The Need to Initialize Vulnerability Assessment Process in Enterprises

By CIOReview | Friday, September 23, 2016
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Ever since the dawn of information technology in enterprises, data has always been an integral component of most business operations. Today’s technology scenario proves that ‘greater the value of data, greater is the risk associated with it.’ Acknowledging this reality, most enterprises across the globe are trying to fortify their IT environment; effectively integrating it with stringent security protocols aimed to prevent potential cyber attacks. This has also resulted in a situation where the process involved in the implementation of these security protocols has become far more complex than data processing itself. Initializing regular vulnerability assessment tests is always a recommended course of action that can help enterprises identify the potential threats. It can also ensure unprecedented levels of agility and stability in the overall IT environment.

Steps to Stage a Vulnerability Assessment Scenario

To safeguard critical enterprise data, it is crucial to vanquish the hackers in an innovative manner. With an aim to guide enterprises, we have enlisted some strategies that can help them initiate a streamlined vulnerability assessment process.

1. Key Differences between Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Tests

Understanding the difference between Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing is always the first step toward securing data in a fast-paced enterprise environment. A vulnerability assessment process identifies the existing vulnerabilities. Furthermore, a highly functional vulnerability scanner pinpoints the flaws in their existing IT environment.

Whereas, a penetration test is focused on evaluating the vulnerabilities and predicting the possibility of a potential threat to the system. It is designed to indicate the level of catastrophic effect that can be come from a flaw existing in the system. The two methodologies are often used incorrectly and has created great confusion within the enterprises; resulting in wastage of enormous enterprise resources.

2. Significance of Understanding the Business Processes

Enterprises need to understand the business processes and identify the critical ones focusing on the areas of customer privacy and compliance. This may also require effective interaction between the organization’s IT executives and the employees from other departments, such as accounts and sales departments.

3. Evaluate the Efficiency of the Available Security Tools

To ensure safety in every aspect, it is crucial to test the efficiency of popular security tools such as Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs), antivirus, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and firewalls. Enterprises should also understand the differentiating features and capabilities of these components with respect to the nature of vulnerabilities they handle.

4. Initialize Regular Vulnerability Scans

Only after effectively understanding the flow of data, efficiency of security oriented applications, hardware performance, and the entire network infrastructure, it is recommended to run regular vulnerability scans. Irrespective of the scanning solution preferred by organizations, it is crucial to configure the scans properly to avoid errors in scan results.

5. Expect Threat from Remote Locations

With the introduction of every vulnerability assessment tool, cyber attackers are also getting smarter, finding new ways to creep into enterprise data. As an old-school strategy, they often target the weakest nodes of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, those weak nodes are often found at remote locations or on smartphones, laptops, and tablets used by employees. In such cases, it is always recommended to initialize a detailed investigation on the weak nodes and build an additional protective shield.

According to Gartner, enterprises implementing a vulnerability management process will be able to effectively safeguard their data; reducing the success rate of cyber attacks by a massive 90 percent. Pinpointing the need to administer a vulnerability management strategy, the research firm also predicts that, by the year 2020, 99 percent of vulnerabilities will be known to security and IT professionals.

By leveraging the vulnerability assessment strategy, enterprises should be able to effectively secure their data and experience an elevation in productivity.