Despite advancements in network security technologies, cybercrime success rates are still at an all time high. The biggest reason for this is because most companies still don’t have the right protections in place to deal with current cyberattacks. In fact, a 2017 Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report found that out of 3,000 companies in the US, UK, and Germany, 53 percent were “ill-prepared” for an attack.
When it comes to designing a security framework, most businesses stop at firewalls and antivirus software, but relying on these products alone is dangerous. Currently, hackers are developing advanced exploits that evade detection from basic security controls. The only way to get a leg up on these cybercriminals is to perform vulnerability assessments.
What is a vulnerability assessment?
Vulnerability assessments (VAs) allow you to detect weaknesses in your systems including, but not limited to, default passwords on workstations, outdated applications, unsecured web services, unprotected printers or USB, and misconfigured integrations. Depending on your IT services provider, this can be achieved with automated scanning tools, performed by a security expert, or both. During a VA, managed services providers:
- Inventory networks, systems, and other digital assets.
- Assign priority levels for each asset.
- List the likely threats to each system.
- Develop a strategy to deal with the threat.
- Implement an incident response plan to minimize the damage of an attack.
Benefits of VA
Several reasons make proactive VAs essential to your company’s security framework. For starters, they give you the opportunity to identify and patch security flaws before would-be cybercriminals exploit them. Diligently mitigating network vulnerabilities as soon as you see them means that new ransomware strains simply won’t work against a targeted machine, helping you reduce your overall threat surface.
Secondly, by keeping a detailed inventory of your assets, who has access to them, and the vulnerabilities associated with each system, you can create customized security plans for employees when new exploits are released.
Another benefit of conducting VAs is that you get a clearer idea of what security protocols you need to install. Suppose you find out your systems are well equipped to deal with internal risks such as malware on a USB drive, but susceptible to network intrusions. That should tell you to reinforce your network with up-to-date firewalls and intrusion prevention systems.
Assessment tools are also capable of giving you a detailed network status report. For example, if bandwidth use suddenly spikes, VA software can locate workstations that are downloading an abnormal amount of data.
As we continue to embrace networked technologies, cybersecurity must be a top-priority for all businesses. Existing security controls may be effective, but without a comprehensive assessment, there’s no guarantee your business is truly safe. The surest way to achieve total security is by getting in the habit of performing regular VAs when new technologies are installed or when new strains of malware are discovered.
Cybersecurity is a battle you can’t afford to lose, but don’t assume you’re fighting it alone. The managed security experts at IntelligIS will analyze system vulnerabilities and offer a solution that will keep you safe. Visit us at www.intelligis.com today.