Vulnerability management is the ongoing IT process of identifying, evaluating and remediating vulnerabilities in an organization's information systems and applications. It goes beyond vulnerability assessment by categorizing assets and classifying vulnerabilities according to risk level. Vulnerability management offers enterprises a cost-effective way to protect critical IT infrastructure from security breaches.
The Importance of Vulnerability Management
Confronting sophisticated IT environments and a growing list of potential network and database security issues, budget-constrained IT shops now find it impossible to attend to all known vulnerabilities. Due to the sheer number of patches distributed and the difficulty of quantifying the value of security patching to business managers, mitigating crucial network and application weakness is a constant challenge.
Without a vulnerability management process to help prioritize remediation efforts, organizations may neglect to take the actions necessary for preventing harmful network attacks. Moreover, vulnerability management not only assists the enterprise in proactively addressing urgent security issues but also contributes to compliance with industry standards like ISO 27001. For merchants who handle credit card data, PCI standards require the development and maintenance of secure systems and applications as part of a vulnerability management program.
Vulnerability Management: The Process and Its Limitations
The process of vulnerability management typically includes the following key actions:
- Obtaining an inventory of—and categorizing by level of criticality—an organization's IT assets, including servers, network infrastructure, workstations, printers, and applications
- Finding existing vulnerabilities using network scanners, vulnerability scanners, and automated penetration testing software and determining appropriate risk levels
- Patching vulnerable systems and devices and reporting on remediation measures taken
Although vulnerability management is useful and necessary for many organizations, it has its limitations. The results of every costly, time-consuming vulnerability scan will contain false positives, representing only a partly accurate assessment of a system's security—at a single point in time. Further, even after taking action to remedy the issues uncovered, the threat of zero-day and as-yet-undiscovered exploits remains.
Always-On Defense-in-Depth from Akamai: Security That Stays Ahead of Tomorrow's Threats
As a result of highly complex web environments and rapid application development, new security flaws are introduced all the time. Companies cannot afford to rely solely on limited security solutions. This is why Akamai offers our customers an always-on layer of defense—built-in web security that safeguards your applications and networks from threats as they arise.
Our highly scalable Akamai Cloud Security Solutions—embedded in our global network for web content and application delivery—detect potential attacks in the network and application layers, deflecting malicious traffic before it reaches your data center. Access to our centralized web security intelligence and our trusted CSIRT team allow us to detect suspicious traffic patterns across the Akamai Intelligent Platform, deliver daily threat advisories to our customers, and act before attacks impact your origin infrastructure.
Discover how Akamai's Cloud Security Solutions can protect your network and applications from damaging cyber attacks.