Planning and Deploying an Effective Vulnerability Management Program
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Planning and Deploying an Effective Vulnerability Management Program

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This presentation covers the essential components of a successful Vulnerability Management program that allows you proactively identify risk to protect your network and critical business assets.

This presentation covers the essential components of a successful Vulnerability Management program that allows you proactively identify risk to protect your network and critical business assets.

Key take-aways:

* Integrating the 3 critical factors - people, processes & technology
* Saving time and money via automated tools
* Anticipating and overcoming common Vulnerability Management roadblocks
* Meeting security regulations and compliance requirements with Vulnerability Management

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Planning and Deploying an Effective Vulnerability Management Program Planning and Deploying an Effective Vulnerability Management Program Presentation Transcript

  • Fast Track: Planning & Deploying an Effective Vulnerability Management Program By Jonathan Bitle, Technical Director, Qualys, Inc.
  • Problems affecting implementation
      • There are 3 main categories of importance
      • When planning an effective Vulnerability
      • Management Program:
      • Technology
      • People
      • Process
  • Technology: Solution Design
      • Design is the simple part of a production roll-out
  • Technology: Appliances
      • Plan for the number of scanning Appliances
      • # of active hosts = # of appliances required
        • Frequency of scans alter requirements
      • Network Topology can complicate the design
        • Firewalls / Access Control Devices
        • Low speed bandwidth links
        • Geographic and political boundaries
  • Technology: Gather Basic Information
      • IP addresses for each planned scanning appliance
      • Subnet Mask for each planned network interface
      • Hostname for each appliance
      • DNS information
  • Technology: Utilize The Technology
      • Take advantage of Automation capabilities of the
      • technology to save time for more important tasks
      • such as remediation.
      • Schedule Scans
      • Develop alerts for severe risk issues
      • Automate report generation and distribution
  • People
      • People are the cornerstone of an effective security policy and risk reduction.
  • People: Know Your Target Audience
      • Make a list of key team members and know
      • Their needs. If possible, interview them to
      • Better understand how to streamline information.
      • CISO / CIO
        • Ultimate owner of risk in the environment
        • Signs off on regulatory compliance measures
        • Needs high-level metrics (pass/fail?) to ensure risk reduction
      • Executive Staff
        • Makes resource allocation decisions
        • Needs trend information to understand effectiveness of security program
      • Directors / Managers
        • Oversees system owners and helps prioritize work efforts
        • Needs visibility into system owner performance
      • System Owner
        • Own the systems and responsible for remediation efforts
        • Need detailed technical reports with prioritization
  • People: Know Your System Owners
      • Remediation will require significant resource
      • allocation and time.
      • Important to properly identify system owners
        • Enables Automated host ownership reports
        • By geographical region or business unit
        • Based on Operating System
        • Based on applications
      • Streamline the information provided
        • Provide information to the owner, don’t rely on them to find it
        • Irrelevant information will create push-back
        • A list of 1000 issues will rarely get fixed
        • A list of 10 high risk issues will get done immediately
  • People: Problems Will Occur
      • Expect that problems will occur and develop a
      • strategy to deal with them.
      • Hosts or applications will have interoperability issues with the scans
        • Work with vendors to identify root cause
      • Team members may not meet performance goals
        • Look into prioritization issues
      • Vendors may not have patches to resolve discovered issues
        • Develop ways to mitigate risk (firewalls, port filtering, etc)
      • Evangelize. Evangelize. Evangelize.
      • It is imperative that numerous groups in the organization understand the importance of your vulnerability management program.
        • System Administrators must understand the importance of reducing risk, and how it ultimately effects system uptime
        • Executive buy-in is required for effective risk reduction
      • Provide product demos and training sessions
  • People: Create a list of stated goals
      • Provide an accurate assessment of risk for each host and relative network segments
      • Facilitate a security assessment that leads to best practices with regard to remediation actions
