It’s strange to live in a world where a cyber attack can take place deep in a data center or right in your back pocket. The breadth of the threat landscape causes increased concern for your , company’s reputation and bottom line — a breach can be lurking in the most innocent of places, like an employee email about receiving a company gift.
In 2022, the global average cost of a data breach was $4.35 million. You can no longer just set your threat protection and walk away. You must be proactive in securing your networks against potential vulnerabilities. A critical component of this approach is the implementation of a thorough vulnerability assessment and vulnerability testing.
What Is a Vulnerability Assessment?
A vulnerability assessment is the systematic testing of your computer systems to identify and prioritize as many vulnerabilities as possible. It’s a proactive way for your organization to understand weaknesses and react to cyber threats before damage is done.
Too often, you find out about security shortfalls after a breach happens. The advantage of vulnerability testing is that it enables you to find security gaps in your network and fix them before they become a problem. This proactive approach can save your company time and resources while keeping operations running smoothly.
Why You Need Vulnerability Assessment and Testing
Performing vulnerability testing is crucial to understanding your organization’s cybersecurity landscape and serves multiple critical functions in maintaining the integrity of your defense against cyber threats.
- Proactive Defense: Identifying vulnerabilities before a breach occurs lets you fix them before attackers find them.
- Compliance: Certain industries have regulations requiring regular assessments to ensure that systems safeguard sensitive data effectively.
- Reputation Protection: A commitment to Identifying and addressing vulnerabilities early instills trust with your clients and stakeholders.
4 Steps of a Vulnerability Assessment
Vulnerability assessments typically follow these four steps: plan, scan, analyze, and remediate.
In the planning phase, you’ll identify which assets will be assessed, including those on-premises and in the cloud, and determine the most critical systems where the most sensitive data resides. This is also when companies should review the specific requirements of their industry and regulatory standards.
Scanning involves using automated network tools to scan for and identify potential vulnerabilities within the defined scope. This phase can include:
- Network-based scans to identify vulnerable systems on wired or wireless networks.
- Host-based scans to identify vulnerabilities in workstations, servers, or other network hosts.
- Application scans to test to identify known software vulnerabilities and check network and web application configurations.
- Database scans to detect vulnerable points in databases.
In the analysis phase, cybersecurity professionals gather the generated reports and review the results of the scans. In this step, security experts prioritize vulnerabilities based on their severity and assess the potential impact on the organization. The analysis phase is crucial for understanding which vulnerabilities pose the greatest risk and require immediate attention.
Once the security gaps have been identified and prioritized, remediation involves addressing and mitigating those identified vulnerabilities. This may include patching, updating applications, reconfiguring settings, or implementing additional security tools or procedures.
Identify Your Security Gaps Now
While companies of all sizes will benefit from vulnerability testing, the fact is that many companies don’t have the resources to perform the steps needed to thoroughly examine and protect their IT systems. OneNeck IT Solutions can help in your security journey. Our vulnerability assessment, scan, and remediation services can help you identify the security gaps in your system and fix them before opportunistic attackers get in. If you need additional security services, we also offer a cost-effective virtual CISO (vCISO) service with a team of security experts to help you address all your security and compliance needs.
Don’t take chances with your IT systems. Learn more by reading about OneNeck’s cybersecurity assessments here.