In an organization, security and vulnerability assessment are two fundamental aspects that network administrators are highly concerned about. Frequent network vulnerability scanning help businesses in identifying potential threats to the network’s security and vulnerabilities in the system.
Organizations can easily evaluate the weaknesses of their networks before hackers, which help them eradicate them and make the entire system stronger against foreign attacks. The process involves two inter-linked aspects: vulnerability scanning and vulnerability assessment.
Vulnerability scanning is excellent as a starting point. However; the true fruits of scanning are acquired only after you conduct vulnerability assessment, which is the process of addressing the problems found during scanning.
Vulnerability assessment is a set of procedures. The key objectives of vulnerability assessment include scanning, inspecting, analyzing and reporting of the level of risks associated with a system’s security. The entire security system is assessed for discovering vulnerabilities existing on the internet-based and public networking devices. Another purpose behind conducting security vulnerability assessments is to understand feasible mitigation strategies for addressing the risks.
The details of key vulnerability assessment procedures are as follows:
1. Asset Identification- This is the first step and involves creating a list of all the economically valuable assets such as data, computers and people. By organizing the lists with names, location and values, the process of asset finding will be simplified.
2. Threat evaluation- It involves finding out whether an organization is under threat of any kind that may harm its security. It can be in the form of probably physical loss from lightening, thefts and/or network related harms like hackers attempting to hack servers and take data. It is important to understand that 65% of network related attacks are made from the inside, that is, by the employees. So, employees can be listed as potential threats as well.
3. Vulnerability appraisal- To properly address the detected threat, organizations need to conduct threat evaluation through a realistic appraisal. It involves aspects like ensuring if the detected threat can really affect the organization. For instance, power outages and floods. If the organization is not situated in a flood area then these risks won’t cause any specific harm.
4. Risk assessment- This step informs the organization about the potential and probable outcomes of the identified risks/weaknesses. For example, what will happen if a hacker is able to find confidential company documents or can successfully enter the server.
5. Risk mitigation- This step involves assessment of feasible techniques for mitigating risks and finding out the alternatives. Management needs to review all the threats and devise a solution for preventing them. For instance, in a flood area related organization companies need to find ways for elevating the structures.
Baseline reporting- It includes the recording of whatever is going on within the organization’s network at areas where threat is not detected. It is important to prepare a baseline report for comparison’s sake in future since whenever the server gets compromised this report will help in making the comparison.
Software programs- Companies can develop software for minimizing the number of attacks.
Port Scanners: These scan all TCP/IP ports and evaluate the ones that are open and those which are easily exploitable.
Protocol Analyzers: These help in monitoring network traffic, and if it set on the correct filter, can find out what information is required, otherwise the information will be difficult to manage.
Vulnerability scanners: These inspect the entire system and identify weaknesses.
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