Enterprise vulnerability management: Processes & tools

Best practices & tools for vulnerability management at enterprise scale

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In today's vast digital landscapes, enterprises face the constant threat of malicious actors ready and able to exploit any minute cracks in their security. Instead of waiting to fall victim to bad actors, enterprises — and smaller companies with long-term growth plans —  should adopt a robust vulnerability management plan that includes best-practice processes and tools. 

Keep reading to discover the critical phases of enterprise vulnerability management processes and the tools that help facilitate and optimize the process.

Vulnerability management at a glance:

Vulnerability Management

Enterprise Vulnerability Management

Open Source Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management is a business-critical requirement in order to meet regulator, employee, partner, and customer expectations regarding business continuity and data loss protection.

Enterprise vulnerability management is a disciplined and scalable set of best practices and processes that facilitate effective management across multiple teams and environments.

Open source vulnerability management focuses on detecting and fixing vulnerabilities in open source libraries and frameworks, including their direct and indirect dependencies.

What is a vulnerability?

A vulnerability refers to a weakness or flaw present in an IT system, software application, or network infrastructure that can be exploited by an attacker to carry out a successful attack. These vulnerabilities can come from various sources, including coding errors, design flaws, configuration mistakes, or even user actions. Attackers actively search for these vulnerabilities and may exploit one or more of them, either individually or in combination, to accomplish their desired objective.

Often, multiple layers of vulnerabilities are exploited to mount an attack, with vulnerabilities in public-facing assets serving as a gateway to vulnerabilities in assets behind the organization’s firewall.

The growing sophistication of common attacks further complicates the vulnerability landscape; approaches such as phishing, malware, and ransomware exploit poor cybersecurity hygiene practices. And as many as 98% of cyberattacks today rely on at least some form of social engineering, which is very difficult to control since even IT professionals can fall victim to these manipulations.

What is vulnerability management?

Vulnerability management is a strategic, ongoing process that minimizes an organization’s exposure to cybersecurity threats. In larger organizations, vulnerability management typically takes place across multiple teams. The security team is responsible for defining a disciplined set of vulnerability management best practices and procedures while continuously identifying and prioritizing vulnerabilities. Operations and development teams are tasked with remediating the surfaced vulnerabilities.

What is enterprise vulnerability management?

Enterprise vulnerability management is the systematic process of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and mitigating vulnerabilities in an organization's digital infrastructure, applications, and systems. It involves a comprehensive approach to proactively detect and address weaknesses in software, hardware, network devices, and configurations that malicious actors could potentially exploit.

The primary goal of enterprise vulnerability management is to reduce the risk of security breaches and protecting sensitive data by staying ahead of potential threats. By implementing effective vulnerability management processes and utilizing specialized tools, organizations can systematically identify vulnerabilities, evaluate their potential impact, and take appropriate actions to mitigate or eliminate them.

Why is enterprise vulnerability management important?

Enterprise vulnerability management is essential for organizations to:

  • Proactively identify and address vulnerabilities

  • Reduce risk

  • Protect sensitive data

  • Comply with regulations 

  • Defend against evolving threats

  • Build stakeholder confidence 

What are enterprise vulnerability management processes? 

Enterprise vulnerability management processes encompass systematic activities to identify, assess, prioritize, and mitigate vulnerabilities within an organization's infrastructure, applications, and systems. These processes typically include the following key components:

  • Vulnerability scanning: Conduct regular scans to identify vulnerabilities across the organization's network, systems, and applications. 

  • Vulnerability assessment: Once vulnerabilities are identified, assess them to determine their severity, impact, and exploitability. 

  • Risk prioritization: Prioritize vulnerabilities based on their criticality and potential impact on the organization's operations.

  • Remediation: Develop strategies and plans to remediate or mitigate identified vulnerabilities. 

  • Reporting and communication: Generate reports on vulnerability assessments, risk prioritization, and remediation progress. These reports provide stakeholders, including management, security teams, and auditors, with visibility into the organization's security posture, enabling informed decision-making and demonstrating compliance with security policies and regulations.

By implementing enterprise vulnerability management processes, enterprises can strengthen their security posture, mitigate risks, and minimize the likelihood and impact of security incidents.

What are enterprise vulnerability management tools?

Here are a few examples of enterprise vulnerability management tools currently available. Enterprises must evaluate their specific requirements, such as scalability, integration capabilities, reporting, and compliance features, and then choose the tool or tools that best fit their needs.

  • SAST (static application security testing): SAST is vulnerability scanning of source code, bytecode, or assembly code. SAST tools offer protection from security issues such as SQL injection or Cross-site scripting. Scan early in your CI pipeline or as an IDE plugin.

  • DAST (dynamic application security testing): Dynamic application security testing is black-box testing that checks your application from the outside. A DAST tool doesn’t require any insights into your application (such as programming language) to test the application. This way, you can improve your application security even when using niche programming languages.

  • SCA (software composition analysis): SCA is a type of security tool for managing open source components. With SCA, development teams can quickly track and analyze open source components brought into a project and all related components, their supporting libraries, and their direct and indirect dependencies. The scanning process generates a software bill of materials (SBOM), providing a complete inventory of a project’s software assets. SCA tools can also detect software licenses, deprecated dependencies, vulnerabilities, and potential exploits.

  • ASPM (application security posture management): ASPM tools bring together data from different application security tools to provide additional visibility and context about the vulnerabilities found in other tools, enabling risk based prioritization and remediation.

  • Security intelligence & vulnerability databases: Vulnerability scanners require knowledge of known vulnerabilities in order to identify and provide prioritization of vulnerabilities in an organization’s environment. There are several well-known public vulnerability databases and standards that vulnerability scanners rely on, including CVE, NVD & CVSS. Third party services like Snyk's Vulnerability Database collate a variety of trusted data sources to provide additional context about vulnerabilities

Enterprise vulnerability management with Snyk

Experience comprehensive and developer-centric enterprise vulnerability management with Snyk’s innovative security solutions for open source libraries, containers, infrastructure as code (IaC), and source code.

Snyk Code

Snyk Open Source

Snyk Container

Snyk IaC

Developer-focused, real-time SAST.

Secure your code as it’s written with AI enhanced static application security testing built by, and for, developers.

Open source risk management made for developers.

Advanced software composition analysis (SCA) backed by industry-leading security and application intelligence.

Container and Kubernetes security that helps developers and DevOps find and fix vulnerabilities throughout the SDLC — before workloads hit production.

Reduces risk by automating IaC security and compliance in development workflows pre-deployment and detecting drifted and missing resources post-deployment.

Ready for complete enterprise vulnerability management and coverage? Learn about Snyk’s SAST, SCA, ASPM, container, and IaC security features and see developer-first security's impact on release velocity by booking a demo with a security expert today!

Enterprise vulnerability management FAQ:

Why do we need vulnerability management?

Vulnerability management is a business-critical requirement in order to meet regulator, employee, partner, and customer expectations regarding business continuity and data loss protection.

What is open-source vulnerability management?

Open-source vulnerability management focuses on the detection and fixing of vulnerabilities in open-source libraries and frameworks, including their direct and indirect dependencies.


Enterprise Application Security

Learn how to protect complex applications from common threats with our guide to enterprise application security. Discover best practices, tools, and successful examples.

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