecurity practices, and performing due diligence is part of the organizational processes. It only takes one breach for the adversaries to gain access. Vigilance and due diligence are the keys to enterprise information security.

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