Ones and zeros breaking down in vulnerability assessments.

Vulnerability Assessments: Here’s What You Need to Know

Cyberthreats are dangerous to organizations of all sizes. Of course, you probably already knew that – modern businesses are well aware of the threats that lurk outside of their network at all times.

If you’ve forgotten, here’s a refresher on the latest threats out there.

Regardless, organizations can’t skate by on just being aware of threats. They need to have active security strategies to mitigate (or eliminate) the chances of these threats affecting business.

So where do you start?

Well, a good place to begin is with regular assessments of your current IT infrastructure. You can’t defend yourself if you don’t know the lay of the land.

Let’s start with the basics.

What Exactly Are Vulnerability Assessments?

Simply put, a network vulnerability assessment is a test that details the existing gaps in your network security. Through the testing process, you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact severity of the weak areas in your infrastructure.

Vulnerability assessments are a proactive safeguard. You’re running them to determine where you’ve got to beef up your security. As with any aspect of your business, your system/IT infrastructure will likely change from month to month or year to year.

Related: 7 Tips to Manage Cybersecurity Risk

The takeaway? You’ll need to stay on top of your assessments – run them regularly to see what’s changed, and what you could be doing to better defend your data against known risks.

How Do Vulnerability Assessments Work?

Typically, IT security specialists use automated testing tools in their assessments. These are software programs that exist for the sole purpose of breaking into your network, but not causing any damage.

There are different types of vulnerability assessment scans you can make use of:

  • Network-based scans to check your network and all connected devices.
  • Database scans to prevent attacks on your back-end database.
  • Host-based scans to identify vulnerabilities in servers and monitor existing configuration settings.
  • Application scans to test lapses in security and other software vulnerabilities.

How Are Vulnerability Assessments Different from Penetration Tests?

Let’s say for a second you’re filling up your tires with air at a gas station.

As you’re filling them up, everything looks solid enough. However, when you run the tip of your finger by a bit of the tire tread, you can feel a small hole. You keep doing it and find 5 more. Now that you know they’re there, you can get them fixed.

That’s similar to vulnerability assessments.

Now, imagine the same scenario – but now you’re holding a 9-inch knife. You poke, prod, and slash the tire, hoping to make a hole. You manage to break through the tire. Now, you know that your tires wouldn’t have stopped a malicious knife-wielding maniac.

That’s similar to penetration testing.

In technical talk, pentesting requires someone (known as a white hat hacker) with both hacking tools and the skills to use them. Though they’re pricey, they have their own individual merits. They help identify what is not yet known.

Vulnerability assessments perform different actions from within and give you a birds-eye view on how exposed you may already be. Information that’s just as valuable, often for a lot less.

Related: 3 Common Hacking Methods You Need to Know

Why Do You Need Vulnerability Assessments?

Cybercriminals will only continue to get smarter as technology evolves. Companies that fail to focus on internal security measures risk multiple threats, such as the discontinuation of long-term partnerships due to reputational damages, great financial losses, or even legal compliance violations.

That’s why vulnerability assessments shine.

With an assessment, you can properly protect yourself ahead of time and stop potential issues from becoming big problems. You can set a baseline for your infrastructure security and maintain it to keep cyberthreats from disrupting your business.

Who Do You Turn To?

Silly question.

That’d be us, KJ Technology – we can help you keep your business safe by performing routine, comprehensive vulnerability assessments. Got questions about them? Want to learn more?

We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us when you can, and we’ll have a good conversation.