Vulnerability assessments are crucial if you are responsible for your network’s security. Neglecting weaknesses in your IT infrastructure will put you at major risk and expose your business to hackers. Organizations that are merely patching and reconfiguring unsecured settings are in for an unpleasant surprise: it is not going to make their network any safer or less vulnerable to a data breach.
But how do you ensure your IT network is the safest is can possibly be? It’s simple. By conducting regular vulnerability assessments.
What Is a Vulnerability Assessment?
A vulnerability assessment is the process of defining, identifying, classifying and prioritizing vulnerabilities in computer systems, applications and network infrastructures. They provide an organization with the necessary knowledge, awareness and risk backgrounds to understand and react to threats to its environment.
These assessments have become increasingly critical within the business world — so much so, that even cyber insurance providers are requiring this extra security step in order to insure you!
Importance of Vulnerability Assessments
A vulnerability assessment provides an organization with details on any security weakness in its environment. It also provides direction on how to assess the risks associated with those weaknesses. This process is important for many reasons, but above all else, offers organizations a better understanding of its assets, security flaws and overall risk — reducing the likelihood that a cybercriminal will breach its systems and catch the business off guard.
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Vulnerability Assessments vs. Penetration Testing
Penetration testing and vulnerability assessments are often confused for the same service. The problem is, business owners purchase one when they really need the other. Let’s take a look at how penetration testing differs.
Penetration testing is considered “ethical hacking,” but vulnerability scans are not. Here’s a good analogy: A vulnerability assessment is like walking up to a door, checking to see if it is unlocked, and stopping there. A penetration test goes a bit further; it not only checks to see if the door is unlocked, but it also opens the door and walks right in.
Although they differ, both tests work together to encourage optimal network and application security. Vulnerability assessments are great monthly, quarterly or yearly insight into your network security, while penetration tests are a very thorough way to deeply examine your network security and, because of high cost, only done once a year. A lot of companies today still use annual penetration testing as their single line of defense, but automated vulnerability assessments are quickly becoming the first port of call for all companies, with manual penetration testing a powerful backup plan.
Verity IT Can Help!
Regular assessments are critical to ensure a rock-solid security-initiative — we can help!
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