Reasons Why Every Business Needs a Routine Vulnerability Assessment
In today’s digital world, it is indispensable for businesses, small or large, to maintain the highest standards of security and prevent security incidents. To do so, businesses need to understand what vulnerabilities exist in their IT architecture vis-à-vis the fast-changing threat landscape, as well as the security risks facing them. All this is made possible by vulnerability assessments. Vulnerability assessment best practices require that these processes be regular and routine. Let us understand why in this article.
What Do Vulnerability Assessments Entail?
A crucial part of the risk management cycle, vulnerability assessments is a combination of 5 processes –
- Vulnerability identification/ testing
- Risk assessment
While the identification through vulnerability scanning is usually automated, evaluation and analysis are done manually by security experts.
Why Vulnerability Assessment Best Practices Require Routine Assessments?
Proactive Identification of Vulnerabilities
This is one of the biggest benefits of vulnerability assessment when done routinely. When you regularly conduct vulnerability scanning using automated tools, you can find all known vulnerabilities (SQLi, XSS, CSRF, malware, etc.), security misconfigurations, and weaknesses (weak passwords, un-updated parts, etc.) in your network, applications, third-party components, codes, perimeter systems and so on. You have the first-mover advantage in closing the vulnerability window before the attackers catch sight of it.
Time Intervals are Risk Factors
Say you conduct vulnerability assessments on a half-yearly basis and vulnerability scanning on a weekly basis. Or you conduct vulnerability assessments once, including remediation, and leave it there.
The business processes, the applications, devices, networks, etc. change in the current dynamic IT architecture. There are lots of moving parts. The several third-party components we use in applications such as chatbots and software, etc. keep evolving and updates keep getting released. So, a lot of changes in the interim along with a fast-evolving threat landscape and nature/ sophistication of attacks. A lot of vulnerabilities may have arisen in your IT architecture, the severity of vulnerabilities may have changed, and risks may have evolved.
In effect, the larger the gaps between vulnerability assessment, the more vulnerable you are. By regular vulnerability assessment, we mean
- Vulnerability scanning every day and after major changes in the systems or business processes
- Ongoing risk assessments and remediation
- Continuous documentation
- Quarterly or half-yearly security audits and pen-tests to evaluate and analyze vulnerabilities and their exploitability.
Ensures Change Management Processes Are Keeping Pace with Security Standards
Given the required dynamism in business processes for continued success and efficiency, massive transformations are constantly happening within the business and from the IT vendor’s end. You add devices, onboard and offboard new services, open ports, change business logic, and so on. System configuration changes. There are plenty of critical patches and updates.
By conducting routine vulnerability assessments, you can ensure that the dynamism of the IT and business landscape is not being achieved at the cost of security. On-demand vulnerability assessments after major changes help businesses understand the newly risen vulnerabilities and in turn, add greater context to their security incident response plans.
Minimizes and Eliminates Misconfigurations at the SDLC stages
Vulnerability assessment best practices also require that routine vulnerability scanning and assessments must begin at the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) stages. This helps businesses to ensure that misconfigurations and vulnerabilities are identified and remediated at the earliest possible. For instance, you will know if vulnerable pieces of code, frameworks, plug-ins, etc. are used, even before the application goes into production.
You can use the documentation from the vulnerability assessments to train developers in secure coding practices and the need to review source codes and the security architecture in development. Businesses that do so are more likely to have fewer vulnerabilities when the application goes live.
Dynamic Business Risk Definition in the Fast-Evolving Threat Landscape
Business security risks are functions of vulnerabilities, threats, potential impact, and threat possibility. The threat landscape is evolving at lightning speed and the attacks are getting more sophisticated with time. Vulnerabilities and their exploitability are changing too. So, by definition, business risks are dynamic. And it is critical to keep updating the business risk profile and risk mitigation strategies for heightened security.
Customer Assurance and Trust
Routine vulnerability assessments reassure customers and foster trust in your business. It shows customers that you care about data security and privacy. Businesses that are victims of data breaches face large-scale customer attrition. Battling this loss of customer confidence and trust is an uphill task for all kinds of businesses.
Learn more about Application Security Best Practices
Shifting Employee Mindsets
Regular vulnerability assessments and communication of results show your employees how serious you are about cybersecurity. Thus, helping you to transform their mindset about security.
Implementing the vulnerability assessment best practice of regularity empowers businesses to ensure agile identification and remediation of security risks and a robust security posture.
Originally published at https://www.indusface.com.