Vulnerability Assessment: The First Step in Securing Your Business
Security checklists are a great tool for making sure you haven’t missed anything obvious, but the only way to be certain your network is secure is to put it to the test. A vulnerability assessment is a safe and effective way to uncover any flaws.
In simple terms, a vulnerability assessment is a series of automated scans that try to find weak spots in your system. Ideally, these cover all the likely routes of attacks including ports, servers, wireless infrastructure, outdated or unpatched software, database flaws, external network connections, and more.
The term “vulnerability assessment” sometimes extends to covering penetration testing, though this may also be listed as a separate service. Penetration testing goes beyond simply looking for potential weak spots and instead carries out simulated attacks or breaches. This reveals whether a potential vulnerability is merely a theoretical issue or a serious practical concern. The key is that the testing is realistic but without any risk of causing actual damage to your systems or compromising any data.
To make the most of a vulnerability assessment, you should take some time to think through exactly what levels of security you want from the various parts of your environment. This may include getting the right balance between security and ease of use, taking into account the data and functions that could be at risk. In particular, you should have a clear idea of which data and tools should be accessible to which people. The vulnerability assessment can then confirm if your setup really does control access in this way.
The main benefit of using professional experts for a vulnerability assessment is that they’ll know all the latest attack methods used by real cybercriminals and malicious actors. This means they can be sure to look for specific weaknesses and security gaps that might previously have been unimportant.
When choosing a vulnerability assessment provider, look for one that offers clear reports on threats with specific, actionable advice on what to do next. There’s no point paying somebody to reveal your security gaps if you don’t understand the results or you aren’t clear how to fix the problems.
Remember that security risks are a combination of how likely a flaw is to be exploited and how much damage such an exploit would cause. A high-quality report will not only tell you the risks but also show which are the highest priority to fix. The provider can also advise on the best way to implement any fixes with minimal disruption to your workflow.
Naturally, the security implications of a vulnerability assessment mean you must only use reputable providers. Look for providers with a proven track record, clear security and data handling policies, and vetted staff.
If you want to find out more about how a vulnerability assessment can help vet and boost your security, contact us today. We’ll be happy to talk through your specific needs and how we can provide an assessment that gets the right results for your system.