A vulnerability assessment refers to the process of identifying weaknesses in an information system. A vulnerability assessment identifies risks and vulnerabilities in computer networks, applications and hardware whilst providing a level of severity to those vulnerabilities.
Following the assessment, security experts collect the information needed to analyse and prioritise risks for potential remediation.
There are 4 main types of vulnerability assessments. These include:
Assessing critical servers which are vulnerable to attacks.
Network and Wireless Assessment
Assessing policies and practices on private or public networks to prevent unauthorised access.
The process of identifying sensitive data across an organisation’s infrastructure. Assessing databases or big data systems for misconfigurations.
Finding Security vulnerabilities in web applications using automated scans on the source code.
As a CREST and OSCP-approved provider, every vulnerability assessment we conduct follows a stringent and systematic methodology based on best practices.
Each assessment adheres to the following framework, which we work through in chronological order:
Phase 1: Identify
Scans to identify vulnerabilities in IT systems and networks. Our security experts will test the health of applications, systems and servers using automated tools or manual testing.
Phase 2: Analyse
Distinguishing the cause of the vulnerability by identifying the system components responsible for each one. By finding the source and cause of the vulnerability, this step then provides our security experts with a clear path for remediation.
Phase 3: Prioritise
This step involves assigning severity levels to each vulnerability found through scans and tests. Our security experts will prioritise vulnerabilities for remediation based on risk. For example, which data is at risk, which systems have been impacted, potential damage & the ease or severity of a potential attack.
Phase 4: Remediate
The process of mitigating each vulnerability. Our security experts and operational staff will perform updates and introduce new security tools and procedures. Where necessary, the development of a vulnerability patch could be required. Having regular vulnerability assessments and scans is an effective way to keep on top of remediation actions.
Although vulnerability assessments and penetration testing services are closely linked – in the fact that they aim to assess exploitable vulnerabilities in your systems – they actually serve distinct purposes in protecting your organisation from cyber threats.
A vulnerability assessment is an assessment – often using automated technology – that scans for potential vulnerabilities in your systems. A penetration test is a manual examination by a cyber security specialist that aims to mimic a real cyber attack by attempting to ethically hack into your systems.
Penetration tests are often carried out once per year to provide a thorough hands-on assessment of your networks, while vulnerability assessments are performed more regularly to continuously identify and remediate vulnerabilities.
Performed at regular intervals
Reports on potential vulnerabilities in your systems
Usually performed once per-year
Hands-on simulation of a real cyber attack conducted by a cyber security expert
Provides detailed advice for remediation of identified vulnerabilities
Vulnerability Assessment tools automatically scan for existing and new threats that can target your organisation. The different types of tools include:
1. Protocol Scanning – Scans for vulnerable protocols, network services and ports.
2. Web Application Scanning – Testing known attack patterns.
3. Network Scanning – Discovering stray IP addresses and suspicious packet generation from a single IP address.
Regular and automated scans of IT systems will feed into the organisations ongoing vulnerability assessment process.
Bruce & Butler are committed to providing expert vulnerability assessment services to organisations across a broad range of sectors. Our dedicated cyber security experts combine industry-leading technology with decades of experience to ensure your infrastructure remains secure.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our vulnerability assessment service can help you.