In 2021, a record 1,862 data breach cases were found, a 68% increase from the prior year.
Protecting information assets has become a necessity, and one method of doing that is by conducting a Vulnerability Assessment. A vulnerability assessment (VA) has become ever more important in ensuring the sustainability of an organization in the long run. This is to say, our increasing reliance on third-party services, updated tech stacks, and distributed hosting to run our apps is leaving our apps more chances to be compromised. But, what is there to do to plug this potential vulnerability?
Ensuring end-to-end security is a massive challenge and to stay ahead of the security loopholes, it is possible to check the application in every stage of the app’s development. An evaluation framework can be applied around the app’s development in every step of the development lifecycle to ensure secure footprints everywhere.
Such challenges can be effectively dealt with using a professional vulnerability testing service that knows exactly how to find the vulnerabilities of a particular application or a website.
What Is Vulnerability Assessment?
A vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying and evaluating the security threats involved in software system that can compromise the security of it, as well as proposing effective solutions to reduce those threats. It is a key part of an organization’s compliance, audit, and risk management framework.
Several components like network systems, applications, computing systems, data servers, and access points form an integral part of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Keeping this infrastructure safe requires using certain testing tools for vulnerability assessments, such as web security tools, network vulnerability scanners, database scanners, host scanners, etc.
Performing such tests requires leverages automated tools to perform a thorough check on all possible ends to ensure any security flaw in the target information asset.
Why Is Vulnerability Testing Essential?
It is often human error that leads the path to vulnerability. For example – a piece of network equipment may be installed using the default password or mistakenly giving the developer API access to a disguised hacker, etc.
Besides, sometimes hackers can manage to get past the firewall and hack interconnected devices like – scanners, printers, routers, and switches which are also some of the access points.
Vulnerability testing is a quintessential part of improving the security posture as it can help to improve its users’ end-to-end data protection and privacy.
Also, it helps a company follow a step-by-step testing of all of its components within a framework, suggests a complete security plan, and ensures a complete disaster recovery plan along the way. This ensures there is no downtime even if an attack gets through the system.
7 key Advantages of Vulnerability Testing
1 | Identifying Security Leaks Before Potential Attackers Do
With every update in the applications, it is important to check whether or not it leaves an open endpoint for unwanted or untraceable access. For example – a software patch may ensure smooth operation, but it may leave a port running on the network end. This may be a large security concern caused due to a small update.
2 | Assessing the Organization’s Security Posture
Measuring the security posture determines the security threat level of an organization and puts that on a scale. This is a process done using a combination of Ethical hacking, Security scanning, and Risk Assessment methods.
The important underlying fact to understand here is that hacking does not always occur in creative ways. Most attacks are automated and usually happen using brute force. So, using the same tools that a hacker would use to create these attacks, finding the security flaws becomes even easier.
3 | Keeping A List Of Security Records For Future Assessments
It is not possible to inspect each element in a software system each time it is being replaced or upgraded. So, keeping a list of all the devices and describing their security assessments saves time and effort to look for flaws in all areas and focus on the red flagged parts.
Alternatively, maintaining such lists allows the security testing team to list the vulnerabilities of each device and focus on securing the devices that are usually targeted by hackers most of the time.
4 | Making A Risk vs. Benefit Assessment By Optimizing The Security Investments
A general cyber security study suggests the minimum cost of a data breach is at least 4 million USD. There is also the chance of exposing and corrupting sensitive data. So, creating a plan to make timely assessments will help to create a projection of the risks vs. benefits of vulnerability assessment.
5 | Ensuring Compliance With Data Protection Laws
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not require an organization to perform a regular vulnerability assessment. Rather, it mandates proper security measures to be ensured by an organization to process personal data.
Besides, the International Standard for Information Security, ISO 27001, and the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) also requires an organization to take similar steps to acknowledge the importance of vulnerability assessment through vulnerability scanning.
6 | Creating A Multi-layer Evaluation System To Identify Internal and External Attack Points
Multi-layered security evaluation aims to ensure that the application network can handle the brute force and creative attacks. Some of the lethal attacks are – brute force DDoS attacks, Cross-Site Scripting attacks, URL Manipulation, Data Manipulation, SQL Injection, etc.
Under such scenarios, following the basic process like – creating a detailed test plan, identifying the right testing tools, preparing the test cases, and test case execution is important to create a fail-proof end-to-end multi-layer evaluation system.
7 | Establishing Credibility and Trust Within Your Customer Base, Partners, and Stakeholders
Even more, a good vulnerability assessment measure is the best way to ensure this goodwill for a long time.
Disadvantages of Vulnerability Testing
Sometimes, automated penetration testing produces false positives of a data breach which can be misleading. This error in outcome is still a major flaw in most vulnerability testing and also gives all the more reason to understand the benefits of vulnerability testing.
Not Being Able To Find All Possible Vulnerabilities
No security assessment can find all the vulnerabilities in a system, no matter how good they are. A good security testing software is only as good as the list of known weaknesses it has in its database.
This is to say; attacks differ with the inclusion of newer technologies. So long as attackers are creative, the companies that provide the tests have to be creative as well. This gives all the reason not to completely trust on your vulnerability testing framework, as it can be exploited at any second.
Steps of Vulnerability Testing
Any vulnerability assessment is conducted in 5 steps which are:
Step 1: Planning A Setup
The first step of vulnerability evaluation is to identify the goals and scopes of this project. This should ensure the tester has access to all relevant information, identifies all the problems, and has all the necessary resources at his disposal.
Step 2: Beginning The Test Phase
Using the assessment tools, the vulnerabilities can be checked in two ways – automatic and manual. The processes generate a list of possible vulnerabilities, including false positives that you have to filter out manually.
Step 3: Perform Vulnerability Analysis
Suppose any security flaw is found after an analysis. In that case, a detailed analysis is to be made, followed by the possible causes of the vulnerabilities and the impact they can have on the software system. The goal here is to quantify the level of threat of this vulnerability and explain whether it’s of top priority or of less priority.
Step 4: Mitigating The Security Flaws
Depending on the level of threat encountered after the analysis, the assessment team needs to work on creating a patch to plug the loopholes in the system’s security. This can be done using various tools to identify and fix the problem over the network system.
In contrast, if the threat is not that alarming or too trivial, it is usually not worth the time and money to fix those errors.
Step 5: Repeat
A single run of vulnerability assessment (VA) is only good enough to identify most of the flaws, but not all of them. So, in order to stay on top of the security game, it is essential to perform weekly and monthly checks so that your organization does not pose a major vulnerability threat.
Seeking More Information on Vulnerability Testing Services
To know about how a vulnerability assessment can help your organization, you need to speak with an expert. A cyber security professional can easily understand your problems and provide solutions that are helpful to most organizations.
How Can MalwareCare Help?
MalwareCare is one of the leading providers of on-demand, end-to-end security testing for your organization at a competitive price range. Our company handles customers using AWS on a global scale, so most of our VA professionals are AWS Certified Professionals.
Our Penetration Testing platform provides a one-stop solution for – vulnerability discovery, creating comprehensive testing plans, fixing security flaws, and documenting them for further assessment.
Whether your company is a large organization, a medium-sized company, or a startup, our experts will help your security team find the optimal solutions to security flaws in the shortest possible time.
MalwareCare has access to one of the most creative lines of hackers who know how to protect an application. If you’re in need of support, contact our team of experts today at MalwareCare.
In order to understand what is the advantage of vulnerability testing, you need to speak with a cybersecurity expert that can tell you everything about the importance of vulnerability assessment. Besides, this goes without saying that investing in good security measures is to invest for the future.