An Essential Synergy: Security Monitoring and Vulnerability Management

When choosing security partners, it is important to find the right technology and service delivery fit for your organization. Not all vendors or technologies are the same, and some will mesh better with your company objectives and operations. But it’s even more difficult to ensure that the different technologies and services you engage with also work well with each other. In this blog, we examine the benefits of technology synergies, in particular between security monitoring and vulnerability management.

Many security solutions are designed to address specific security needs – such as firewalls and anti-virus. Security partners, too, may specialize in a particular technology such as endpoint or email protection. But finding that your essential security controls don’t work well together or share data can render your careful partner selection process moot – and you’ll have to manage the difference with your own time.

One way to avoid this mismatch among technologies and services is to partner with one vendor who offers multiple services. Then, it is the responsibility of that partner to integrate the technologies. Or if they don’t, or if one of those technologies starts to fall behind competitors – the partner will go through the due diligence of upgrading and migrating on your behalf. It’s the best of both worlds.

This tight technology integration is particularly important when it comes to security monitoring and vulnerability management.

The Roles
Security monitoring generally refers to the process of analyzing a variety of logs or network devices (servers, switches, firewalls, etc.) for potential security incidents, most often using a security incident and event management (SIEM) system to aggregate, consolidate, and normalize that data. Within this system, suspicious activity is identified and raised for human review to determine if it represents a threat to the business.

Vulnerability management is the process of finding, collating, and reporting on security vulnerabilities in assets and the software that runs on them. It requires scanning technology to detect these vulnerabilities from an external and/or internal perspective as well as ongoing fixes to the critical exposures.

Better Together
A synergy between these two distinct security functions is important for addressing and reducing risk within an enterprise. Understanding the existing vulnerabilities presents more insight into the potential targets for attackers (vulnerability management). Visibility and vigilance are needed to assess whether a bad actor is attempting to execute threats against those targets (security monitoring).

Furthermore, vulnerability management solutions must engage in active scanning to identify and catalog issues. This scanning could (and should) trigger detections within a security monitoring system. It is also essential that security monitoring doesn’t generate false positive alerts when looking at the vulnerability data.

A Fail-Safe
Understanding how the two functions work together to stop breaches allows your organization to make more informed decisions when choosing its security partners. Of course, there are benefits to having both security monitoring and vulnerability management handled by the same partner:

  • Access to both solutions enables the partner to easily cross-reference and cross-correlate the security data.
  • An opportunity to enrich the value each service provides. For example, having more information immediately at hand about an environment’s vulnerabilities can greatly inform analysts that are monitoring the environment.
  • The ability to be proactive. There may be cases where vulnerabilities have been detected on an asset, for example, but that asset may not be under the visibility of the SIEM. This knowledge can be the difference between a quick patch and an undetected breach.

Even in scenarios where the systems technically cannot collaborate, such as if the two services are operated by different security partners, human analysts can provide the critical connection between the two. By utilizing the most pertinent information available, analysts can zero in on critical threats to achieve the best outcome for your organization – and ultimately, the best return on your security investment.

SilverSky offers a comprehensive set of security services backed by an integrated stack of leading enterprise-grade technologies. Check out our security monitoring and vulnerability management for more information.