In principle, a vulnerability management program is a no-brainer. Find what's broken and fix it before cyber criminals find what's broken.
In practice, however, it's not that simple. One of the biggest challenges is the sheer number of vulnerabilities—far too many to manage manually. That's why many parts of the process have to be automated, and why third-party sources of data about vulnerabilities are necessary to help prioritize vulnerabilities based on their actual risk to the organization.
Solutions that specialize in vulnerability management help enormously. A vulnerability scanner examines ports, software configurations and other factors that could point to malware infections. They can also find vulnerabilities with public sources or fuzz testing.
Another challenge is prioritizing vulnerabilities to be addressed first. In fact, the majority of vulnerabilities don't represent an urgent risk. It's important to identify the most threatening issues and fix them fast before they get exploited by malicious actors. A bonus to prioritized vulnerability management is that it affords fewer network disruptions.
When high-risk vulnerabilities are found, they can be fixed with patching, reconfiguration or even changes in security policy.
Here's one approach to a mature vulnerability management program: