What Is a Vulnerability Assessment?
Vulnerability assessment, as the name implies, is the process whereby vulnerabilities and risks are identified in computer systems, networks, applications, hardware, and some other computer peripherals. Vulnerability assessments make sure that adequate knowledge of risks is made available to stakeholders and security teams, so they can prioritize action on those risks.
Vulnerability assessments classically leverage tools such as vulnerability scanners, which are used to identify dangers and flaws in an organization’s technology infrastructure that denotes potential susceptibilities or risk exposures. Statistics state that 20.4% of the revealed vulnerabilities are highly or critically risky.
Furthermore, there are other essential things you need to know regarding vulnerability assessments which include their importance, how they can be conducted, and their types.
Why is Vulnerability Assessment Important?
Vulnerability assessment is important because it allows IT security teams to use a comprehensive, consistent and effective approach to recognizing and solving IT security risks and threats. The following are some of its benefits to a business:
- Protect against cyber threats and other risks
- Protection of sensitive information and systems and provides techniques for their remedies
- Consistent and early discovery of weaknesses and threats
Types of Vulnerability Assessments
Vulnerability assessments allow you to find possible threats and exploits early before cyber hoodlums start prying. Many vulnerabilities are a result of system updates or patches that are available but haven’t been deployed.
Principally, vulnerability assessments use various tools, methods, and scanners to search for risks and threats in the IT environment. It depends on how fast the threats are discovered so that the need can be met. Below are the various types of vulnerability assessments:
- Catalog assessment
In a database, this vulnerability assessment involves identifying security loopholes to hinder attacks like SQL injection, brute force attacks, DDoS, and other vulnerabilities.
- Network assessment
As its name implies, this assessment helps to address errors on wireless and wired networks.
- Wireless system assessment
This scan authenticates whether a business’s wireless set-up is securely constructed to prevent unlicensed access.
- Web application assessment
This assessment can either be done automated or manually. It involves a cautious appraisal of website applications with their source codes to detect any security threats.
- Host-based assessment
This form of assessment inspects any possible threats or weaknesses in server terminals and other hosts. It also ensures a strict examination of services and ports.
How to Organize Vulnerability Assessments
Using the accurate tools and techniques, you can successfully conduct vulnerability assessments using the steps below:
First and foremost, you’ll need to make a decision on what you need to scan; this is not as modest as it may sound. One of the most challenging cyber security issues firms face is the inability to see their IT infrastructure and its devices. Some motives for this consist of mobile devices like smartphones, tabs, laptops, and other devices that are created to automatically and persistently connect and reconnect in the office environment. That includes the employee’s remote locations and homes.
Furthermore, IoT devices are also part of the office infrastructure. It might also be linked to mobile networks. Also, cloud-based infrastructure makes it easier to bring in new networks.
Vulnerability scanners were created to detect well-known security weaknesses and threats and make available effective directions on ways to resolve them. There is quite a range of information regarding vulnerable software because vulnerabilities are always reported. Identification of vulnerable devices is also one of the functions of a vulnerability scanner in a corporate environment.
The scanner sends inquiries to IT systems to detect:
- Software versions
- Configuration settings
- Open sections and running services
Grounded with this information, a vulnerability scanner can regularly detect numerous known weaknesses in the process of testing the system.
Once you are done with the vulnerability scan, it is important to analyze the results and take action based on the seriousness of the vulnerability. Priorities will be determined by severity and likeliness of the threat being exploited.
An effective vulnerability scan delivers a point-in-time detail of each vulnerability that is present in a firm’s digital substructure. Nevertheless, configuration changes, newly detected vulnerabilities, new deployments, and other numerous factors can swiftly make an organization open to threats and risks again. Therefore, you must make vulnerability assessment a constant procedure rather than a once-in-a-blue-moon thing.