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What is Vulnerability Remediation? 

Vulnerability remediation is the act of removing a vulnerability through patching or another process.  

What is the Difference Between Vulnerability Remediation and Mitigation? 

Mitigation is developing a strategy to minimize a threat’s impact if remediation is not possible, while vulnerability remediation is the eradication of a vulnerability. Most organizations’ vulnerability management strategy will involve both remediation and mitigation, as it is nearly impossible to remediate every possible vulnerability. Both are key components of hardening the security posture. 

Vulnerability Remediation and the Vulnerability Management Lifecycle 

 The vulnerability management lifecycle has five stages which all happen concurrently. Those five stages are: 

  1. Vulnerability assessment 
  2. Vulnerability prioritization 
  3. Vulnerability remediation 
  4. Verification and monitoring 
  5. Reporting and improvement 

For effective vulnerability remediation to occur, the other four stages of the lifecycle must also occur, which is where organizations often encounter challenges, especially if they are under–resourced. 

Vulnerability Remediation Best Practices 

Because vulnerability remediation is best managed by incorporating it into a successful and efficient vulnerability management program, it’s important to look at what a successful vulnerability management program looks like. The key components of a good vulnerability management program include: 

  1. Attack surface coverage: Identify assets in your environment and define your entire attack surface to understand where your risk lies.
  2. Contextualization of your attack surface: Understand your risk policies, asset criticalities, and SLOs (service level objectives) to prepare your environment against cyber risk and be able to judge which vulnerabilities present the most risk.
  3. Prioritization of risk: Assess the risk priorities in your environment according to information that is gathered from the contextualization of your environment and make those the first to be remediated.
  4. Hardening of your environment: Continuously evaluate and track internal security metrics as you work through the vulnerability remediation process.
  5. Employee education: A good security awareness program prepares your employees to recognize and neutralize social engineering attacks and human error that are often combined with vulnerability exploits during an incident.
  6. Creation of an incident response plan: Security is best when it combines proactive and reactive elements. While vulnerability remediation is a strong, proactive, risk-reducing measure, having an incident response plan will help your organization if a software exploit, or other attack, occurs.

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