Updated April 8th, 2020
What does it mean to be a Vulnerability Management Analyst?
The cliche, “You are only as strong as your weakest link,” is particularly true for the field of vulnerability management. Vulnerabilities are the entryways by which threat actors enter and then wreak havoc within an organization.
Cybersecurity is in constant state of flux due to evolving criminal activity and technology. Lack of vulnerability management can cause organizations to fall victim to cybercrime by way of their weak points. Identifying the whereabouts of such weaknesses and restoring a network’s integrity includes network scanning, risk acknowledgment, and remediation actions. All of this activity falls on the shoulders of Vulnerability Management Analysts.
The responsibilities of a Vulnerability Management Analyst include discovering existing vulnerabilities, determining the severity of those vulnerabilities, and developing a plan of remediation. While still prioritizing and identifying a network’s critical flaws, the analysts must also correct the vulnerabilities, thereby decreasing the likelihood that a threat actor can damage an organization’s brand, employees, and customers.
A Day in the Life
The execution and success of vulnerability management hinges on strategy. Its strategic approach revolves around a life cycle of five phases: preparation, discovery, analysis, reporting, and remediation. The reality is, a company’s network infrastructure is constantly evolving, so vulnerabilities can emerge at any time. At the same time, scanning for vulnerabilities is just the beginning. Analysts and specialists of this field are particularly valuable because they go beyond routine scanning; they also weigh in on the facilitation and the pursuit of the smartest business decisions and review a variety of reports to determine a solution. Above all, Vulnerability Management Analysts need to ensure that that they can minimize cyber risks as the company’s network continues to evolve.
As long as companies and enterprises continue to incorporate the convenience of technology into their business model, vulnerabilities will continue to multiply. Unfortunately, many organizations have clung to the practice of conducting vulnerability scans on a quarterly or even annual basis. The danger to this method is that it only captures vulnerabilities in that point in time, leaving emerging vulnerabilities undetected, and the company’s network is susceptible to an attack for an extended period of time.
From a strategic perspective, organizations entertain fewer risks when they practice a healthy cadence of vulnerability management activities. Vulnerability management professionals gain reliability when organizations realize the severity of their network’s vulnerabilities and can look to their analysts to develop a remediation plan for themselves and their colleagues to execute.
Most Valued Skills
One of the most common and important responsibilities of a vulnerability manager is patch management. Patch management is updating software in a formalized way. These patch updates will often fix known security flaws which, if gone unpatched, represent a critical vulnerability that can be exploited by attackers. We mentioned earlier that being process-savvy is an important characteristic of a vulnerability manager. Sticking to the process is especially important in patch updates. Patches must be prioritized and scheduled. This ensures the most critical patches are executed first while avoiding any network outage or downtime that might affect the business.
- Information Security
- Information Systems
- Project Management
Hiring managers will want to see what initiatives you’ve taken to bolster your knowledge and skills. They’ll look into your professional background and your fieldwork within vulnerability management, but they’ll also want to see what certification(s) you’ve earned. Each of the following certifications covers curriculum that includes vulnerability management. Earning one of these certifications provides you with a leg up over other candidates.
The cybersecurity industry is in dire need of Vulnerability Management Analysts. There are over 7,000 job listings in the United States alone that focus on vulnerability management, so the odds are in your favor. Plus, vulnerability management professionals make a generous salary, with a national average reported at $116k/year on ZipRecruiter, some earning as much as $178K per year.
- Vulnerability Analyst
- Vulnerability Assessor
- Vulnerability Management Specialist
Doesn’t Sound Like You?
If vulnerability management doesn’t sound like a good fit for your personality and goals, then be sure to keep following along our with Cybersecurity Roles series or check out other positions here:
- Cybersecurity Architect
- Incident Responder
- Malware Analyst
- Penetration Tester
- Cybersecurity Auditor
- SOC Analyst
- Threat Intel Analyst
- Threat Hunter
- Network Administrator