Does my business need a vulnerability assessment?
What is a Vulnerability Assessment?
A Vulnerability Assessment is a low-cost high-value exercise which identifies and analyses common vulnerabilities in computer networks, systems, hardware, applications, and other parts of an organisation’s IT ecosystem.
They are a critical part in helping businesses create a defence in-depth approach to security by helping organisations understand issues and risks which affect their infrastructure. This allows organisations to protect their systems and data from unauthorised access and data breaches. They also offer security teams, business owners and stakeholders the information they need to analyse and prioritise risks within the organisation.
If you're a business starting out on your cyber security journey, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re a bit further along, it helps to understand why vulnerability assessments are necessary and how frequently they should be undertaken.
In this blog, we discuss what a vulnerability assessment is, why they are essential and how you can get started.
Why are Vulnerability Assessments Important for Businesses?
There’s a big difference between assuming your organisation is vulnerable to a breach and knowing exactly how you are vulnerable.
Running regular assessments can help to reduce the number of opportunities a hacker has to breach your organisation's systems. It’s also a great way to:
- Identify threats, weaknesses and security misconfigurations in your IT infrastructure
- Take remediation actions to close any cyber security gaps and protect sensitive systems and information
- Meet cyber security compliance and regulatory needs such as ISO 27001 compliance, GDPR, PCI DSS and HIPAA
How Do They Work?
The overall objective of performing a vulnerability assessment is to create a complete overview of the security risks to your IT infrastructure and provide a guideline to resolve risks and security misconfigurations. This is achieved through:
Discovering your Assets
If your organisation is in the early stages of getting its security posture in order, documenting all assets connected to your systems is a critical step in discovering potential vulnerabilities.
Your organisations assets can include:
- Laptops, desktops and servers
- Edge devices (firewalls, switches etc)
- Devices such as smartphones or laptops that are designed to connect and disconnect from your organisations networks, at the premises or in remote locations.
- Cloud based infrastructures or integrations such as third party software.
- Devices connected to your organisations infrastructure such as IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
Vulnerability Identification and Analysis
The aim of this step is to test the security of applications, servers and systems for vulnerabilities. Then draft a comprehensive list of the sources and the root cause of each.
A detailed analysis follows, outlining the cause of the vulnerability and their potential impacts to your organisation. Each vulnerability is ranked in order of severity to enable the security team and organisations stakeholders to quantify the threat and its impact on the organisation's network.
At this stage, the internal security team works through closing or patching the security flaws found, starting with the most critical vulnerabilities.
It's also a great time for organisations to update any operational or configuration changes on the systems and introduce new security procedures.
How Often Should a Vulnerability Assessment be Performed?
Hackers are constantly scanning the internet for vulnerabilities and weaknesses to exploit. It's due to this, that you need to have a proactive approach to assessing your organisation's cyber security posture.
As such vulnerability assessments shouldn’t be a one-off activity. To be effective, regular quarterly assessments are recommended, as the assessment only gives you a snapshot of your organisation's posture at that moment in time. And if any significant changes are made to your network or systems at any time, an additional vulnerability assessment is advisable and often required as part of regulations, such as PCI-DSS.
How Can we Help you?
Identifying cyber security vulnerabilities without an expert’s eye can be a difficult task. At Secora Consulting, we offer a wide range of services which we tailor to meet our clients individual requirements.
Our vulnerability assessment service can provide you with a prioritised list of vulnerabilities and easy to follow remediation advice to immediately improve your cyber security posture.
We believe in going the extra mile for our clients and manually verify our findings to provide your organisation with peace of mind while ensuring and remediation work planned will directly improve your overall security.
If you have any questions or want to discuss our services please get in touch.
All of Secora Consulting's assessments are tailored to our client's needs.
Using our experience, we can help you determine which services are right for you.
We have arranged our services into four groups based on the objective of the tests.