How Vulnerability Management Fits Into a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Framework


The NIST cybersecurity framework provides comprehensive resources to guide organizations in building a robust cybersecurity program. Each of the functions and categories includes a vulnerability management component.

Vulnerability identification, assessment, and prioritization are key to reducing your risk. Enrich your vulnerability assessment process with business, threat, and risk context for advanced decision-making.


Identifying software vulnerabilities is a critical first step in establishing a robust vulnerability management program. It ensures that every possible security gap is identified and analyzed, helping to reduce the attack surface. Malicious actors often target machines that are out-of-date or running vulnerable software, and a single vulnerability can become the gateway into your network.

Using vulnerability assessment tools, your team can discover all vulnerabilities across your IT environment and use the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to rank them by severity and understand their characteristics. Identifying your most important assets will help you create a risk-based remediation plan. It will help prioritize the highest-risk threats and address them on time. It will protect your organization against ransomware, zero-day attacks, and other sophisticated threats.


Vulnerabilities are discovered at an alarming rate. Even with regular vulnerability assessments, there are too many to address on time. Use a vulnerability management framework with context-aware prioritization to ensure that the organization’s security efforts are concentrated on the problems that matter most.

This process identifies, classifies, prioritizes, and remediates software vulnerabilities. It ensures an ongoing identification of vulnerabilities, reducing the time attackers have to exploit systems and compromise data.

A risk-based vulnerability prioritization process also considers the impact of a vulnerability on business objectives, compliance requirements, and other assets. For example, a high-severity vulnerability in a revenue-generating product should be addressed immediately to minimize exposure to attackers. Evaluating the complexity, timeline, and resources needed to remedy a vulnerability is also important.


As an MSP, you can help your clients break down vulnerability management into manageable, repeatable cycles. The first step is to identify and secure stakeholder buy-in for the strategy and plan you’ll use to scan and assess their IT environments.

Once you’ve collected data about your customers’ IT environments, you can evaluate it to determine a prioritized list of vulnerabilities for remediation efforts. Prioritization is based on the business impact of each vulnerability, leveraging CVSS scores and other risk factors to inform the evaluation process.

A proactive approach to vulnerability management helps agencies mitigate critical risks and prevent costly breaches that can harm their reputations, revenue, and customer trust.


Vulnerability management efforts should be continuous, including assessing and monitoring existing vulnerabilities and remediating the most serious. Teams need to be able to prioritize what needs to be done to prevent the most common cyberattacks and meet compliance and regulatory requirements, such as those for financial institutions or healthcare organizations.

Often, it is only possible to simultaneously address some vulnerabilities in an organization’s environment, especially if it has a limited budget. A security program advisor can help to develop a comprehensive framework that combines elements of multiple approaches.

The NIST cybersecurity framework outlines best practices for a holistic cyber program, and it can be applied to vulnerability management. Its core elements of identity, protection, detection, response, and recovery are useful for guiding the identification, prioritization, and remediation processes.


Modern enterprises rely heavily on applications and browsers to conduct core business operations. It often results in vulnerabilities that bad actors can exploit.

Organizations must take a systematic approach to vulnerability management to minimize the risk of those exploits. The first process involves identifying the assets in your environment. This discovery should be done regularly and include network and agent-based system scans.

Once the discovery process is complete, you must assess all discovered vulnerabilities. It will include determining the severity and criticality of each asset. It will also involve creating objective prioritization rubrics that factor in things like CVE ratings and exploit code availability.

Once the assessment and prioritization processes are complete, the next step is to remediate. It can be done through patching or reconfiguration.

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