What a Vulnerability Assessment Shows and How It Can Save You Money
A study by the Infosecurity Magazine reveals that almost 60% of data breaches were due to an unpatched vulnerability in an organization’s network. In Singapore, the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) can impose legal penalties ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000 in an event of non-PDPA compliance attendant a data breach. To add, the average ransom cost in a ransomware attack can go as high as $170,404!
In essence nearly 60% of the data breaches and corresponding financial cost suffered every year could be easily avoided by simply implementing a vulnerability management protocol. Regardless of the nature of your business, what a vulnerability assessment shows might just be what’s standing between your company and a financially draining malware attack.
But first, what exactly is a Vulnerability Assessment?
Vulnerability assessment, also known as vulnerability scans, is a set of procedures that identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and applications.
Its main objective is to assign severity levels on discovered weaknesses to accurately recommend a remediation or mitigation measures whenever needed. The principle is usually associated, if not confused, with penetration testing. To know more about the difference between the two, click here.
A vulnerability assessment is usually carried out by IT experts through hands on manual testing but thanks to advances in technology, there are now automated vulnerability scanners (software) which might be perfect for your company set up.
How does it work?
- Discovering your organization’s assets – proper documentation of your company assets pertaining to data handling is the first step. These may include; laptops, desktops, smartphone, and other devices that connects and disconnects to your networks, and cloud based infrastructures or integrations such as third party software.
- Vulnerability identification and analysis – this is where the security of your applications, servers, and systems is tested. Of course, this process dictates what a vulnerability assessment shows- the cause, the nature, and the potential impact of discovered weak spots.
- Remediation – the process ends as internal security team work on closing and patching security flaws discovered. The best way to go about this is to address the most critical vulnerabilities first as you update and configure system security changes.
“Does my business need a vulnerability assessment?”
Generally, yes. With the enactment of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), adherence to the law and regulations of privacy data management now applies to big companies and SMEs alike. Also, good cyber hygiene practices transcend beyond mere compliance- it is crucial in ensuring that your organization will not be taken aback by financial damages in the event of a cyber attack.
If your business encompasses the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data, then all the more reason to adapt this procedure. By analyzing what a vulnerability assessment shows, any archived data/record is protected even before a cyber threat occurs.
And finally, to settle the age-old question:
How often should a vulnerability assessment be undertaken?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the frequency as this would be dependent on factors affecting your conduct of business- e.g., the volume of data you collect, use, and disclose; the state and condition of your assets; and how your employees practice cyber hygiene.
However, it is understood in the cybersecurity landscape that vulnerability assessments shouldn’t be a one-off activity. You have to remember that what a vulnerability assessment shows is merely a snapshot of your system’s state at a particular time.
It is important to note as well that malicious hackers are in the constant prowl for vulnerabilities and weaknesses to exploit. Thus, to keep your organization in a proactive defense approach, we are recommending a regular quarterly assesment.
Prevention is always better than cure. Conduct a vulnerability assessment today to avoid financial losses tomorrow!