A solid endpoint IT security solution is a priority for any business that depends on their IT assets for delivering a product or service - in other words, the majority of organisations today. But locking down the security of your business’s IT environment is no small feat. It requires a thorough understanding of your environment, the threats and vulnerabilities it faces, how best to mitigate these threats, and how to make sure your strategy is getting the results you need.
The first step in identifying potential vulnerabilities is to compile a list of vulnerabilities with respect to the software and services you use. You can achieve this with a hacker’s-eye-view on a VA scanner, or through the System Owner’s view on an agent or inventory control tool. Be as thorough as possible here, and make sure to save a copy of your findings in a centralised location that all relevant stakeholders have access to.
Once you’ve identified the vulnerabilities in your environment, the next step is to determine how exposed your system is, based on the available exploits and your estimated proximity to attack. How likely is it that this exploit will be successfully used against you? If this vulnerability is compromised, will it cause other vulnerabilities to be exposed? Consider using a scale that helps you determine the seriousness of threats relative to one another – this will help you develop a strategy for dealing with these in a methodical and logical way.
Next, you need to account for how the patch or fix will impact production and delivery in your organisation. How long will it take to implement? What resources will you need to provision? Will it require you to rewrite custom code? It’s also vital to make sure that the solution you’ve identified is the best option to choose from: are you sure it will patch the vulnerability? Is it worth the risk involved, or should you consider a plan B?
Consider which systems should be given critical resources based on how valuable they are to the organisation, the likelihood of them being the target of a successful attack, and their ability to act as a starting point for further exploits. The easiest way to do this is to refer back to the scale we spoke about in the Evaluation step - if you’re thorough enough, this step shouldn’t require too much extra planning.
Now it’s time to implement your solution. This might involve installing patches if the vulnerability is a result of outdated software, changing procedures in the case of risky practices, or removing a malicious object in the case of malware, trojans or virus infections. Make sure that relevant systems are backed up in case of an unforeseen problem to ensure you don’t lose valuable business data along the way.
Lastly, you need to verify that your solution has successfully mitigated the vulnerability in question. Depending on the nature of the vulnerability, this might entail a rescan, an audit, or even a full-on penetration test. For the best possible results, it’s advisable to keep the verification process separate to your vulnerability management process to act as a quality assurance method for your vulnerability management process in general.
Discovering, assessing and dealing with vulnerabilities in your endpoint IT security is easier when you partner with an MSP who understands your security concerns and how best to deal with them. To find out more about how PowerNet’s managed endpoint security services can help you mitigate vulnerability and risk in your business, take our free IT health check today.