What’s the Difference Between Vulnerability Assessment & Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability Assessment VS Vulnerability Management

When it comes to cybersecurity, there are a lot of terms thrown around. Two of the most common are vulnerability assessment and vulnerability management.

But what do they mean? And more importantly, what’s the difference between the two?

43% of cyber-attacks are targeted at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to properly defend themselves.

There’s no shortage of cybersecurity threats. To protect your organization’s data, you need a good understanding of vulnerabilities and how to manage them.

Here’s a closer look at vulnerability assessment and vulnerability management and the key differences between the two.

Defining Vulnerability Assessment and Vulnerability Management

At a high level, a vulnerability assessment is simply a scan of your systems to identify potential security vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability assessments can be performed manually or with automated tools. They usually involve looking at things like open ports, installed software, and system configuration settings. Once potential vulnerabilities have been found, they need to be verified to make sure they’re exploitable.

A vulnerability management program, on the other hand, is an ongoing process that includes both vulnerability assessments and remediation.

Once vulnerabilities are verified, they need to be prioritized based on their risk level. High-risk vulnerabilities should be fixed as soon as possible, while low-risk vulnerabilities can be fixed on a schedule that makes sense for your organization.

A vulnerability management program includes all the above steps but also regular monitoring and reassessment to make sure new vulnerabilities haven’t been introduced and that old vulnerabilities haven’t resurfaced.

Why Both are Important for Businesses

A vulnerability management program is critical for any organization that wants to be secure. But it’s important to remember that a vulnerability management program is only as good as the underlying vulnerability assessments.

Vulnerability assessments are the foundation of a good security program. They help you understand what vulnerabilities exist in your systems and how severe they are. Without regular vulnerability assessments, it’s impossible to know if your systems are secure.

Vulnerability management programs build on that foundation by adding remediation and regular monitoring. This ensures that vulnerabilities are fixed promptly, and those new vulnerabilities are found and dealt with quickly.

Both vulnerability assessment and vulnerability management are important for businesses because they help to find and protect against risks.

When to Use Each One

In general, you should be performing regular vulnerability assessments on all your systems. Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, this might mean weekly or monthly scans.

Your vulnerability management program should be in place to make sure that if any vulnerabilities are found they are fixed promptly. This program should include both remediation and regular monitoring.

The key is to strike a balance between security and usability.

If your system is too secure, it will be difficult to use. If it’s not secure enough, it’s at risk of being exploited.

Tips for Getting Started

Not sure where to start with vulnerability assessment and management?

Here are a few tips:

  •       Use automated tools: Automated tools can help to speed up the process of scanning for vulnerabilities and can make it easier to reassess systems regularly.
  •       Be comprehensive: Access all systems, not just servers or workstations. Routers, switches, and firewalls should be included in the scope of assessments.
  •       Prioritize risks: High-risk vulnerabilities should be fixed as soon as possible. But don’t forget about low-risk vulnerabilities; they can often be just as dangerous if left unaddressed.
  •       Keep up with the latest threats: Vulnerabilities are constantly being introduced, so it’s important to keep up with the latest cybersecurity news.
  •       Implement a patch management program: Once vulnerabilities have been found, they need to be patched. Keeping up with patches can be a challenge, but it’s important to make sure systems are up to date.

Minimizing Risks

42% of small businesses suffered a cyber-attack last year. It’s worth noting that only 72% have locked their cybersecurity into place.

The goal is to minimize risks and protect your organization’s data. Vulnerability assessment and management are two important pieces of the puzzle.

Keeping your systems secure is a never-ending battle, but it’s worth fighting. By using automated tools, staying up to date on the latest threats, and implementing a patch management program, you can help to keep your organization safe.

Schedule a Vulnerability Assessment Today

As a leading IT services firm in the Quad City region for the last 25 years, we’re passionate about providing affordable and comprehensive cybersecurity solutions.

Need help with your vulnerability assessment and management programs? Call us at 563-441-1504 or visit our website to download a free cyber security checklist!

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