Vulnerability assessment is a task in delivering an effective cybersecurity strategy in both corporate and public sectors.
It is vital to bring about risk awareness, and it is the very first step in analyzing an organization’s cybersecurity strategy and architecture.
The best way to protect against exploitable vulnerabilities is indeed detecting them – and fix them afterward – before a threat actor notices them.
In essence, a vulnerability assessment involves the automatic scanning of all items, components, and assets of an IT system, an application, or software by software. Many confuse this security operation with penetration testing.
Performing a vulnerability assessment means assuring integrity, and security, and proper management of the IT assets of an organization.
Read more below!
Vulnerability assessment: what is it?
You may look up different definitions of this process from various sources. We boil it down to the following definition: screening an IT system or a web application looking for vulnerability. By performing this test
On a practical level, those charged with IT security may perform it in three different situations:
First, it can be on demand, on a one-off basis.
Secondly, security analysts may use an application to run it periodically.
Thirdly, a vulnerability assessment usually plays as the preliminary penetration testing phase.
The most advantageous choice, arguably, seems to run it regularly. By doing so, security analysts may have a complete observation of what is going on in the scanned system. This means constantly checking on the real state of security.
Vulnerability assessment vs Penetration Testing: a warning
Above, we have mentioned that vulnerability assessments may be the first step to perform penetration testing activity.
Indeed, penetration testing and vulnerability assessment are two distinctive activities.
Penetration Testing (Pen Test) refers to the activity of systematically attempting to violate a vulnerable component of a system to discover the security breaches in it through a simulated attack.
Can you note the difference?
In other words, the security analyst already knows the exploitable vulnerability in penetration testing. Indeed, he discovers it by performing preliminary vulnerability assessments. Therefore, penetration testing does not equal vulnerability assessment.
Who does perform a security assessment?
The professional figure performing a security assessment is the security analyst. He or she has many tasks and is usually in charge of managing an organization’s cybersecurity. Read more about them on our dedicated blog.
Vulnerability assessments consists of automatic scanners performed by softwares.
Thus, they are part of a general security assessment.
To conclude, vulnerability assessments are crucial cybersecurity tasks. It is the first step to secure IT systems, applications, and software assets.
Thus, neglecting them may be detrimental: failure in detecting vulnerabilities means giving threat actors a concrete chance to break in.
These exercises constitute the preliminary step to perform penetration testing moreover.