The Key to Compliance: Vulnerability Assessments

Assessing vulnerabilities through comprehensive testing and analysis mitigates issues in your technology infrastructure before they can take a toll on business operations, providing you a safe and efficient workflow that is uninterrupted and minimizing risk. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines a vulnerability as a weakness in an information system, a security procedure, an internal control, or even a weakness in an implementation that could be exploited by a threat source. How many does your company have? How are you identifying, tracking and mitigating those vulnerabilities?

Information systems are bound to have weaknesses, but not all information systems have the same level of sensitivity to attack. That doesn’t mean they should go undetected or untested on a recurring basis. Routine vulnerability assessments evaluate what risks and threats exist for your business systems, assign severity levels to them, and ultimately recommend modifications or countermeasures to minimize the risk of a breach. 

After a breach, it is already too late, and the cost of repair is typically 10 to 15 times higher than what even the highest levels of preventative measures would cost. The ramifications of a breach go well beyond system downtime, too. In multiple studies, a majority of customers surveyed routinely said they would likely be wary of continuing to do business with a company that suffered a breach, especially if their personal information was impacted in any way.

It’s important to get ahead of cyberattacks before they can occur. Cybercrime is on the rise with hackers attacking a business just like yours every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times per day. And it’s not just the large businesses that are the targets – actually, it’s typically the opposite. Small businesses, the majority of breach victims, are seen by attackers as easier targets they can then leverage to gain access to others, such as your customers, vendors, and suppliers. Protect your company before joining the multitude of those affected by attacks. 

Types of testing

Vulnerability assessments can be done on servers, computer workstations, networks and even connected devices, such as manufacturing equipment, HVAC sensors, and the like. There isn’t just one type of assessment. Take a look at the following:

  • Network-based assessment:  discovers possible security flaws and vulnerable systems on either wired or wireless networks.
  • Host-based assessment: scans servers, workstations, and other network hosts. Looks into a device’s configuration settings and patch history.
  • Application assessment: tests websites for software vulnerabilities and defective configurations.
  • Database assessment: helps prevent cyberattacks by finding weak spots in database security.
  • Wireless network assessment: looks for rogue access points in wi-fi networks and confirms secure configuration
  • Industrial controls assessment: discovers, tests, and audits the security status of industrial controls and other devices ranging from HVAC systems to complex connected manufacturing equipment. Even biomedical devices are not immune and need to be tested and assessed.

Benefits of testing

  1. Gain better insight – Learning about your threats and vulnerabilities gives you a whole new perspective on your business operations. By discovering the weaknesses within your organization’s security, you will be able to get ahead of the cyberattacks, educate your team on the specifics and importance of security, and implement new tools and processes to make your work safer and more efficient. 
  • Reputation – Building trust with those involved with your company, whether internally or externally, is essential to a successful business. A big part of trust is ensuring that their, and your, important data is secure. A majority of customers surveyed indicated they would be wary of continuing to work with a business that suffered any sort of breach, with a large portion (over 30%) saying they would cut all ties to that business.
  • Efficiency – Recovering lost data and important information sets your company back. Imagine if that data was gone forever, as many companies found out when they realized their backups were old, inefficient, or non-functional when a breach took place. It takes exponentially more time, money, and resources to rebound from an attack than it does to prepare for one. If you take even basic preventative measures now, it will save much of the pain and agony our of a long recovery later on.
  • Meet Compliance – Compliance is often essential to business. Every company and its employees follow strict guidelines set by external forces due to regulations, laws, and industry standards. Compliance may also be an internal in the form of policies and ethical requirements set by the organization itself. Lose compliance and lose customers. Get ahead of evolving compliance programs now, not later.

Netizen’s solutions bring vulnerability and compliance visibility to decision makers at an enterprise level, in terms they can understand. We are now offering a FREE trial of our award-winning Overwatch Governance Suite to help you stay ahead of ever-evolving technology risks and trends by monitoring your critical systems – right from your fingertips. Overwatch is not a one-and-done type assessment tools, it is the natural next step in continuous cybersecurity management and monitoring – offering simplified reporting and visibility, a large array of integrated tools, and simplified tracking for metrics, trends, milestones, compliance tasks and more. Contact us at to schedule your demo and sign up for a free trial today! 

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