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What Is Vulnerability Management?

Vulnerability management (VM) is the process of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and remediating security weaknesses in IT systems and applications. It helps organizations prevent cyberattacks, comply with regulations, and reduce operational costs.

With so many vulnerability management tools available on the market, it can be difficult to determine which ones are the best fit for your organization. In this article, we will take a look at the top 10 vulnerability management tools.

The Importance of Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management tools are essential for organizations looking to secure their IT infrastructure against threats. These tools help identify and prioritize vulnerabilities, assess the risk associated with them, and provide remediation guidance.

Many businesses need to provide compliance reporting to regulators, auditors, or customers. Vulnerability management can be part of the solution set that assists in demonstrating certain aspects of compliance.

Considerations for Selecting the Right VM Tools

There is a wide range of VM tools available on the market. Some provide scanning for the IT infrastructure, either through a network scanner or an agent installed on the endpoint. Others may not provide any scanning capability, but aggregate vulnerability data from other scanners to perform analysis (in which case a separate scanner is still necessary). It’s important to select the right one for your business.

Speed of scanning

  • Some VM tools performs fast, near real-time vulnerability scans on important endpoints
  • Other can take significant amount of time to finish scanning your entire environment

Intelligent prioritization

While most common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) have a common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS) score, that alone is often insufficient as the VM teams can still be faced with an overwhelming number of vulnerabilities to address. Meaningful prioritization schemes can help VM teams narrow the list down, while still providing sufficient coverage.

Lightweight agents

Not all agents are created equal. Some agents consume significant system and memory bandwidth on the host system, while others are lightweight and multi-functional. Yet others use a centralized approach without agents, but require maintenance of these separate scanners.

Integrated platform

Some VM tools are standalone. Others are fully integrated, typically into an EPP/EDR or CMDB platform. Then there are ones that are bundled together with other tools, such as EDR tools, but not actually integrated. It’s important to carefully evaluate whether the vendor is offering a tightly integrated platform vs. disparate modules packaged as a bundled solution.

Other considerations

  • Cost and licensing models that give you value for money
  • Availability of professional training on using the tools, especially if you need complex features and dashboards
  • Finding a solution that best fits your business size and needs

CrowdStrike Falcon Spotlight by CrowdStrike

Austin, Texas | 2011 | www.crowdstrike.com

CrowdStrike Falcon Spotlight is part of the larger CrowdStrike Falcon EPP platform. It is a modern, cloud-native VM with no infrastructure to manage, no scanning impact to hosts, and quick, timely results.

Key Features

  • Real-time vulnerability assessment to stay ahead of emergent threats
  • Assess vulnerabilities via a single, lightweight agent, without scanning overhead or any need for additional infrastructure
  • Intuitive dashboards, visualizations, and reporting
  • Fully integrated with CrowdStrike Falcon platform, including world-class threat feeds and embedded information for incident response teams
  • ExPRT.AI  prioritization incorporates the latest threat context to dynamically prioritize the vulnerabilities VM teams can focus on

Frontline VM by Digital Defense (Fortra)

San Antonio, TX | 1999 | www.digitaldefense.com

Digital Defense is part of the Fortra Cybersecurity portfolio, offering vulnerability scanning, web application assessment, pen testing, compliance auditing, and network endpoint correlation.

Key Features

  • AI-driven decision making
  • Lightweight, flexible agent
  • No reboots are required during setup
  • Cloud-native for flexibility, better scaling, and reduced operating costs
  • Wide range of features
  • Offers penetration testing and adversary simulation
  • Can be expensive and complex to use

Kenna.VM by Kenna Security (Cisco)

San Francisco, CA | 2009 | www.kennasecurity.com

A vulnerability management solution that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze threats and prioritize risk across the business.

Key Features

  • Patented machine learning techniques for vulnerability assessments
  • Extensive list of pre-built connectors for use across entire tech stack
  • Powerful risk scoring tool for better prioritization
  • Internal and external data used to assess risk
  • Not as user-friendly as other products
  • Complex query language that requires training

Vulnerability Manager Plus by ManageEngine

Pleasanton, CA | 2002 | www.manageengine.com

A vulnerability management solution from the maker of additional tools across IT management and security, including AD management, Microsoft 365, and low-code development.

Key Features

  • A comprehensive VM solution that scans devices on and off the network
  • Provides deployment policies, antivirus audits, and role-based administration
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Wide array of IT management tools and integrations
  • Poor reporting capabilities compared with competitors

NopSec Platform by NopSec

Brooklyn, NY | 2013 | www.nopsec.com

Correlates data from your IT systems with external vulnerability data to discover, prioritize, remediate, simulate, and measure cybersecurity threats.

Key Features

  • Attack Surface 360 provides a full view of your IT assets to analyze for gaps between assets connected to your environment and those you’re actively managing
  • Celebrity Vulnerability Hunt automatically identifies vulnerabilities and enriches content with zero-day bulletins from NopSec’s Offensive Security team
  • Good integrations with ITSM platforms like Jira and ServiceNow
  • Automated ticket creation, patching, and configuration management
  • Risk Simulator and Attack Emulator to simulate attacks and conduct “what if” analysis
  • Not suitable for large enterprises

InsightVM by Rapid7

Boston, MA | 2000 | www.rapid7.com

InsightVM by Rapid7 is a VM tool that scans vulnerabilities, prioritizes them, and facilitates remediation workflow.

Key Features

  • Risk score prioritization
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to maintain
  • No cloud-native console

Vulnerability Control with Skybox Security

San Jose, CA | 2002 | www.skyboxsecurity.com

Skybox Security aggregates data from network infrastructure, configuration databases, and external scanners to show various perspectives

Key Features

  • Combines network modeling, exposure management, and path analysis to develop accurate risk assessments
  • Integrates with other vulnerability scanners for a comprehensive view across the environment
  • Straightforward deployment and configuration
  • Easy-to-use interface for users and administrators
  • Compatibility across a wide range of operating systems
  • Expensive
  • Slow response times from support team

Nessus by Tenable

Columbia, MD | 2002 | www.tenable.com

A basic on-premises software VM solution from Tenable.

Key Features

  • Low cost
  • Wide range of templates across threat landscape
  • High false positive rates
  • Minimal management capability
  • Extensive configuration required

Tripwire Integrity Management by Tripwire (Fortra)

Portland, OR | 1997 | www.tripwire.com

A VM solution that is part of the Fortra brand. Focused on connecting complementary cybersecurity products to create comprehensive solutions.

Key Features

  • Comprehensive profiling across all devices
  • Intelligent prioritization based on risk scoring
  • Open API integrates with other systems
  • Comprehensive reporting features
  • Can execute custom Command Output Capture Rule (COCR) rules
  • Bugs in UI
  • Stability issues

Qualys VMDR by Qualys

Foster City, CA | 1999 | www.qualys.com

A security-focused software as a service (SaaS) product.

Key Features

  • Key partnerships with public cloud providers
  • Enterprise-grade solution that caters to complex environments
  • Advanced automation and orchestration features (Qualys Flow)
  • Real-time scanning
  • Great management of remote and mobile devices
  • Clear advice on vulnerability remediation
  • Overwhelming feature set for basic users
  • Complex interface requiring more experienced engineers