Navigating the Nuances: A Deep Dive into Vulnerability Managed Service Architectures

As your organization’s IT landscape evolves, relying solely on basic tools and manual processes no longer suffices. Intricate frameworks that orchestrate vulnerability detection, analysis, and remediation make up pieces of what is referred to as vulnerability management. Some standards have been adopted by vulnerability management service providers as they work to safeguard your critical systems and information. 

Unlike traditional firewalls, antivirus or antispyware software, and intrusion detection systems (IDS), vulnerability management tools actively seek out and address potential weaknesses with the aim of preventing future network attacks.

Vulnerability management frameworks

There are several common frameworks and standards that organizations must adhere to when implementing vulnerability management. These frameworks and standards help organizations to ensure the security of their systems and applications and comply with regulatory requirements.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

One of the most commonly used frameworks for vulnerability management is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). The NIST CSF provides a comprehensive framework for managing cybersecurity risk and includes guidelines for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities. Specifically the 

NIST SP 800-40 frames patching as a critical component of preventive maintenance. It sets the framework to identify, prioritize, acquire, install, and verify the installation of patches, updates, and upgrades in an organization1.

ISO 27001

Another frequently used framework is ISO 27001. This is the “world’s best-known standard for information security management systems (ISMS).2

This framework is used to manage information security and includes specific requirements for vulnerability management, such as regular vulnerability assessments, incident response planning, and reporting on the status of vulnerabilities.

Service Organization Control 2

Another important framework is SOC2 (Service Organization Control 2), which is an auditing standard that organizations can use to demonstrate that they have implemented effective security controls, including vulnerability management.

Key aspects in the Vulnerability Management Lifecycle 

Asset Discovery:

Initiate and maintain an up-to-date inventory of all cybersecurity assets in your organization during the initial phase. This encompasses software, hardware, operating systems, and services. Record the current versions and applied patches, and establish a baseline to reference as you identify new vulnerabilities. You will need to periodically review and update the inventory with new asset additions.


Classify cybersecurity assets based on their risk levels and significance to business operations, with prioritization given to your core business needs. Assign business values to each asset class to determine the priority for vulnerability assessment.

Assessing Vulnerabilities:

Next, you will organize assets based on their exposure to specific vulnerabilities, considering factors like classification, criticality, and known vulnerabilities. Use publicly available vulnerability lists and risk rankings to gauge exposure levels.

Remediation and Reporting:

The heart of any VMS architecture lies in its ability to effectively remediate vulnerabilities. This often involves a three-pronged approach:

  1. Patch Management: The platform automates patch deployment based on predefined policies, ensuring timely updates for identified vulnerabilities.
  2. Configuration Management: Secure configurations are pushed to vulnerable devices, mitigating risks arising from misconfigurations.
  3. Vulnerability Mitigation Strategies: For zero-day vulnerabilities or situations where patching isn’t immediate, the architecture recommends alternative mitigation strategies, such as network segmentation or access control restrictions.

Remediation involves activities such as updating software and hardware, applying patches, adjusting security configurations, and identifying and securing vulnerable areas. Specific actions may include deactivating user accounts, providing additional security awareness training, or introducing new technologies.

Evaluation and Verification:

Evaluating and verifying your security strategy is to see ensure the process is successful in reducing or eliminating prioritized threats. Regular scans and assessments will be required to guarantee the policies remain effective. This is key to adapting to evolving cyber threats and upholding a resilient cybersecurity posture.

Integration with other security tools 

No security solution operates in isolation. The VMS architecture should integrate seamlessly with other security tools like SIEM and SOAR platforms. This enables automated incident response workflows, where vulnerability alerts trigger appropriate actions based on defined rules. In addition, integration with ticketing systems ensures smooth communication and collaboration between the VMS provider and your internal IT team.

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