There’s nothing as disorienting as discovering that you’ve been hacked. You log in to your company website and find that you’re locked out. There’s a message on your screen asking you to send bitcoin to an address to unlock it.
What if you knew a way to identify loopholes in your network, patch them up, and prevent that cyberattack? Here’s where network vulnerability assessments come in.
Network vulnerability assessment, also known as network vulnerability test, is a process used to identify and pinpoint loopholes, security lapses, or potentially threatening vulnerabilities in a network. Network vulnerability assessments help you to locate loopholes like malware, unpatched software, and missing data encryption, and so on before cybercriminals can exploit them. An excellent network vulnerability assessment offers insight into your security system’s flaws, allows you to fix those flaws, and reduces the chances of surprise attacks by hackers.
Medium-sized businesses and online merchants should conduct network vulnerability tests. In this article, learn how your growing, mid-market company can conduct an affordable vulnerability test.
Why Are Network Vulnerability Assessments Important?
According to IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach in the US was $3.86 million dollars. The report showed that healthcare was the most expensive industry, incurring a total cost of $7.13 million dollars. Think about how devastating that must have been for companies involved and the damaging after-effects of a data breach.
Wouldn’t you prefer to identify the loopholes in your network and patch them before you are attacked?
Here are some reasons why network vulnerability assessments are essential:
1. Safeguard customer data and maintain customer trust
These days, customers are increasingly aware of the need to safeguard their data. A 2019 research by PCI Pal found that a data breach could make you lose up to 21 percent of your customers. A periodic network vulnerability assessment helps you to identify weak spots in your network, putting you many steps ahead of hackers every time.
2. Ensure that perimeter security systems effectively protect your network against outside threats
Regularly scanning your network for vulnerabilities identifies potentially threatening loopholes in your perimeter security systems. This helps you keep your network protection systems up to date and fortified against the latest hacker tactics.
3. Ensure that your system configuration is correct and up-to-date
Network vulnerability assessments help you identify wrongly configured systems that can pose as weak links or potential threats to the overall security of your network
4. Evaluate the services of your network service providers
It’s easy to assume that your network service providers hold up their end of the contract until you realize they aren’t. Network vulnerability tests help you to evaluate their services and pinpoint areas in your network where they need to strengthen their security protocols.
Benefits of Periodic Network Vulnerability Assessments to Your Midmarket Company
You’ve seen how vital network vulnerability assessments are. In this section, you will learn what having periodic network vulnerability assessments can do for your company. Regular network vulnerability assessments are beneficial because:
- They are cost-effective- As medical doctors say, prevention is better and more cost-effective than cure. Similarly, periodic network vulnerability assessments save your company from unwanted loss of money and information. It also saves you the cost of managing, containing, and resolving data breaches or other forms of cyberattacks.
- They prevent cyberattacks- Imagine having your entire network shut down. If you’re working remotely, operations will cease, and soon, you’ll be out of business. That’s how devastating cyberattacks can be. But think about never having to experience something like that. Think about all your operations working smoothly and your business going as great as you have imagined. That’s what network vulnerability assessments help you achieve.
- They help you prioritize potential threats and tackle severe ones- Periodic network vulnerability assessments show you the list of threats available in your network, help you prioritize them, and show you the ones that need immediate attention.
- They help you take an inventory of your devices- Periodic network vulnerability tests allow you to take an inventory of all the devices on your network. This helps you identify all the vulnerabilities and potential threats associated with each device. It also enables you to know if there are any unwanted or unfamiliar devices in your network.
Network Vulnerability Assessments Steps
You’ve learned how vital network vulnerability assessments are. You’ve also come to appreciate how much value they add to your mid-market business. Here, you’re going to get acquainted with the various network vulnerability assessment steps.
You can carry out network vulnerability assessments by following the steps below:
- Initial assessment- This is also known as the planning step. In this step, you identify the assets and devices in your network. The worth and accessibility of each device are noted. These are used to predict the following:
- The level and impact of risk for each device,
- The impact of the identified risks on your business
- Your risk strategy
- How you can mitigate these risks, and
- Possible countermeasures you can put in place for your devices
- System baseline definition- This step helps you identify what your system’s normal configuration is supposed to be. Here, you document information about all the open processes, ports, and services. Besides, you note the approved drivers, certified software, and the basic configuration of each device. You can also collect information and vulnerabilities about your devices’ platform, version, and other essential details.
- Vulnerability assessment or test- This is the network vulnerability assessment that pinpoints the cause of your vulnerabilities. First, you need to note the compliance requirements you need to meet based on the type of business you run and to which industry your company belongs. Tools such as Firewall scan, Stealth scan, and so on are used to scan your network. After a thorough scan, vulnerabilities are identified and ranked according to the severity and the harm they can cause your business.
- Vulnerability Assessment Report– This is the most crucial step of your network vulnerability assessment. In this step, the goal is to give you a comprehensive report about your network’s vulnerabilities. You will understand what these vulnerabilities are, how much of a threat they pose to your business, and how you can fix them. The report also shows you ways to mitigate risks on your devices.
You’ve seen how indispensable regular network vulnerability assessments are to your mid-market business. They prevent cyberattacks and all the costs and shattering effects that come with it. They help you build and maintain customer trust. They are cost-effective and ensure that your perimeter security systems are effective. They also help you evaluate your network service providers’ services and ensure that your system configuration is up to date.
To learn more about network vulnerability assessments or to request a network vulnerability assessment for your company, contact RSI Security to get started.