Netskope named a Leader in the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge. Get the report

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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Adding Threat to Vulnerability Management

Nov 01 2022

Vulnerability management can be more than just running scans and sorting by Common Vulnerability Scoring System scores! Take your program to the next level by adding a threat-based approach to vulnerability management by combining the hacker mindset with cyber threat intelligence. With so many vulnerabilities published daily, having a team knowledgeable with the latest threats can help IT teams quickly identify assets that require expedited remediation. 

What is Threat and Vulnerability Management?

Threat and Vulnerability Management is a proactive approach to applying risk and prioritization to vulnerabilities based on the threats to the organization. A threat-based approach involves having to prioritize assets for immediate remediation and/or mitigation, determining the risk to the organization base. This approach combines skill sets from multiple areas of cybersecurity and creates a program that is a value-add to the organization as a whole and creates synergy between teams. These skill sets include:

  • Cyber threat intelligence
  • Ethical Hacking and Red Team testing
  • Incident response

Roles Threat and Vulnerability Management plays in a cyber organization

Vulnerability Management 

Threat and vulnerability management’s core role is in vulnerability management. Why is there a need? Not all assets are created, managed and patched equally. Some vulnerabilities may require immediate attention that is shorter than the established SLAs for an organization. Key items for threat in vulnerability management:

  • Mapping the internal and external attack surface.
  • Understanding the environment and technology stack.
  • Utilizing threat intelligence to drive prioritization and determine risk.

Threat teams can build a prioritization model for their organization’s assets after reviewing the organization as a whole and determine areas that are at risk for exploitation. Vulnerability analytics from a tools perspective can help and build on this but organizations must really gauge if their programs are mature enough to fully utilize vulnerability analytics based on the key items listed above. This means focusing on building the people to create the process and apply it to the technology

Experts on Threat

Threat teams must also understand the latest in tactics, techniques, and procedures utilized by threat actors targeting their organization. This is where combining the hacker mindset with threat intelligence is important to building a threat program. Team’s should have a finger on the pulse of cyber news and latest in exploitation. Therefore, it is key that threat teams learn, understand, and utilize the same tools used by threat actors. Often this means working with red team members on testing the security stacks against the latest threats and identifying gaps which could result in custom rules for detection and/or blocking. 

This role in the organization can provide value to teams such as the security operations center (SOC)/incident response (IR). Threat team members, through their vulnerability management role and engagement with IT teams, should be familiar with the environment. This knowledge can be utilized to host threat hunts, purple team events, and tabletop exercises giving teams the practice that is needed built around their organizations attack surface.

Summary

A threat and vulnerability management program combining different skill sets from various other cyber teams can lead to an effective team that can be the center of your cyber security program. From offering a better understanding of threats to prioritizing assets for remediation, threat teams can bring value to your organization in many more ways. Be sure to check out a more detailed blog on Cyber Threat Intelligence within a Threat and Vulnerability Management program here.

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John Khotsyphom
John Khotsyphom is the Manager of Threat and Vulnerability Management at Netskope.

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