How a vulnerability management program can help identify cyber risks

According to research by Deloitte, only 25% of organisations are scenario planning to defend against the onslaught of cyberattacks.

The key take out there is that if you don’t know where your risks are you can’t really defend them. 

The constant evolution of technology, systems, software and hardware are by its very essence vulnerable. There’s no way to avoid that. The challenge, however, is not knowing where the vulnerabilities within your system are. 

Enter vulnerability management. 

In this blog post, we will highlight how a vulnerability management plan can help you in identifying cyber risks for your business but to also map out an effective procedure for how your business should respond in the case of a cyberattack. 

Let’s start by defining what this term actually means. According to techopedia: ”Vulnerability management is a security practise specifically designed to proactively mitigate or prevent the exploitation of IT vulnerabilities which exist in a system or organisation.”

In fact, a well-planned vulnerability management program will: 

  1. Identify and catalogue your hardware and software assets.
  2. Conduct regular vulnerability scans for any new system weaknesses.
  3. Help track important metrics that will help you build a holistic picture of your network over time. 

Let’s take a look at how each of these elements can help you identify potential cyber threats.

  1. Identify and catalogue all hardware assets. 

According to the Centre for Internet Security (CIS), which is an NPO that focuses on public and private sector readiness and provides guidelines and frameworks for how organisations can and should respond, this entails the process of managing your entire businesses hardware assets. 

This usually takes the form of cataloguing each item and ensuring that only authorised devices have access to your systems. This process should highlight which devices are not authorised and should not have access to your network. 

  1. Identify and catalogue all software assets.

This is another control as identified by CIS. The process is much the same except you need to catalogue and identify all of your software assets. This process needs your IT department to ensure only authorised software is installed within your network and that any unauthorised software is identified and prevented from being installed. 

  1. Conduct regular vulnerability scans.

This process sees you scanning your entire IT infrastructure for threat and vulnerability detection. 

There are a host of tools that can be used to do this: 

Alternatively, you could schedule a call with one of our security experts right ? here.  

A vulnerability scan will discover and report on any threats that were detected, as well as provide suggestions on how to remove those threats. 

In conjunction with vulnerability scanning, it’s common to complement this with penetration testing. A pen test has the ability to identify different threats to your systems. 

Penetration Testing 

It is often thought that penetration testing is quite a risky procedure, as you’re essentially agreeing to open up your network and its systems for deliberate exposure. Of course, this is heavily controlled and conducted in a secure manner to prevent any damage.

This test has the ability to pinpoint weaknesses in your systems that would otherwise go unidentified. It can also identify the damage a potential cyberattack could cause to your security infrastructure, but also what a breach could cost your business.

The insights that can be collected from a single penetration test have the ability to inform strategic decision making, it is seemingly worth the “risk” (a term we use cautiously here).  

READ: Your 6-step guide to “penetration testing” for better security

Key Takeaways

We are great believers in a highly proactive approach to your security strategy. We’re living in an era where cyberattacks are on the rise which means attacks are more a matter of when not if. 

We believe that the steps outlined above will give you a fighting chance to protect your business, but also ensure you’re always one step ahead of those looming threats.  

It’s important to note that with the constant software updates that are needed along with system configurations you will need to conduct vulnerability tests fairly frequently. Your vulnerability assessment should always consist of clear information about the threats that were found along with a clear plan of action as to how your team will overcome these.  

Vulnerability is something we cannot escape. But we can plan, test, collect data, assess that data, and develop a sound cybersecurity strategy that addresses those areas of weakness head-on.

A cybersecurity expert dedicated to protecting organisations against the digital risks associated with digital transformation.

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