So how can an organization hope to stay safe, given such a wide range of potential attack vectors?
As with many information-security challenges, the solution lies partly with technology, partly with tactics and partly with strategy. Ratifying and enforcing policies that promote routine audits, timely patching, and implementing technologies that aid vulnerability assessment and configuration/patch management are starting points. But at the center of sound tactical vulnerability management are two basic concepts: identification and response. By leveraging tools and processes to identify vulnerabilities, and then responding with plans to manage the associated risks, an organization can reduce its overall exposure.
Organizations that want to address their vulnerability at a strategic level need to move security principles beyond the traditional walls of infosec: Security must play a role in purchasing, design and implementation decisions--a major shift for most companies.
Identify, Then Respond
Before you can fix a vulnerability, you have to find it. This is easier said than done, but the key to narrowing your search is to realize that most technical vulnerabilities exist in one of two areas: design failures or implementation failures.