A vulnerability assessment is a process of identifying and quantifying vulnerabilities in company assets across applications, computing systems, and network infrastructures. It is a fundamental part of a company’s security plan that can be conducted in-house or by a trusted IT partner. Regular vulnerability assessments are critical for good IT hygiene.
Vulnerability scans give your company insight as to which assets are susceptible to cyber-attacks by providing detailed reports of the weaknesses in your security system. This way, your company can be proactive at mitigating the risk of malicious unauthorized behavior and focus more on bringing in advanced technology and modernizing business processes in order to provide your customers with a streamlined experience.
A report by KPMG International revealed that 73% of organizations faced malware threats, following by phishing attacks at 49%, and ransomware attacks at 43%. When COVID-19 forced workforces to become mobile, businesses were forced to quickly digitalize. As businesses undergo rapid digital transformation, new access patterns, systems, and equipment increase the risk for more frequent cybersecurity breaches. (Read also: The Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats from 2020.)
Digital transformation is the adoption of advanced technologies such as the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) in an attempt to enhance customer experience, increase agility, and improve profitability. In one effort to digitally transform, businesses are migrating from on-premises, outdated infrastructure to a hybrid or cloud infrastructure that keeps their sensitive data more secure.
As companies become increasingly digital, it is paramount to have a security strategy aligned with your digital strategy to mitigate the risk of data theft and network corruption.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of performing vulnerability assessments.
Attend to Vulnerable Areas Before They Are Exploited by Cybercriminals
Network security exposures are usually a result of improper coding and security misconfigurations. Hackers will exploit these weak areas in order to gain access to confidential data and execute unauthorized commands.
Managed service security providers (MSSPs) use scanning tools to identify and quantify vulnerabilities in your digital environment so you can address them before a hacker exploits them. These tools also feature machine learning intelligence to identify previous attack postures and lower the chance of these types of attacks in the future.
Vulnerability assessments should be performed quarterly and whenever a new service is added, a port is opened, or new equipment is installed. Regular assessments will ensure your company is always aware of its system flaws and can patch them before cybercriminals have a chance to exploit them. (Read also: How to Prepare for the Next Generation of Cloud Security.)
Understand the Risk Level Associated With The Company’s IT Infrastructure
A vulnerability assessment measures your IT hygiene. During an assessment, a detection tool is used to identify and quantify risk exposure across all of the company’s software and hardware assets.
This tool then generates a report that lists and scores the detected assets and their level of susceptibility. This detailed reporting shows your company where higher risk areas are, so you can gain a better understanding of where your environment is at risk.
Manage and Allocate Resources Efficiently
By scanning all the assets in your environment, the reports are very thorough and show each asset’s level of exposure to cybersecurity risk. By knowing which areas are most exposed, you can allocate security resources efficiently to update and patch the software that requires immediate attention first. (Read also:
Improve Security Systems Effectively
Identifying exploitable vulnerabilities of each asset within your system shows you which assets you should upgrade or improve instead of just patch. Upgrading your technology will enhance your system’s overall performance and increase business efficiency. (Read also: Cloud Security 101.)
Enhance Credibility with Your Customers, Partners, and Stakeholders
Customers, partners, and stakeholders value companies that are honest about the security measures they have in place to protect their privacy. Having a comprehensive security plan makes it easier to effectively communicate your plan to customers and increases your company’s credibility.
Regular vulnerability assessments are an essential part to successfully managing your network security. They help mitigate security breaches by showing you which areas of your network need patching and where to start first. You should perform quarterly vulnerability assessments, and whenever there are changes made to the system. If you choose to partner with an IT organization to perform your scans, you will have access to its team’s expertise in planning, performing, and analyzing the results, so you can be sure you are not missing anything. Attending to your company’s security vulnerabilities before cybercriminals exploit them makes business operations more efficient, provides a streamline experience for your customers, and increases profitability.