Five features to consider when evaluating vulnerability management tools

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Enterprise cybersecurity has long since moved away from solely static and purely reactive measures like antivirus agents and perimeter defenses like firewalls. These remain important components of a total cybersecurity program, but alone they aren’t enough to keep your enterprise and cyber assets safe from harm or misuse. These tools don’t provide broad visibility into your environment, nor do they provide a ‘single pane of glass’ to work from.

Vulnerability management tools play a proactive role in cybersecurity, looking for weaknesses that attackers may exploit and giving you the opportunity to remediate vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. 

As with many other categories of cybersecurity solutions, the vulnerability management market is full of options. In this article, we’ll take a look at the five most important components included in a successful vulnerability management tool to help you make the most informed decision when choosing the right solution for your organization.

Cyber asset visibility

Before a vulnerability management tool can identify or prioritize vulnerabilities, it needs to have visibility into the breadth of your organization’s cyber assets. These consist of more than just the devices connected to your network and documents stored in public cloud storage or file servers.

In our 2022 State of Cyber Assets Report, we found that the explosion of cyber assets maintained and used by companies today both significantly outnumbers the companies’ employees and stresses security teams to the limit as a result. The average security team is responsible for over 160,000 cyber assets, including devices, network infrastructure, applications, data, and more. Given that only 0.46% of all US workers are security practitioners, that puts a lot of responsibility and assets to monitor on their plate.

Vulnerabilities may exist in any of these cyber assets, posing risk to the company that may lie hidden if your vulnerability management tool has limited visibility or doesn’t incorporate the relationships between these assets into its findings. This context, which is only possible at scale in solutions using a graph database, is not only a critical component of vulnerability detection, but also to achieve broader business intelligence across your electronic assets.    

Continuous scanning and vulnerability detection

Scanning and detection is the core function of a vulnerability management tool. By continuously scanning your cyber assets and flagging possible vulnerabilities, you can proactively stay ahead of potential threats or attacks on your systems. 

Alongside continuous scans, your vulnerability management tool should also enable you to perform targeted vulnerability assessments, a complementary component of your vulnerability management program. One-off assessments may be necessary to meet compliance requirements or as part of penetration testing exercises conducted either by internal or third-party security experts.  

Remediation suggestions and prioritization

With such a wide range of cyber assets to cover, it’s inevitable that you’ll have vulnerabilities to deal with. These can come from unpatched systems or applications, misconfigurations, missing or inappropriate controls, poor access control, and many other reasons. 

Often, the vulnerabilities can be compound. For example, a file share you believe is safe is actually vulnerable due to a firewall misconfiguration elsewhere in your environment. We show a similar situation in this JupiterOne vulnerability management demo video.

Vulnerabilities aren’t all created equal. Your vulnerability management tool should provide recommendations to remediate the issues it detects and, just as importantly, help you prioritize the most severe or problematic vulnerabilities to take action on. Properly defined prioritization rules mean your software engineers and security team will be focused on the work that matters most rather than chasing down every vulnerability alert that pops up.

Automated remediation

Automation can help make the remediation process even more efficient, bypassing manual intervention altogether. Some automated remediation tasks can include finding and applying patches or pushing operating system updates. Not every vulnerability can be fixed automatically, but the time saved fixing those that can is time that can be spent on other issues that are either too complex or need human eyes and hands to resolve.

Extensive integrations

No vulnerability management tool can accomplish any of the things discussed so far without a rich and extensive set of integrations. This is a simple fact today thanks to the interconnected nature of enterprise technology.

You can only achieve the extensive cyber asset visibility needed to find and correct vulnerabilities with integrations into the largest cloud storage services, code repositories, deployment platforms, and a myriad of other solutions. Alerts need to be generated using communication tools like Slack, while remediation is monitored on software development coordination tools like Jira. And, despite the momentum of cloud solutions, you still can’t neglect integrations with your on-premises assets. 

And, quite simply, tools you might think of as competitors can often complement each other, thanks to specializations and unique approaches to solving similar problems. For vulnerability management, JupiterOne integrates with well-known tools including Qualys, Orca Security, Snyk, and Veracode, just to name a few, enriching the information available inside JupiterOne and making it an even more effective part of your vulnerability management program.

JupiterOne for vulnerability management

Our vulnerability management capabilities were built on the understanding that cyber assets are growing rapidly, stressing security and software engineering teams to the limit. Thanks to the proliferation of cloud computing, attackers have more vulnerabilities and attack surfaces than ever before to exploit, making it more imperative than ever to work as efficiently as possible.

JupiterOne centralizes your security operations thanks to integrations with sources like vulnerability and code scanners, cloud providers, and more. With this centralized view into both the assets and their relationships, thanks to our graph-based technology, you can uncover risks that would have otherwise gone undetected and continuously monitor for new vulnerabilities that will inevitably rise.

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Corey Tomlinson
Corey Tomlinson

Corey is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at JupiterOne. Since 2005, he's combined his interest and experience in technology, including working on the insider threat and digital forensics frontlines, with an array of storytelling and content creation skills.

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