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Still Performing Old-school Vulnerability Assessments? Here’s What You’re Missing
Businesses live or die based on their IT infrastructure. No company can afford to underestimate the danger that a single network breach or hardware failure can cause. We’re talking about major downtime, disrupted productivity, missed targets, and unhappy clients turning to your competitors for faster solutions.
Vulnerability assessments are crucial to identify and mitigate IT risks. Innovators leverage cutting-edge technology to deliver assessments that protect companies against potential issues on a daily basis. But if you’re still performing old-school vulnerability assessments, you could be making your business more susceptible to problems than it has to be.
Here’s what you’re missing.
A proactive approach to mitigating risks
One of the most important reasons old-school vulnerability assessments are so dangerous is that system changes can render them irrelevant within a matter of hours. For businesses which still conduct annual assessments of their IT infrastructure, there’s a real danger that severe risks can be missed during those intervening months.
This encompasses different areas. First and foremost, there are cybersecurity threats to consider.
Your current security measures may become outdated between assessments and leave your business vulnerable to breaches by hackers. Research shows that in 60 percent of cases, vulnerabilities allowing unauthorized access could be fixed with a readily-available patch. On average, data breaches cost as much as $3.92 million on average.
Cybersecurity is one area of IT infrastructures which you must take seriously. Hackers’ methods evolve at a startling rate, forcing organizations to remain vigilant and take a proactive approach to their defenses.
Cutting-edge monitoring is ongoing. The latest security technologies mimic hackers’ processes and techniques to identify where action is required to combat breaches. This enables organizations to recognize the flaws of their current security and which steps are necessary to fix them.
Furthermore, cybersecurity vendors you work with are continuously evaluated to pinpoint when they fail to comply with your business’s security policies or when security levels change.
Old-school assessments just can’t live up to this level of insight and awareness. So much can change in the period between one check and another.
Third-party vendor monitoring
So much of modern business relies on third-party vendors. Businesses of all sizes utilize cloud-based solutions for everything from customer service and team communications to accounting. And that’s great, because quality vendors help organizations to streamline operations and automate time-consuming tasks.
But companies place a lot of trust in vendors to provide a safe, secure, efficient standard of service at all times. The best suppliers are committed to doing just that. But sometimes, some may fall short of expectations.
Running irregular assessments of suppliers’ activities and services means you may be unaware of any oversights or failures. For example, a supplier may have implemented changes that mean it no longer aligns with your internal security policies, but you have no idea of this because so many months have passed since you last checked.
Furthermore, you want to rest assured that all suppliers your business works with comply with official regulations and standards (such as GDPR or CCPA). Any failures here can leave you facing legal difficulties and potentially high costs.
The latest solutions enable you to create security and compliance questionnaires to find out how third-party vendors follow regulatory measures. They also help you to determine how suppliers align with your own policies. On top of all this, innovative solutions reveal gaps in security to suppliers to help them deliver a higher standard of service.
As a result, you can make better decisions about the brands you work with and avoid unnecessary legal challenges that can be so damaging to your credibility.
A heightened awareness of technical issues
Cybersecurity is far from the only danger an inefficient IT setup brings. If your hardware is outdated and overdue an upgrade, you could be at risk of technical failures. This is especially problematic if you store data on-site and never take advantage of cloud backup. You would be unable to recover crucial information and work in the aftermath of a disaster, such as a fire, flood, theft, etc.
And that brings all manner of problems. Employee, client, and financial data may all be exposed. Workflows would be heavily affected, reducing productivity and customer satisfaction. Significant financial impact could leave your business unable to keep operating as required.
Ongoing vulnerability assessments can determine how suitable your hardware and applications are for your business purposes. Old-school assessments conducted once or twice a year might not bring relevant issues to the surface until it’s too late. Leverage the latest assessment methods and technologies to protect your company against the risk of technical failures.
Understanding human error
Sadly, the people driving businesses are capable of making mistakes. This can be as simple as forgetting to update a password for a tool regularly or deleting a valuable field of data. But whatever the specifics, human error can make a sizable impact on a company’s security and performance.
In Canada’s legal and financial sectors, human error is cited as the biggest cause of data breaches, and a single mistake could open the door for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your network.
New vulnerability assessment solutions can incorporate human behavior to help recognize possible flaws, and help businesses take action to reduce their risk. For example, software and processes which have the potential to be confusing to users may be revised. Alternatively, training can be implemented to educate staff on software for greater peace of mind.
Old-school vulnerability assessments simply don’t offer the comprehensive insights which successful businesses need today. It’s not enough to check systems occasionally and trust them to work. Companies must take advantage of real-time data and detailed overviews to understand what risks they face in the digital age.
At The Driz Group, our expert team offers ongoing vulnerability assessments, penetration testing and third-party risk assessment as a service to identify issues with your infrastructure and protect your data accesses by third-party suppliers. This helps to remediate core IT risks and achieve maximum efficiency.
The Importance of Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Management
Cyber security breaches are not a passing trend and the potential threats caused by cyber criminals are real, and on the rise. Especially when taking into consideration the cyber security predictions of 2017.
Because there is so much at risk in the face of solving a security vulnerability, there are just as many reasons as to why continuous vulnerability assessment and management is important. Read on to learn the reasons why it's a must-have for any business.
According to welivesecurity, "When a new vulnerability is reported, it triggers a race against the clock between the various people involved."
This creates quite a bit of stress and puts a heavy workload on the shoulders of the IT department. The fact is that when a vulnerability is uncovered it must be solved in a timely manner to decrease the opening for exposure. This usually means that IT resources are spent around the clock.
Without previous assessment and management of vulnerabilities, you might go above your human resources budget creating another set of problems. Unexpected and increased manpower expenditures are not the only concern when it comes to ways a cyber-attack can cost your company money either.
Having a Continuous Vulnerability Assessment in Place can Save your Company's Reputation
Besides the reasons of time, money, and resources, something else to think about is your company's reputation. Customers do not feel confident trusting a company that cannot keep itself safe from hackers, which can lead to taking their business elsewhere or not using your products or services in the first place. When you market online you should also worry about the overall online reputation management (ORM)to protect your public image, and companies like Reputation Mart could help.
Keep in mind that most if not all security breaches are publicized. So preventing any issues your company may have pertaining to cyber security will either be spread by word of mouth or in the news.
If you aren't aware of the problems your company has, putting it at risk, you can't fix them. Therefore, you're essentially making your business and your customers a target for cyber criminals who are just waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Keeping up with Technology is Important in Order to Stay Ahead of Cybercriminals
Technology is ever-changing and evolving and companies need to do the same with their security measures if they want to keep up. This is why Tripwire reminds organizations that "security is an ongoing process" and "companies should, therefore, strive towards continuous vulnerability scans to pick up on those constant changes."
By implementing a vulnerability assessment that is automated and completed on a continuous basis, (it cannot be just a one-time thing as threats will continue evolving) you'll be able to see where your company is at risk and prioritize what needs to be taken care of first. As your company grows, automation becomes more important as it helps to keep your IT team efficient and ahead of any potential network security threats.
As you can see, having a continuous vulnerability assessment and management process in place is imperative. Because it will keep your company and customers safe. It will not only prepare you for the future which in turn will save time, money, and valuable company resources, but it'll also help to protect the company's reputation.
Vulnerability Assessment must not be limited to cybersecurity and should include physical security to better understand and mitigate the risks. There are many security companies that can help your business including pollarissecurity.com
Prevention and preparation for any potential online security breach are the best things to have in this day and age.
Steve E. Driz, I.S.P., ITCP