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Vulnerability management in cybersecurity is a critical, proactive process focused on identifying, assessing, and mitigating security weaknesses in an organization’s digital infrastructure. Its goal is to reduce the potential attack surface and minimize the risk of exploitation by cyber threats.

The process begins with vulnerability identification, typically through automated scanning tools and manual assessments. These tools analyze systems, applications, and networks to detect known vulnerabilities, such as outdated software, misconfigurations, and security patches that have not been applied.

Once identified, vulnerabilities are evaluated based on their severity, potential impact, and exploitability. This assessment helps prioritize remediation efforts, ensuring that the most critical vulnerabilities are addressed first. The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is often used to standardize this evaluation, providing a numerical score that reflects the severity of each vulnerability.

Remediation involves applying patches, updating software, reconfiguring systems, or implementing additional security controls to eliminate or mitigate the identified vulnerabilities. In cases where immediate remediation is not possible, compensating controls or temporary workarounds may be implemented to reduce risk until a permanent fix can be applied.

Effective vulnerability management also includes ongoing monitoring and regular re-assessment to ensure that new vulnerabilities are quickly identified and addressed. This continuous cycle is essential as new vulnerabilities are discovered and cyber threats evolve.

A robust vulnerability management program requires collaboration across various teams, including IT, security, and development. Clear communication and coordination ensure that vulnerabilities are promptly and effectively mitigated without disrupting business operations. Additionally, it involves maintaining up-to-date asset inventories, as well as staying informed about emerging threats and vulnerabilities through threat intelligence sources.

Vulnerability management is a cornerstone of cybersecurity, emphasizing the importance of continuous vigilance, timely remediation, and proactive risk management to protect an organization’s digital assets from potential exploitation.