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What is Vulnerability Management Compliance?

Vulnerability management compliance is an all-inclusive IT security approach to minimize the risk of breaches and poor compliance with regulatory requirements and guidelines. The implementation of vulnerability compliance involves conducting regular vulnerability monitoring and assessments to identify potential threats, as well as implementing appropriate measures that address relevant regulations and security standards.

What is the difference between vulnerability management and security compliance?

Vulnerability management is the process of identifying and remediating vulnerabilities, while security compliance is the process of demonstrating adherence to established security standards. A vulnerability management program may be one of the compliance requirements an organization needs to meet, among other security precautions.

The current state of the cybersecurity landscape, with increasing attack surfaces, highlights the importance of integrating vulnerability management and compliance to achieve a more comprehensive approach to risk management.

Benefits of vulnerability management compliance

Vulnerability management compliance helps to increase the effectiveness of the security controls in place, mitigate risks and ultimately improve the overall cyber posture of organizations.

By addressing vulnerabilities, organizations can prevent security incidents and data breaches. According to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, companies in the U.S. lost an average of $9.44 million in data breaches in 2022. Compliance failure adds to these costs, as organizations might face regulatory fines and penalties.

Effective vulnerability management is therefore central to meeting compliance requirements. Many industry standards and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), mandate regular vulnerability assessments and risk mitigation. A robust vulnerability management program helps organizations stay compliant, avoid fines and demonstrate their commitment to data protection.

In addition, compliance-oriented vulnerability management practices increase stakeholder confidence in the organization’s security safeguards. By adhering to regulatory compliance guidelines, organizations can build trust with their customers, employees and partners, giving them confidence that their sensitive data is handled securely and per best practices.

Vulnerability and compliance management challenges

Here are the top challenges of vulnerability management compliance:

  • Keeping up with the evolving threat landscape: With new vulnerabilities and attack vectors emerging regularly, staying abreast of the latest threats requires continuous monitoring of security advisories, vendor updates and industry reports. 
  • Timely patching and remediation: Organizations often struggle with the complexity of patch management, particularly in large and diverse environments. The challenge lies in coordinating patch deployment across various systems, applications, and devices while minimizing disruptions to critical operations. Ensuring that patches are thoroughly tested and deployed promptly adds another layer of complexity.
  • Accurate inventory of assets: Organizations must have visibility into their software, hardware and data to identify and track vulnerabilities. In dynamic environments, where new assets are frequently added or removed, accurately tracking and managing the inventory can be challenging.
  • Prioritizing vulnerabilities based on business impact: Not all vulnerabilities have the same level of risk or impact. Vulnerability management requires the ability to prioritize vulnerabilities based on their severity, potential impact on the organization and the likelihood of exploitation. 
  • Integrating your security tools. Vulnerability management must be integrated with other security programs, such as incident response, threat intelligence and risk management.

For an in-depth look at how to prioritize vulnerabilities, read our blog post.

Key steps to vulnerability management compliance

Organizations should implement a vulnerability management process that includes the following steps:

  1. Inventory of assets: Create an inventory of all the assets in your network, such as physical devices, virtual machines, software applications and data.
  2. Vulnerability scanning: Conduct regular vulnerability scans on your systems using reliable tools to identify potential security weaknesses in your network.
  3. Risk assessment: Once vulnerabilities are identified, assess the associated risk considering the potential impact of the vulnerability being exploited and the business importance of affected systems.
  4. Prioritize vulnerabilities: Rank the vulnerabilities based on their risk level. Organizations should address high-risk vulnerabilities first.
  5. Remediation: Develop and implement a plan to address the vulnerabilities. As a best practice, automate remediation workflows and integrate them with ITSM tools where possible.
  6. Verification: After remediation, verify that the vulnerabilities have been properly addressed.
  7. Document: Maintain clear and comprehensive documentation of your vulnerability management process to demonstrate compliance with regulations.
  8. Regular review: Regularly review and update your vulnerability management process to address new vulnerabilities and comply with evolving regulations.

How to comply with vulnerability management requirements

An effective vulnerability compliance program contains these four components to help organizations better manage their security posture:

  1. Regulatory and standards assessment: Evaluate the identified vulnerabilities against relevant regulations, industry standards and organizational policies to determine compliance requirements. 
  2. Compliance gap analysis: Identify any gaps between the current security posture and the required compliance standards. Solutions such as Brinqa can help you execute a compliance gap analysis by mapping relevant assets, their dependencies and ownership to assess whether the organization meets the necessary controls, processes and documentation.
  3. Remediation planning: Develop a plan to address gaps and implement the necessary controls and measures to achieve compliance.
  4. Compliance validation: Validate and verify the effectiveness of the implemented controls and processes to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and standards.

How can Brinqa help with vulnerability management and compliance

Brinqa Attack Surface Intelligence platform simplifies compliance for vulnerability management by automating control monitoring, measuring key metrics and providing audibility and visibility through executive dashboards and reports. The platform includes the following capabilities:

  • Asset inventory: Automatically discover and maintain an up-to-date inventory of all your assets, including devices, applications, data sources and users.
  • Risk prioritization: Unify data from various sources, such as vulnerability scanners and threat intelligence feeds, to assess and score the risk level of each asset. You can also customize your own risk models and criteria to align with your business objectives and risk appetite.
  • Automated remediation: Integrate with various tools and workflows, such as ticketing systems, patch management solutions and orchestration platforms, to automate the remediation of high-risk vulnerabilities. 
  • Posture management: Continuously monitor and measure your cyber risk posture and gain actionable insights and recommendations to improve it. You can also track and report your risk performance and compliance status with various standards and regulations.

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