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Understanding Your Vulnerabilities

Vulnerable: Susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. Synonyms: defenseless, powerless, weak, susceptible.

I’m sure your initial thoughts, like mine, personified the word. But today this term is used to describe our company’s cybersecurity posture. Maintaining an awareness of your company’s vulnerabilities is one way to protect yourself from a cybersecurity attack. By having a regular vulnerability assessment allows you to know your environment and respond quickly to any potential threats.

What is a Vulnerability Assessment?

A vulnerability assessment is a process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing (or ranking) the vulnerabilities in a system. The intent of vulnerability assessments is to identify known security weaknesses within a computer system, network, or application. It involves running software that scans the target(s) to identify those components that have vulnerabilities to identify known security weaknesses that are within the scanning software’s database.

The two key elements to reducing cybersecurity risk are to understand the vulnerabilities present in your environment and to respond accordingly to them.

Vulnerability assessments and penetration tests are not one and the same. Deep dive into the differences by downloading our whitepaper. Vulnerability assessments identify vulnerabilities within your systems. This then allows your company to take actions to strengthen your security in these areas.

How Does It Help Your Company?

There are many benefits to having a vulnerability assessment run regularly. Primary benefits to performing a vulnerability assessment regularly include:

  • Identifying known security weaknesses before they are found by potential attackers
  • Defining the level of risk existing on the network
  • Creating a log of all devices on the network and including the vulnerability and updates that have been made to each device
  • Utilizing that inventory log of all devices in the company to plan upgrades and future assessments
  • Saving the company money on their reputation by being aware and fixing vulnerabilities before your systems are compromised.

What Does the Report Tell Me and What Do I Do Next?

Deciding to, and doing, a vulnerability scan is the first step. Knowing, understanding and acting on the results is part two.

The scan will go through an information gathering and discovery effort to understand the hardware and software. Next, a thorough review and inventory of the operating systems, applications, protocols, and services to determine how much is vulnerable to attackers. Finally, the assessment that includes the actual detection of vulnerabilities is pulled into a report. This report includes scores and risk information.

The report then can be interpreted by a cybersecurity advisor. Are your systems clear? Where are the weak areas? Remediation tools can be used to patch and debug areas as necessary to reduce or eliminate the security risks that were detected.

How Does One Get Started?

The first step to improving the security posture of your company is to find a trusted cybersecurity advisor who can guide you through the process. By working with a cybersecurity partner like Withum, you gain access to experienced specialists equipped to perform both vulnerability scans and penetration tests. We work with internal teams to help them to understand exactly how the scans contribute to risk mitigation and work with them to identify tools to adhere to industry and organizational compliance requirements.

Are you ready to have a vulnerability test done? Withum’s Cyber and Information Security team has the expertise and experience to ensure your networks are protected. Fill in the form below to schedule your cybersecurity consultation today. 

Interested in learning more about penetration tests, vulnerability assessments or your organization’s cybersecurity? Schedule a consultation online today!
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