Many organisations are currently in the process of updating their security measures to better protect against cyber threats. One way to do this is through a vulnerability assessment, which is an important step in the organisation’s risk management strategy.
If you don’t know about the probability of being infected by one of these vulnerabilities, analysis conducted by IBM Security shows vulnerability scanning and the exploitation of lapses as the most prevalent attack vector in 2020 (35% of attacks), surpassing phishing attacks. Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities on the net. It is your duty as a manager to keep your company’s information safe by staying vigilant.
Begin this process by performing a vulnerability assessment. This article will discuss vulnerability assessments, why it’s necessary, and how it can provide a more comprehensive view of your organisation’s security posture.
What is a Vulnerability Assessment?
A vulnerability assessment is a security analysis that assesses the susceptibility of an information system to vulnerabilities. It determines whether the system can be affected by one, or more, known vulnerabilities and how much of a threat those vulnerabilities pose. The more vulnerabilities that are found and assessed, the higher the risk of the system.
Scanning systems with security scanners perform vulnerability assessments. These scanners will look for software and hardware vulnerabilities in a system – a vulnerability assessment can be done manually or automatically. Automated scans are often called ‘continuous monitoring’ or ‘continuous scanning’; these scans are performed without any human interaction and usually occur regularly – such as daily, weekly, or monthly.
Manual vulnerability assessment is a one-time scan of the system. There are various methods of manual scanning, such as using a checklist or the following documentation. During the assessment process, a manual scan will consider the vulnerabilities of other systems in the organisation and determine whether they are vulnerable to a particular vulnerability found on the subject system.
Why is a Vulnerability Assessment Necessary?
Vulnerability assessments help an organisation develop action plans for resolving vulnerabilities and avoiding exploitation.
Most enterprises struggle with assessing their security status and the measures they need to take to protect themselves. A vulnerability assessment is an important part of this process, particularly if you are looking for a way to assess your company’s risk-management strategy. Because of the wide variety of vulnerabilities and threats that can affect an organisation, performing regular vulnerability assessments is critical to watch your company’s overall security measures.
A vulnerability assessment will identify:
- Unidentified vulnerabilities or holes in the security system.
- Vulnerabilities that have already been identified but are still active.
- The level of risk associated with those known vulnerabilities and threats.
- New vulnerabilities and new threats that may be affecting the system.
- New weaknesses in your current security measures and how to resolve them. You also want to keep track of any new threats that you don’t know about, discovered during a vulnerability assessment, and assessed for their impact on the security system and government regulations.
After the vulnerability assessment results have been analysed and any identified threats have been addressed, it will be necessary to perform another vulnerability assessment again in the future. This is because vulnerabilities that are not fixed properly can still be exploited, and new threats may arise over time.
A vulnerability assessment is a security analysis that assesses the susceptibility of an information system to vulnerabilities. It determines whether the system can be affected by whether one or more known vulnerabilities and how much of a threat those vulnerabilities pose.
Examples of threats that may be mitigated by a vulnerability assessment include:
- Code injection attacks, XSS, SQL injections, etc.
- Higher privileges are granted on the page due to faulting authentication mechanisms.
- The software program often ships with unsecured settings, such as centralised passwords.
Types of Vulnerability Assessments
There are various types of vulnerability assessments, which include:
Host Assessment: The purpose of a host assessment is to find any vulnerabilities on a single computer in the network. This assessment is usually performed using automated scanners designed for high-speed and comprehensive scans.
Network Assessment: The purpose of a network assessment is to discover vulnerabilities within the network infrastructure and computers connected to it. It usually involves manually scanning every system on the network to scan all of the systems at once (unlike host assessments).
Database Assessment: This is used to determine the flaws and misconfigurations, identify insecure databases or development environments, and categorise sensitive, private information across a company’s infrastructure.
Application Scans: This identified security vulnerabilities in web applications’ source code and front-end code using automated scans or source code analysis.
Importance of Vulnerability Assessments
Vulnerability assessments are significant for security systems, the importance is that:
Any company that utilises computers and the Internet and who doesn’t use these modern technologies today – must complete a vulnerability assessment to evaluate and develop effective courses for addressing the security risks that attackers can exploit. Smaller and medium-sized businesses are especially vulnerable to these attacks, but larger enterprises and firms with ongoing attacks also benefit from these assessments.
A vulnerability assessment helps a business determine whether its inner environment has security weaknesses that may affect it. It also allows it to evaluate and assess these risks. By evaluating the company’s current risks and vulnerabilities, it will better avoid a cyber attack and lower the chances that the company’s infrastructure will be compromised.
Difference Between Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing
- A vulnerability assessment typically includes penetration testing to reveal vulnerabilities in a company’s personnel, processes, or systems. These vulnerabilities may not be noticeable with network or system scans. This procedure is known as vulnerability assessment/penetration testing or VAPT. While penetration testing alone is not sufficient for identifying network vulnerabilities and is a separate process, a network vulnerability analysis checks for the threats to a computing system and recommends the most effective remedies to mitigation risks.
- While vulnerability assessments can quickly cover a vulnerable target, penetration testing generally requires a bend of automated and manual techniques to give testers greater access to vulnerabilities and controls.
- A security vulnerability assessment utilises automated network vulnerability scanning tools to report a summary list of vulnerabilities that need to be fixed. However, it does not evaluate specific potential threats or attack scenarios.
Therefore, organisations should ensure that their teams maintain regular vulnerability testing of their networks. Vulnerability testing should also be done when new systems or devices are added to networks.
Network vulnerabilities must also be checked when ports are opened and redesigned. On the other hand, penetration testing is based on vulnerability assessments; its primary objective is to determine whether or not a particular vulnerability exists. Also, penetration testing aims to demonstrate that exploiting a flaw could cause problems for the software or network.
Mitigate Cyber Vulnerability Assessment
Why use Mitigate Cyber to conduct your cyber vulnerability assessment?
Mitigate Cyber firewall helps protect against application vulnerabilities and cyber attacks, secure business data, increase web application performance and availability, secure specific application and web application vulnerabilities, mitigate cyber breaches to critical infrastructure, and reduce business risk. Click here to learn more about our vulnerability testing solution.
Vulnerability assessments are achieved through penetration testing or automated analysis of relevant data. A vulnerability assessment will not only find weaknesses but will also provide an overview of the profile or surface area that allows the attacker to gain access to your network.
This assessment will also identify existing vulnerabilities and provide a baseline for future risk management. Make sure to use a professional and experiences penetration testing company that can perform accurately efficient assessments and provide you with the security you need. Mitigate Cyber provides penetration testing services across all sectors to provide customers the best protection by identifying vulnerabilities and improving security management.
Our firewall helps protect against application vulnerabilities and cyber attacks, secure business data, increase web application performance and availability. We help detect breaches, critical infrastructure, and reduce business risk.