Vulnerability Assessment (VA) is a process that consists of identifying, rating and prioritizing potential security issues that might exist within a business network environment. Usually, it refers to finding security vulnerabilities that might be found in hosts, networks, applications, and wireless infrastructures and integrating them into an evaluation and remediation plan. Vulnerability assessments are typically conducted using automated tools and reflect, at a higher level, a snapshot of the security posture at a given point in time.
Vulnerability Assessment Process
In a Vulnerability Assessment, the goal is to discover cyber threats and assign risk for each of them. This involves the use of automated software testing tools that provide functionalities for network-based, host-based, wireless and application security scans. These tools are specialized in vulnerability scanning and rely on databases that contain signatures and rules for known vulnerabilities and exploits.
We’ll work with you to make a list of the systems and networks that will be included in the initial assessment process and we’ll identify those which pose the higher risk to be targeted by an attacker, based on a set of factors such as sensitive data contained, access levels, accessibility, etc.
After the scan is finished, a report containing a list of identified vulnerabilities along with mandatory elements like vulnerability type, associated risk, affected component, steps for reproducing and advice on how to remediate the issue is generated. Due to the fact that tools can sometimes have inconsistent results, it’s possible for false-positive findings to be reported (i.e. detected flaws which in reality don’t exist) and that’s why we’ll combine the use of automated tools with a manual inspection carried out by our specialists. This way you’ll have a completely accurate security report.
The risk score associated with every vulnerability, which is one of the most valuable pieces of information from this report, will help you in the process of enhancing your business security level since developers can fix the vulnerabilities by handling the most urgent ones first. This way, security issues can be ordered by severity and thus, a prioritized approach in the remediation plan can be achieved.
Vulnerability Assessments are recommended to be repeated on a regular basis so that the evolution of the security level can be easily observed in time.
Benefits for your Business
- Get an accurate report of security weaknesses existent in your organization
- Get a general overview of the security posture of your networks and systems
- Have access to actionable advice for improving your current SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle), threat detection/prevention strategies and security policies
- Develop a proactive defending mechanism for finding vulnerabilities before hackers
- Meet compliance requirements (ex: PCI DSS, HIPAA, NIST CSF)
- Lower the risk of data breaches for your company
Vulnerability Assessment vs Penetration Testing
Although at first glance they may seem relatively similar, these two procedures are in fact complementary and build the overall picture of a complete security audit. While Vulnerability Assessment focuses on finding security weaknesses without actually trying to exploit them, Penetration Testing has the power to demonstrate that a security vulnerability really exists and could be exploited by an attacker causing damage to your business.