Organizations of any size, or even individuals who face an increased risk of cyberattacks, can benefit from some form of vulnerability assessment, but large enterprises and other types of organizations that are subject to ongoing attacks will benefit most from vulnerability analysis.
Because security vulnerabilities can enable hackers to access IT systems and applications, it is essential for enterprises to identify and remediate weaknesses before they can be exploited. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment along with a management program can help companies improve the security of their systems
Importance of vulnerability assessments
Primary benefits to performing regular vulnerability assessments:
Identify known security issues before attackers find them.
Create an inventory of all the devices on the network, including purpose and system information. This also includes vulnerabilities associated with a specific device.
Create an inventory of all devices in the enterprise to help with the planning of upgrades and future assessments.
Define the level of risk that exists on the network.
Establish a business risk/benefit curve and optimize security investments.
the five steps of vulnerability assessment
- Determine the hardware and software assets in an environment
- Determine the quantifiable value (criticality) of these assets
- Identify the security vulnerabilities affecting the assets
- Determine a quantifiable threat or risk score for each vulnerability
- Mitigate the highest risk vulnerabilities from the most valuable assets
Types of vulnerability assessments
Network-based scans- used to identify possible network security attacks. This type of scan can also detect vulnerable systems on wired or wireless networks.
Host-based scans -used to locate and identify vulnerabilities in servers, workstations or other network hosts. This type of scan usually examines ports and services that may be visible to network-based scans, but it offers greater visibility into the configuration settings and patch history of scanned systems.
Wireless network -scans an organization's Wi-Fi networks, usually focus on points of attack in the wireless network infrastructure. In addition to identifying rogue access points, a wireless network scan can also validate that a company's network is securely configured.
Application scans - used to test websites in order to detect known software vulnerabilities and erroneous configurations in network or web applications.
Database scans - used to identify the weak points in a database to prevent malicious attacks, such as SQL injection attacks.
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