How to Automate Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management is essential to reducing risk exposure, but it demands precious time and resources. Find out how automating vulnerability management can remove these blockers.

Ashlyn Eperjesi
Sep 5, 2023
 min read
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As threats become increasingly more sophisticated and pervasive, organizations must remain proactive in safeguarding their systems and data. Vulnerability management plays a pivotal role in identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential security weaknesses. However, as the attack surface grows and vulnerabilities multiply, manual vulnerability management processes prove difficult for security practitioners. 

This is where automating vulnerability management is a game-changer. Security automation solutions allow organizations to enhance their cybersecurity posture and boost productivity to address vulnerability effectively.

What is Automated Vulnerability Management?

At its core, automated vulnerability management is the process of using automation technology to continuously identify, assess, and remediate security vulnerabilities across tools – with little to no human intervention. Automating the vulnerability management process helps security practitioners identify vulnerabilities faster, prioritize their remediation, and ensure that potential entry points are promptly sealed. 

In a world where security incidents evolve faster than traditional defenses can keep up, embracing automated vulnerability management isn't just an advantage – it's a necessity.

The Challenge of Traditional Vulnerability Management

Traditional vulnerability management processes are often manual, time-consuming, and resource-intensive. Security teams must identify vulnerabilities, scan systems, assess risk, prioritize remediation, and verify fixes – all manually, step by step. This approach, while necessary, has several limitations:

  • Time Sensitivity: The rapid pace at which new vulnerabilities are discovered demands quick action. Manual processes struggle to keep up, leaving organizations exposed to potential attacks.
  • Human Error: Manually handling a large volume of vulnerabilities increases the likelihood of oversight, misconfiguration, or miscommunication, leading to incomplete or ineffective remediation efforts.
  • Resource Drain: Assigning skilled security personnel to low-level, repetitive tasks diverts their focus from more strategic activities, hindering overall security strategy.
  • Scalability Concerns: As organizations expand their digital footprint, the number of devices, applications, and systems to protect multiplies. This makes it difficult to manage vulnerabilities manually at scale.

Benefits of Automating Vulnerability Management

Automating vulnerability management involves leveraging technology to streamline the entire process, from vulnerability detection to remediation. There are a handful of key benefits associated with implementing automation:

Continuous Scanning: Employ automated tools to scan networks and systems for vulnerabilities on an ongoing basis, ensuring timely reaction.

Automated Patching: Configure systems to automatically apply patches as soon as they are available, reducing the window of vulnerability.

Boost Productivity: The automation of repetitive vulnerability management tasks dramatically improves security performance. In turn, security practitioners have more time to focus on proactive, high-level tasks that require human logic. This reduces mean-time-to-detect (MTTR), average vulnerability age, and improves the patching rate. 

Clear Communication: Automate notifications to relevant security stakeholders, ensuring transparency and swift action throughout the remediation process.

Automating Vulnerability Management Processes

With the right solution, automating vulnerability management is straightforward and immediately effective. Let’s look at where you could start automating, and what the automation process entails. 

Common Vulnerability Management Workflows to Automate

Automating vulnerability management involves streamlining various processes to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and responsiveness to potential security gaps. 

Some common vulnerability management tasks that can be automated include:

  • Pulling lists of assets across tools like Rapid7
  • Fetching agents lists from tools like Tenable
  • Monitoring Attack Surface Management (ASM) tools, like Crowdstrike Falcon Surface
  • Creating vulnerabilities reports across tools, like Wiz
  • Launching vulnerability scans with tools like Qualys

The Workflow Automation Process

Automation should be easily accessible to everyone across security. No-code automation solutions, like Blink, simplify the workflow automation process by leveraging generative-AI and large language models (LLMs). Regardless of what platform you use, the automation process will follow a similar flow:

First, you’ll need to identify the workflow to automate. Look at common, repetitive tasks that could be easily performed by an automation platform. For example, you could automate the daily task of validating that Tenable agents are installed and running on all devices connected to a Google Workspace. 

Next is actually building the automated workflow. With legacy security automation solutions, expect this process to require a degree of coding, and to take up to weeks to execute. With more accessible no-code solutions this step typically takes less than a day.  

For example, you could simply type a descriptive prompt into Blink Copilot and generate the workflow in seconds. Let’s automate the workflow: “Every day at 8:00am, validate Tenable agents are installed and running on all devices connected to Google Workspace”.

the Blink Copilot prompt screen that is ready to automate

A fully functional workflow is generated in seconds. Every day at 8:00am, the workflow is triggered to list all users in the defined Google Workspace, get serial numbers, list Tenable scanners, list Tenable agents for each, compare the lists, and send a Slack message to the security channel. All that is left is to add the tool connections. 

the blink platform workflow editor showing steps to a workflow

Vulnerability management processes change and adapt over time, so you can expect these steps to change as well. With a no-code automation platform, editing workflow steps is as easy as dragging and dropping new actions into the workflow. 

Hyperautomation for Vulnerability Management

Automating vulnerability management is no longer a luxury but a necessity in the modern cybersecurity landscape. When choosing a security automation solution to speed vulnerability management processes, it’s important to consider the platform capabilities. Hyperautomation platforms, like Blink, combine the accessibility of no-code automation with the power of generative AI and LLMs. 

Hyperautomation gives vulnerability management professionals the productivity boost they need to stay head of tasks. By embracing hyperautomation, organizations can significantly reduce the time it takes to detect, assess, and remediate vulnerabilities, thereby strengthening their security posture. Schedule a demo of Blink today and learn more about how you can get the benefit of automating vulnerability management workflows for your organization.

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