      • Provide system administrators with the tools to optimize and validate remediation efforts
      • Provide a common language and metrics to discuss risk across the organization
      • Provide for prioritization of vulnerabilities and remediation efforts in the environment
      • Provide executive staff with risk metrics and measure adherence to corporate policies
      • Provide a feedback loop for current and future system policy
      • Provide constant monitoring and measurement of risk in the environment for adherence to regulatory compliance initiatives
      • Measure overall effectiveness of the security program
      • Provide automated workflow capabilities that reduce resource requirements
      • Protect the organization from successful exploit of vulnerabilities
  • People: Work Toward a Single Goal
      • The ultimate goal of our Vulnerability Management solution is to measure, manage and reduce risk in our environment.
      • Always work towards this main goal.
  • Process: Define Your Security Policy
      • Recognize that your security policy should fit the needs and goals of YOUR organization, and as such every there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are commonalities and guidelines that will help you define an effective policy.
  • Process: Heterogeneous Environment
      • Most environments are highly heterogeneous
      • creating numerous challenges.
      • Rarely a clear understanding of the types of hosts for each network segment
      • Multitude of host and application owners
      • Asset management systems are rarely kept up to date
  • Process: Define “In / Out of Scope”
      • What are the total networks in use?
        • Is network information stored in an asset management system?
        • Utilize automated discovery process of the tool
      • Which networks should be excluded?
        • Networks that should never be scanned, given the ramification of an application interaction issue. (ie process control systems like SCADA devices)
        • Networks that have serious bandwidth constraints (defer these to a different phase?)
        • Small subnets that do not contain hosts (ie router to router subnets – exclude all /29 and up?)
        • Systems that are known to have application interaction issues that can not be resolved
        • Systems that are obstructed by Access Control devices
  • Process: Classify Your Assets
      • We can get mired down in classification schemes,
      • However it is more important to have some form of
      • classification no matter how simple.
      • Start with a simple classification system and adjust as necessary:
      • Critical Assets
        • Mission / business critical
        • Related to regulatory compliance
        • * PCI
        • * Sarbanes Oxley
        • * HIPAA
        • * NERC / FERC
      • High
        • General server category
      • Medium
        • Workstations & Laptops
      • Low
        • Printers, etc
  • Process: Prioritization
      • You can’t fix everything so prioritization is key.
      • Critical (48 hours to resolve)
        • High & Critical vulnerability on critical asset
      • High (one week to resolve)
        • Medium vulnerability on critical asset
        • High vulnerability on High asset
      • Medium (one month to resolve)
        • Low vulnerability on critical asset
        • Medium vulnerability on High asset
        • High vulnerability on Low asset
      • Low (6 months to resolve)
        • Medium vulnerability on Low Asset
  • Process: Oversight & Accountability
      • Some organizations will have a mandate, possibly
      • driven by external regulatory measures. However,
      • many organizations do not start off in this way.
      • Bonus tied to remediation
        • Most effective way to ensure compliance to security policy
      • Remediation Managers
        • Provide oversight of risk reduction process
      • “ Wall of Shame”
        • Peer pressure can be effective!
  • Process: Deployment Phases
      • Recommend phasing in scans to determine application interaction issues
      • Phased approach not necessary for all networks, but recommended for critical infrastructure
      • Perform Initial testing of critical infrastructure in change windows
  • Summary
      • Technology is the simple part of your Vulnerability Management solution
        • Utilize Automation wherever possible
      • People are key to getting the job done, use them wisely and build a good working relationship.
        • Know the key players, their roles and responsibilities
        • Don’t overwhelm people with data
        • Get buy-in from multiple groups in your organization, especially the executive staff
      • Process is necessary to an effective solution - keep it simple to understand and follow
        • Classify your assets; always work on the most important assets first
        • Prioritize remediation; always work on the most critical issues first
        • Create and use Service Level Agreements
        • Monitor progress and make policy adjustments as necessary