security vulnerability assessment

Vulnerability Assessment

Finding Security Holes Before Hackers Do

Security is no longer something that businesses can consider as an ‘option’. What was once regarded as a low-priority part of IT, Information Security, is now a high priority. When security is put aside, it can be devastating to a company – ask Ashley Madison, the IRS, Target, Sony, EBay and Evernote, to name a few. All of these companies have had  millions of user records compromised in a data breach, and they’re not alone. Other companies find themselves dealing with Cryptowall or CryptoLocker, a Trojan virus that encrypts data and then holds the decryption key for ransom.

Common Misconceptions

The biggest misconception for any company is that vulnerability assessments and security aren’t necessary. They think they aren’t (or won’t be) a target. The fact is that any company can be a target, big or small. Hackers want data. Your company is but a task on a hacker’s to-do list, to vacuum up as much information as possible to then turn around and sell on the black market.  Nothing personal – it’s just business to them.

Another misconception is that the network is safe because a penetration test and audit have already been done. Every day new threats are released.  They may be new viruses or variants of the same ones that hit companies in the past. This means what may have been safe last year is not necessarily protected today. Penetration testing, vulnerability assessment and audits are continual, regularly scheduled efforts.

Even the best security professionals forget the biggest threat to corporate data – people. In other words, employees are the biggest threat to your internal network. Social engineering continues to increase in popularity for hackers because they no longer need to get past defenses on external firewalls. They can steal confidential data from inside the company networks and obtain credentials from high-ranking executives. Consider top executives who fall for a phishing scam. The hacker can then log in to the system with the executive’s privileges and access confidential data at will.

What Does a Security Vulnerability Assessment Do for You?

Besides peace of mind for business owners and security personnel alike, vulnerability assessments have numerous benefits. It’s important for companies to understand that a vulnerability assessment is a preventative measure against attacks. It can’t guarantee 100% protection, but it can stop attacks that would otherwise be successful.

The first benefit is that an assessment can identify resources at risk. You need a professional to identify each vulnerable resource regardless of how innocuous they may seem. Once vulnerable resources are assessed, each of them can be prioritized and a value placed on the resource and the cost it would take to defend the resource.

The most valuable part of a vulnerability assessment is the strategy to defend your networks. Make sure you’re using a defense-in-depth strategy to protect your assets. A vulnerability assessment helps to identify current risks to your infrastructure and then proposes industry approved steps to remediate any issues to reduce your threat footprint.

Even if defenses can’t be 100% effective, they can minimize the consequences. Minimizing security risk is a complicated task that requires consistent monitoring, patching, and upgrading. Don’t wait for your data to be compromised, hire a professional for a complete vulnerability assessment of your networks.