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Security / Software Development

Vulnerability Management Strategies for the Cloud

A look at techniques such as patch management and remediation strategies that developers and DevSecOps teams can use to manage cloud risks proactively.
Oct 26th, 2022 12:55pm by
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Application security and vulnerability management are more crucial than ever as businesses increasingly rely on cloud-based applications and open source software to speed up their innovation cycles.

Meanwhile, DevOps and DevSecOps teams are confronted with a bigger challenge in meeting their app delivery timeframes without exposing exploitable vulnerabilities. This is due to the complexity and distributed nature of cloud native environments, which continuously face a growing number of cyberthreats. Moreover, it is challenging to keep track of an environment’s services and interdependencies, identify vulnerabilities and evaluate their risks in these ecosystems.

Recent research published in Orca Security’s 2022 State of Public Cloud Security Report indicates that known vulnerabilities (CVEs) are used as initial access attack vectors in 78% of detected attack routes. Why is this significant? Since the vast majority of these CVEs are known and have available fixes, it is quite easy to prevent them from becoming access points for attackers.

To leverage their knowledge of these known CVEs, organizations need a modernized strategy for managing vulnerabilities in their fast-changing and dynamic cloud architectures.

This article will cover best practices for vulnerability management in the cloud, including patch management and remediation strategies that developers and DevSecOps teams can use to manage cloud risks proactively.

What Is Vulnerability Management and Why Is It Important?

Vulnerability management refers to identifying, analyzing and correcting flaws in an organization’s IT systems and infrastructure. In a cloud system, vulnerability management programs serve as frameworks for preserving visibility into and control over the security of the company’s cloud services and applications. This ensures that any security loopholes are fixed efficiently.

The primary goal of vulnerability management is to minimize an organization’s attack surface. This is accomplished through scanning, examining, analyzing and reporting the amount of risk associated with any detected security vulnerabilities, as well as by providing relevant remediation options.

Vulnerability management is critical in the face of today’s cyber threats. For example, as of September, the CVE database has identified 17,346 vulnerabilities that hostile attackers might exploit. This necessitates a proactive approach to vulnerability management, which includes the following steps:

  • Detecting vulnerabilities via scanning for both quantity and type.
  • Assessing the extent to which any identified risk is susceptible to danger.
  • Prioritizing remediation to address the most serious issues first.
  • Confirming remediation by re-scanning and reporting on completed issues.

Cloud Vulnerability Management Best Practices

The key strategies for a successful vulnerability management program include early vulnerability detection and mitigation, software hardening and runtime protection in the production environment. The practical techniques featured below can help businesses develop exceptional cloud vulnerability management best practices.

Unified Cloud Environment Visibility 

The first step toward effective cloud vulnerability management is a thorough discovery and assessment of your cloud account estates. This entails ensuring complete coverage of all cloud assets, including cloud instances and container images. As a result, security teams will have a full inventory of their system, which they can use to detect vulnerabilities within network and endpoint parameters.

Knowing where a vulnerability originates aids in faster remediation, which is a vital step in vulnerability management.

Continuous Vulnerability Scanning

You can ensure that any vulnerabilities are resolved by using continuous, automated scans of your applications before deployment. When it comes to the cloud, where most programs run packaged in containers, image scanning helps to establish a baseline of secure operating systems.

In addition, you can incorporate vulnerability code checks into your CI/CD pipelines using tools like software composition analysis (SCA) and static application security testing (SAST) analyzers.

Integrated Patch Remediation

After vulnerability detection, the most important phase of vulnerability management is remediation. The integration of an automated patch remediation policy can help you promptly resolve issues, minimize the attack surface and safeguard your cloud environment from a range of potential network exploits.

According to a recent cybersecurity survey, 60% of breach victims said that their data was breached because known vulnerability patches were not applied in time. To help with faster patch remediation, organizations can define vulnerability remediation metrics such as the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS) and the mean time to remediate (MTTR).

Extensive Reporting

Tracking and monitoring your vulnerability management can help you with visualizing and contextualizing the threats within your cloud environment. Your vulnerability management strategy should provide a comprehensive set of analytical reports that help you consistently enhance your security posture by fixing any bottlenecks in your cloud deployments.

Stay Ahead of Attackers through Cloud Vulnerability Management

In addition to implementing the cloud vulnerability management strategies that we discussed above, organizations should use unified cloud vulnerability management solutions so that they can offload the process of identifying threats to the solution provider.

These solutions usually come with automated workflows for assessments, remediations and reporting, providing a single-pane, holistic view of the organization’s security posture.

The Orca Security Platform is a trusted cloud vulnerability management solution that will help you stay ahead of hackers. Within minutes, Orca’s agentless platform detects vulnerabilities across your entire cloud estate and prioritizes the riskiest vulnerabilities according to accessibility and potential business impact as well as CVSS scores.

Would you like to find out how many vulnerabilities are in your environment? Take our no-obligation, free risk assessment to find out, or sign up to get assistance from our engineers.

Further Reading

Explore more articles from Orca on managing your cloud security infrastructure and implementing vulnerability management best practices.

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