In our three part series on what makes an effective vulnerability management program, we have explored how to set up successful processes, as well as how to build highly performing teams.

In this article, we share our insights for selecting the right technologies to support the successful delivery of your program, including scanning tools and vulnerability management platforms.

Scanning tools: Commercial vs Open Source

When selecting the technology for your vulnerability scanning program, you can choose between commercial or open source tools.

Open source scanning tools enable you to perform vulnerability scans on demand, for free. They are often highly reliable and return very few errors. This is because the tools tend to have large communities of contributors who can access the code and fix bugs. However, there is no onus on the community to fix issues in a timely manner.

On the other hand, commercial tools tend to provide their users with high quality support, which is enforced by service level agreements (SLAs), and additional functionality, such as greater reporting capabilities and dashboards. These types of tools also tend to be more intuitive and user friendly.

To help you decide whether to use commercial, open source, or a blend of both, there are a number of factors worth considering, including:

  • Adequate coverage of your estate: Can the tool(s) provide coverage and visibility of all your asset types, such as cloud infrastructure, web apps, APIs, etc.?
  • Expertise and useability: Can your team easily get the most from the tool(s)? For instance, is it user friendly or does it use complex command-line scripting?
  • Integration: Can the tool(s) complement each other? Some tools may be so niche that they don’t integrate with others.
  • Support: What happens when a tool breaks or there are bugs? What levels of support are provided?
  • Cost and budget: Which tools or combinations of tools does your budget allow for?

Vulnerability Management Tools

Vulnerability management tools can help IT security teams improve the delivery of their programs in a number of ways, including analysing data, automating tasks, and much more.

Traditionally, teams utilize a number of different tools and platforms to manage remediation, including spreadsheets, ticketing systems, and email.

A dedicated vulnerability management tool modernizes and consolidates these different functionalities, providing enhanced features that are specific to improving remediation.

We have outlined some of the features to look out for when selecting a tool for vulnerability management.

  • Consolidation: A vulnerability management tool can enable you to integrate your scanning platforms. This provides you with a central hub for managing your vulnerability data, rather than juggling different platforms and interfaces.
  • Analysis: Does the tool generate the right output in enough detail? This could include allowing you to segment your data in ways that are meaningful to you, such as by business unit. A good tool should also allow you to overlay additional analysis, such as your priority assets.
  • Reporting: Tools that generate useful reports save you time and help demystify your data. This could include reports that show how your data trends over time, helping you spot patterns.
  • Intelligence: Some tools enrich your vulnerability data with threat intelligence, such as detecting whether any of your issues have active exploits. This helps your team gain greater context of your issues, so they can prioritize most effectively.
  • Automation: Selecting a tool that can reduce the number of manual tasks within your processes frees up time for mission-critical activities, increases efficiencies, and helps your team meet remediation SLAs.
  • Notifications and alerting: Tools that enable you to set up alerts help keep your team on top of pending tasks, as well as notify you of important intelligence or changes to your estate.

In conclusion

Selecting the right technology for your organization is imperative to the successful delivery of your vulnerability management program.

Ensuring your scanning platforms deliver adequate coverage and appropriate functionality is key to keeping your organization secure and setting your team up for success.

A vulnerability management tool, like Prism Platform, can transform how you manage remediation, providing greater visibility and context of your vulnerabilities, accelerating the time it takes to fix issues, and boosting efficiencies from start to finish.