There has been a steady rise in online hacking and cyberattacks in recent years. The repercussions of an online attack or breach can be substantial, especially for small businesses. According to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance, about 60 percent of U.S. small businesses that suffer a cyberattack go out of business without six months. While a business cannot always anticipate a network security issue, they can establish certain protections to minimize these threats. A network security assessment is one such measure used to detect potential risks that threaten a business.
What Is A Network Security Assessment?
A network security assessment is an essential component of any solid business security plan. This type of audit is used to identify vulnerabilities that could compromise an organization’s network security. These vulnerabilities are generally grouped into three main categories: external, internal and social.
Conducting regular network security assessments can help businesses locate the source of the security gap and better understand how assets may be affected and how to protect against attacks.
The Types Of Network Security Assessments
There are more than 11,000 known vulnerabilities commonly found in business systems and software, according to the Common Vulnerabilities and Exploits (CVE) national database. Not all types of network vulnerabilities should be approached in the same way. Businesses should first consider their current security posture and assess the maturity of existing security controls.
There are several types of network security assessments designed to meet the unique needs of businesses that want to understand better where their business stands in terms of network security and protection. The three main types of network security assessments include the following:
A vulnerability assessment is a complex process of identifying risks and vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, hardware and applications. Data collected through a vulnerability assessment can provide security teams and stakeholders with the critical information they need to analyze and prioritize security risks.
While conducting a vulnerability assessment, various types of tools may be leveraged to provide more insight, such as vulnerability scanners, which can help identify potential flaws or threats within an IT infrastructure. These assessments often enable organizations to identify threats and weaknesses in IT security early on and before hackers have the opportunity to take advantage of these vulnerabilities.
Vulnerability assessments can also provide other key benefits, including assistance with compliance issues. Conducting regular network security assessments can help businesses meet cybersecurity compliance and regulatory requirements for areas such as HIPAA. With the clear and concise information gathered from a network security assessment, businesses are better equipped to prioritize IT security fixes.
A pen test, short for penetration test, is a type of cyber-attack that is simulated on a computer network or system to check for potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Pen testing often involves the attempted breaching of individual applications to determine if specific security gaps exist that cybercriminals could leverage to gain access to a system, steal confidential information or corrupt essential business files. Insights gathered from a pen test can be used to enhance IT security policies.
Penetration testing generally consists of five main stages. The first stage of the process is the planning phase, in which test goals are defined and intelligence is collected. Next, scanning tools are used to help businesses understand how a target can respond to possible intrusions. Cyber attacks are then staged to uncover the target’s vulnerabilities.
Application protocol interfaces (APIs) may be imitated to determine if a vulnerability can be used to gain access to the system. With the test results, a business can learn how vulnerabilities are exploited, what data was accessed and the amount of time a tester was able to remain undetected in the system.
An IT audit is a comprehensive evaluation of an organization’s information technology infrastructure, operations and policies. A business may choose to conduct an IT audit to determine if company data and assets are protected and if IT controls align with business goals.
The primary goal of an IT audit is to establish if information-related processes and controls are working properly. This process involves evaluating the systems in place responsible for securing business data, determining the risks to a business’s assets and ensuring that information management processes comply with all relevant IT policies, laws and standards.
Reach Out To Learn More About Our Managed IT Services
No business is completely invulnerable to network security threats. That is why conducting regular network security assessments is vital for companies in all industries. Learn more about the different types of network security assessments or speak with an experienced managed IT service provider at SeaGlass Technology by calling 212.886.0790 or schedule a consultation online.