5 Vulnerability Management Best Practices for Protection against Ransomware

You would go for an annual health screening to get a clean bill of health—so why not do the same for your organization’s software and infrastructure?

Cyberattacks on businesses are rapidly increasing. Ransomware attacks on all industries increased by 148% in 2020, spurred by the pandemic1. In fact, a world record was set this year for the largest ransomware payout at $40 million, made by an insurance company2. Cybercriminals are attacking businesses by exploiting vulnerabilities in an organization’s software, endpoints, and other systems before companies have a chance to patch them.

That’s why it’s critical to have an effective vulnerability management strategy in place.

A programmatic management strategy will scan and assess your systems, providing your organization with insights into its overall vulnerability. An in-depth analysis informs you of which vulnerabilities are most critical, so you can triage and remediate the most urgent ones.

To reduce the risk of your organization being targeted for loopholes in your cybersecurity,
employ these five best practices for vulnerability management:

    1. Run Scheduled Discovery Scans 

Your IT department may sometimes be overwhelmed by the large volume of day-to-day tasks that vulnerability management may be the last thing on their mind. However, what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done, so scheduling discovery scans is vital to maintain company cybersecurity. 

 Scheduled discovery scans are also essential to ensure that any new devices that enter your company’s network after the first discovery scan are covered. 

    2. Enforce Automated Patch Management for Windows Endpoints

It’s vital to ensure patching is done automatically for Windows endpoints as soon as a new patch is released, leaving no room for ransomware to attack. However, it’s a challenge for companies to identify which patches are more critical, especially in highly distributed environments with many endpoints to manage. 

 In this case, automated patch management could be a solution. It’s an effective way for larger companies to scan through hundreds and thousands of endpoints for missing patches. 

 A reasonable solutions provider will help you organize this information and identify which patches are most important, so you can prioritize the ones that should come first. 

   3. Increase Scanning Frequencies 

Monthly or quarterly scans simply aren’t enough. Ransomware is constantly evolving and is becoming more efficient at finding vulnerabilities in your network. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) recommends a weekly interval between scans3

 However, running a vulnerability scan can be tedious, especially with different scanning configurations across your assets, networks, and endpoints. You can make the scanning process more efficient with a solutions provider that offers the ability to detect critical vulnerabilities quickly, giving your IT department time to prioritize remediation efforts. 

   4. Identify and Remediate Vulnerabilities Promptly 

It’s virtually impossible to run scans and not find any vulnerabilities. However, the good news is that not all vulnerabilities are critical. Since your IT resources are limited, the most efficient way is to patch vulnerabilities in order of priority—critical ones first and minor ones later. 

 Still, it can be difficult for the IT department to determine which vulnerabilities are critical and which aren’t, slowing down patching and remediation. And when it comes to essential vulnerabilities, time is of the essence; you don’t want cyber attackers to get in without you knowing. In cases such as these, expert analysis is vital. Having the right knowledge and guidance can help your IT department understand which aspects should be prioritized and expedite security processes. 

 A good “get there first” solution will help you prioritize vulnerabilities for remediation or mitigation, so you can patch the most critical vulnerabilities first and worry about the less essential patches later.  

   5. Use the Right Vulnerability Management Tools 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all vulnerability management tool, and you shouldn’t trust any provider that tries to sell you this idea. At its most basic, vulnerability scanning tools will scan your IT infrastructure—networks, software, servers, endpoints, and such—to identify and report on any vulnerabilities. However, most low-end vulnerability scanning tools don’t always provide accurate results. 

 The right vulnerability management tool for your organization should be user-friendly and accessible to all staff members participating in cybersecurity maintenance. It should also have superior technology that offers an overview of the organization’s cybersecurity while combining this information with the right expertise to offer proper guidance and advice.  

A superior vulnerability management tool combined with expert analysis offers the best protection for your organization, allowing you to stay ahead of any cyberattack efficiently. 

1Ransomware attacks see 148% surge amid COVID-19 pandemic; TechTarget
2One of the biggest US insurance companies reportedly paid hackers $40 million ransom after a cyberattack; Business Insider
3The CIS Critical Security Controls Explained - Control 3: Continuous Vulnerability Management; Rapid7

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As a new kind of MSSP, Digital Hands is how organizations are getting ahead of the bad guys in a world where compliance alone is no guarantee of protection. Too many companies invest in cybersecurity solutions, follow the recommendations, achieve compliance … and then still get breached. You’ve got to get to your exposures before the bad guys do.

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