How Vulnerability Assessments Prevent Cybersecurity Threats
With an increasing amount of business being conducted online, and consumers’ growing desire for simplicity, the digital world has become a hacker’s paradise. According to The Guardian, cybercrime costs the American economy $100 billion a year, and it’s not just the large enterprises that are feeling it. SMBs are often key targets for cybercriminals because they suffer from lower IT security budgets, making them easier to successfully attack.
Vulnerability Assessments To The Rescue
By identifying weaknesses in your security defenses you can begin to demolish that hacker paradise. A vulnerability assessment is a tool used in a risk management program to identify, quantify, and prioritize the weaknesses within an organization’s IT systems, leading to your ability to make more informed decisions about your data security plan. Once identified and assessed, you can begin to strategize and remedy any of those deficiencies.
How Vulnerability Assessments Work
Locating attack vectors and plugging them is a three-step process:
- Scan for vulnerabilities
- Access those weaknesses
- Prioritize the remediation
Using a toolset from industry recognized providers or vendors, scans are made of the entire network, weaknesses are determined, and then best practices are used to remedy those deficiencies.
This is usually done through control selection, which refers to the process of deciding which safeguard to implement in order to migrate the risk found during the vulnerability assessment. Sometimes a quick fix is all that is needed, and an administrator or IT professional can handle it quite easily. Other times, it may take a team of professionals to sort it out.
Benefits for Your Information Security Program
These assessments help to mature an information security program by streamlining IT security and preemptively blocking any threats before they happen. This is beneficial when budgeting is involved. With proof of the effectiveness of these assessments, business leaders can look at the next years’ budget and know that this program is giving the company a good return on investment, making it easier for them to see the benefits of continuing to invest in security assessments.
Another benefit is strengthening business relationships with partners. If you are going to do business with another company, sometimes they’ll ask for verification of how you take care of your information security. With reports demonstrating how you run these assessments, what was found, and how you responded, business partners can be confident in your ability to keep their data protected.
Why Is This Important?
When organizations get comfortable with what they are currently using, whether it be an Antivirus solution, some sort of firewall, or even the way they deploy their systems to their employees, they can fall into a rut and find it hard to recognize the need for upgrades or changes to their system. This is when they become a prime target for cybercriminals.
It’s important to stay proactive rather than reactive, by performing these vulnerability assessments on a more regular basis, not merely once a year. A minimum of a quarterly schedule for vulnerability scanning is recommended, as threats are ever-evolving and hackers develop new attack vectors every day.
Posted By: Alfonso Powers, Director of IT Projects