What is a vulnerability assessment? Simply put, a vulnerability assessment is the action taken to review an organization’s network and systems against known security issues. These assessments, not to be confused with a penetration test, help a cyber security team classify issues from critical to low, thus allowing for a more focused approach to strengthening one’s security posture.
Implementing regular vulnerability assessments is recommended as part of an organization’s overall security program. Whether these assessments are performed in-house, or contracted out to a trusted third party, continuous vulnerability assessments are necessary in determining new threats to your systems, as well as a way for your security team to catch the low-hanging fruit. Addressing the issues are found when performing these regular assessments. It allows IT personnel to stay proactive in the constant fight in reducing an organization’s attack surface by performing patches or updates in a timely fashion. Malicious attackers are crafty and persistent, so as an organization works to create a more robust security posture, we must also remain vigilant in the fight to deter those bad actors.
One way to mitigate many issues is by implementing frequent automated scanning, using tools that help identify, and effectively prioritize the most pressing concerns within your organization. It is paramount that IT personnel have the tools on hand to both discover, and address the issues before attackers are able to use them against their organization, and that is why continuous assessments are encouraged. Secure Ideas recommends implementing at the very least monthly vulnerability assessments, but that is not to say that more frequent testing is not beneficial as new and sometimes critical issues are discovered daily.
Performing regular vulnerability assessments help organizations better determine the weaknesses that currently exist in their overall infrastructure. By addressing these issues routinely, an organization will be better equipped to stave off attackers, leaving them more secure and far less vulnerable. With that being said, these assessments should only serve as a baseline for an overall security management program geared toward protecting your data, and maintaining credibility.