3 Ways To Check The Vulnerability Of Your NetworksApril 7, 2021 No Comments
Featured article by Cassidy Gibson, IT programmer and Cybersecurity Expert
Many businesses assume their network security is fine. But with the recent spate of data breaches and hacker attacks, no company can afford to be complacent with regards to network security. In 2020, the average cost of a data breach in the United States is USD $8.64 million. But more egregious is the number of records exposed as a result of data breaches—in 2020, the number reached 37 billion.
Among the recent victims of data breaches were giant companies like Nintendo, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and others. Clearly, security should be enhanced and more vulnerability assessments should be done. The earlier you can find and plug any weaknesses on your company’s network, the better.
After all, waiting for your weaknesses to be exposed for you to address them isn’t a good strategy. You don’t have to wait for cyber criminals to encrypt your database or steal sensitive information stowed on your servers to go see the cybersecurity guys. You can do it before any embarrassing and costly attacks happen to you. Arrange for the cybersecurity experts to perform a vulnerability assessment on your network as soon as possible.
This article will give you a few pointers on how to perform the vulnerability assessment on your networks, and how it’s easier to prevent security problems from making you all look like chumps, costing you money and clients.
What Is Vulnerability Assessment?
Vulnerability assessment is a methodical review of security protocols present in your network. It assesses your system’s susceptibility to threats, exposes your vulnerabilities, classifies them, and offers solutions or mitigation wherever and whenever they’re required. A vulnerability assessment should be done at least once per quarter.
Assessing your vulnerability means you get to highlight weaknesses not only in your network infrastructures but also in applications and computer systems. With a top-notch vulnerability assessment, businesses will have a deeper understanding of their network infrastructures, and information on their security status, weaknesses, and potential vulnerabilities.
Steps For Checking Network Vulnerability
The main purpose of checking your networks for vulnerabilities is to reduce the likelihood of cyber criminals finding and exploiting any security flaws, as well as causing mischiefs like launching DDoS or data thefts. These checks will help you identify, quantify, and rank vulnerabilities. You’ll also get an explanation of the possible outcomes in an imaginary scenario in the event that security leaks are discovered, like what this vulnerability lab is doing.
Your security teams can also develop a solution to address these weaknesses, and provide recommendations for your security improvement and how to avoid vulnerabilities. And so, below are three essential ways to check for your network’s vulnerability.
Comprehensive Audit Of Your Network Assets
Firstly, you should do an accurate and complete inventory, or audit, of the assets in your network. Include the software and operating systems that run these assets. You need to have an inventory of your assets to check for security weaknesses on your company network. It’ll help you in the identification of security vulnerabilities that could result from known bugs in some software and OS types, as well as obsolete software.
It’s easy for businesses to assume that their network security is up to date. But without a proper network audit, companies could be unaware that they have vulnerabilities hidden in one of their assets for years.
Moreover, if these hidden vulnerabilities were to be addressed and there are still assets that weren’t included in the audit, this could result in inconsistent security protection for the entire network system. So, it’s crucial that you make your network audit thorough and comprehensive.
The next step after completing a network audit and having an inventory of all your network assets is to stress-test your network. This step is important for finding out how a determined hacker can break into your system. Typically, this is how cybersecurity experts determine any exploitable weaknesses your system might have. If they find any weaknesses, they can offer solutions to close those possible security holes before actual hackers find them.
An organization’s approach to penetration testing may vary depending on its network security infrastructure, as well as its security risk framework. Every penetration test is customized for each company; one approach may not be suitable for another. But there are general steps that are typically included in a penetrations test.
‘White hat’ hackers are always involved in the penetration test. There’s also the auditing of the existing systems to find out which assets are vulnerable. Then, the white hats would be conducting a simulated cyber attack on the company network, trying to exploit vulnerabilities or finding new ones. Then, there’s the company conducting its own incident response plan (IRP) to defend against the white hats in the simulated pen test.
Besides the identification of security vulnerabilities, it’s also essential for an organization to find any shortcomings in its incident response. This is very useful for adjusting and modifying the response strategies and actions to further cut down security vulnerabilities.
Making A Cyber Threat Intelligence Framework
Conducting a penetration test is extremely useful for checking network vulnerabilities, but it shouldn’t be the only approach organizations should use. A threat intelligence framework can be another useful tool for companies to use on network vulnerability checks. This method could help your company find out which assets need to be protected. You can also set your overall network security objectives using the threat intelligence framework.
What’s more, the framework could help you identify the primary threat sources. Knowing where the attacks might come from means you can take steps to make sure that those areas are well-protected. As a result, your cybersecurity protections would be more refined and efficient.
To check for new and developing security threats and attack plans, select the perfect threat intelligence feeds for your company. Threat intelligence feeds are data streams that continuously give information on threats that are potentially harmful to a company’s security.
They can be valuable to security teams because they provide a record of IoCs (Indicators of Compromise), which consists of malware hashes, malicious email, IP addresses related to attacks, and malicious URLs.
Like anything else in life, it’s better to be prepared. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’ Understanding your security’s weakness is essential for having up-to-date network security. Regularly checking for network vulnerability should be part of your security measures.
Cassidy Gibson is an IT programmer with cybersecurity expertise. Her years of experience in the industry and passion to help others prompted her to share her knowledge and skills through blogging. She believes that IT involves continuous learning because of rapid changes and updates.
Cassidy enjoys watching romantic and action film movies on her free time. She also plays tennis and badminton.SECURITY