What’s Included in a Cyber Security Vulnerability Assessment?

A security vulnerability assessment is a process used by security experts to identify risks and vulnerabilities in your IT environment. Any overlooked security vulnerability for your hardware, software, and network could be an open door for a malicious hacker.

Many tools and methods are used to perform these assessments, requiring extensive knowledge of IT and hacking methods to ensure your technology is safe. When performed by experts, this report can be invaluable.

These assessments are critical to maintaining a high level of cyber security within your company. By identifying vulnerabilities early and responding to them quickly, you can protect your business’s future and integrity.

Four Types of Vulnerability Assessments

Vulnerability assessments can be performed on a number of technologies. These examinations are designed to fully analyze how technology works, where hackers can breach their defenses and how much risk that poses to the organization.

While it’s impossible to list every type of vulnerability assessment, there are four main types that businesses and organizations should pay attention to:

  • Host Assessment: Analyzes critical servers within an IT environment.
  • Network and Wireless Assessment: Analyzes policies and practices designed to prevent unauthorized access to private or public networks.
  • Database Assessment: Analyzes vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in databases or big data systems. Classifies sensitive data and identifies insecure test environments.
  • Application Assessment: Identifies security vulnerabilities in web applications and their source code.

Vulnerability Assessments Future Proofs Your Business

Knowledge is power. This is especially true in the world of cyber security.

A vulnerability assessment provides you with information about potential weaknesses in your internal security measures. By understanding what causes these vulnerabilities and how you can stop them, you can prevent damaging events.

These events can include:

  • Code injection attacks (SQL injection, XSS)
  • Unauthorized access to sensitive information
  • Insecure default settings in software
  • Network breaches

By assessing your organization’s potential risk and understanding where you can improve your digital security, you can safeguard your data from malicious hackers. With a thorough assessment, you can make sure you won’t be caught off guard.

Ethical Hackers Safeguard Your Technology

In order to perform an effective vulnerability assessment, you need to have an expansive knowledge of the inner workings of important networks and hardware. You also need to understand how a hacker can exploit various vulnerabilities to access an organization’s internal network.

For these reasons, security vulnerability assessments are usually performed by a team of IT experts and “ethical hackers”, who are experienced hackers using their skills to help safeguard businesses.

These experts have experience in cyber security methods, best practices and common hacking methods used to breach business networks and IT environments.

Security experts perform these assessments using a variety of tools and methods. Most commonly, they use automatic and manual scanners. These pieces of software can scan a variety of networks and processes:

  • ISECOM’s OSSTMM: Open-Source Security Testing Methodology Manual
  • OISSG’s ISSAF: Open Information Systems Security Group Information Systems Security Assessment Framework
  • OWASP: Open Web Application Security Project
  • PCI DSS: Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard
  • SANS CIS 20: SANS Center for Internet Security Controls 20
  • MITRE ATT&CK Matrix: Adversary Attack Chain Simulation
  • HIPAA + HITECH/HITRUST (Medical Privacy deadlines)
  • NIST CSF + NIST SP 800-53 + NIST SP 800-171

The Four Steps to a Cyber Security Vulnerability Assessment

While there are many methods that go into performing an assessment, there are four basic steps that every assessment follows.

1. Vulnerability Identification: Analysts test the security health of your technology, from software, servers and hardware by scanning them with automated tools or testing them manually. IT analysis also needs to consider other factors, like compliance requirements, vendor guidelines, time of day, industry requirements, etc. The goal here is to create a basic but comprehensive list of vulnerabilities.

2. Vulnerability Analysis: The goal here is to figure out what’s causing the vulnerability. This involves identifying the system components responsible for each vulnerability and with their root cause. Once this is identified, the analyst can make a clear path for remediation.

3. Risk Assessment: The goal here is to list the vulnerabilities in order of security. By accurately determining their potential risk, analysts help organizations determine which should be addressed first and which can be handled later.

These risk assessments are based on a few factors, such as:

  • Which systems are affected.
  • What data is at risk.
  • Which business functions are at risk.
  • Ease of attack or compromise.
  • The severity of an attack.
  • Potential damage as a result of the vulnerability.

4. Remediation: The goal here is to resolve these security vulnerabilities. You can put various plans and operations into action by working with the analyst, your existing IT team and experienced vendors.

Keep Hackers Out

Security vulnerability assessments are an essential method of protecting your business from cyber threats. When performed regularly by cyber security experts, you can rest easy knowing your network and hardware are safe.

When you need a vulnerability assessment, call on NTS. Our domestic subject matter experts work directly with you to create a vulnerability assessment to fit your specific needs. We have the experience to find your vulnerabilities, the dedication to find their sources and the commitment to remediate them.

Find out more about our vulnerability assessments and our certified staff.