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What Is a Vulnerability Assessment & How Do You Find the Right Partner?

Feb 20, 2024

In a world of rising cyber threats, it’s never a bad thing to be more aware of your weaknesses. The best way to hone in on those weaknesses and build stronger defenses is to have a skilled cybersecurity partner perform a thorough vulnerability assessment.

Dyopath What Is A Vulnerability Assessment &Amp; How Do You Find The Right Partner?

More than 29,000 new vulnerabilities were published in 2023, marking a serious challenge for security teams. A vulnerability assessment, then, can help your organization make necessary adjustments to protect itself from cyber threats.

In this article, we’ll explore what a vulnerability assessment is, some of the main reasons to consider one, and what to look for in a cybersecurity partner.

What Is a Vulnerability Assessment?

A vulnerability assessment is performed by cybersecurity professionals to identify security weaknesses in your organization. This usually involves carrying out a scan to identify known vulnerabilities.

The tool you use will then generate a report of these vulnerabilities, which you’ll review together with a security consultant to figure out the next steps.

What Comes After a Vulnerability Assessment?

A vulnerability assessment allows you to pinpoint key areas of risk, but that’s only the beginning of the process.

Next, you’ll want to find out if those vulnerabilities are actually in danger of being exploited by criminals. There are several different ways to approach this. Let’s take a look at two of the main types:

  • Red teaming is where your cybersecurity partner essentially roleplays as an attacker. They attempt to exploit your organization’s vulnerabilities in any way they can, putting themselves in the mindset of a malicious actor.
  • Penetration testing, often shortened to pen testing, involves carrying out a simulated attack on your organization, adopting the same tactics and tools that cybercriminals would use.

Both approaches have the same goal: to expose the same vulnerabilities that a real attacker would be hoping to find and exploit. Once your organization’s vulnerabilities have been identified, you can start taking steps to repair them.

When Do You Need a Vulnerability Assessment?

A vulnerability assessment can be an excellent way to tighten up your defenses, eliminate some key threats, and build a more robust and compliant organization. But how do you know you need one? Let’s explore a few key reasons your company should consider a professional vulnerability assessment:

  • Regulation compliance. Increasingly, businesses are required to comply with rules to ensure the privacy and security of their assets and information. Cyber attacks and data breaches can compromise that information, landing organizations in legal trouble on top of everything else. A vulnerability assessment helps minimize this risk.
  • Your IT infrastructure. The size and complexity of your IT infrastructure might indicate if you need to undergo a vulnerability assessment. Typically, the bigger and more complex your systems, the higher the risk of vulnerabilities. This is especially true if you have a large online presence or work with sensitive data.

Company data. If your company handles sensitive, confidential, or otherwise high-risk data, the stakes are much higher when it comes to cybersecurity. Regular, in-depth vulnerability assessments are necessary if you work with, for example, customer data, financial records, medical information, or intellectual property.

Dyopath What Is A Vulnerability Assessment &Amp; How Do You Find The Right Partner?
  • Your cybersecurity track record. A previous cybersecurity attack or data breach — if no action was taken afterward — means there are weaknesses in your security infrastructure, which could indicate a much higher chance of future recurrences. If you’ve experienced prior preaches or paid ransoms in the past, you’re more likely to be a target.
  • Third-party requirements. Your clients or partners may have their own security requirements in addition to your own, such as undergoing a vulnerability assessment. It may also simply be good practice to give them peace of mind and retain their trust.
  • Changes in your IT environment. New systems, tools, applications, and updates to your IT infrastructure could make it more vulnerable to attack. Regular vulnerability assessments can quickly address any issues that may have arisen from your latest update and help make sure you’re always protected.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to cybersecurity. If you’re unsure if you need a vulnerability assessment, the right partner can work with you to analyze your existing security measures and perceived threats and determine whether your company could benefit from having one performed.

Is a Vulnerability Assessment Enough?

A vulnerability assessment can be a powerful tool, especially combined with techniques like red teaming and pen testing, helping uncover key risks and throwing light on the security areas you need to prioritize.

However, a vulnerability assessment alone isn’t enough. It’s best to think of a vulnerability assessment as one of many essential pieces in a complete security strategy. Another crucial element is a skilled and experienced security partner to help you interpret the results of your assessment and guide your next steps.

The right partner can help you distill the results of your assessment into clear actions, giving you and your team direction. Without this expert guidance, you might find yourself overwhelmed, confused, and just as vulnerable as you were when you started.

How to Find the Right Vulnerability Assessment Partner

When it comes time to find the right cybersecurity partner to perform your vulnerability assessment, you have many options. Here’s how to find a partner that’s a perfect fit for your company:

  1. Establish your needs. To determine what you need in a vulnerability assessment partner, make a list of the security practices you already have in place. What threats are you facing? What are your short- and long-term security goals? Knowing what you need can help you weed out the partners who can’t meet those needs.
  2. Think long term. The best vulnerability assessment partner is one you can build a long-lasting relationship with. This will allow them to get to know your organization — and its vulnerabilities, strengths, priorities, and goals — on a deeper level and develop and nurture an effective, long-term security strategy.
  3. Find a partner with a strong reputation. Your chosen partner should have solid credentials and a good reputation. Consider reaching out to former clients to learn about their experience, and be sure to read online reviews.
  4. Talk to a few options. Don’t be afraid to court a few potential partners before making your final decision. Once you’ve whittled down your shortlist to your most promising options, get in touch with them to dive a little deeper and ask specific questions about how you might work together.

Even once you’ve settled on a vulnerability assessment partner, continue to assess them. Watch how they handle your first few assessments to get a clear idea on whether you want to keep working with them or should consider someone new. 

The DYOPATH Solution

At DYOPATH, we can provide a tailored vulnerability assessment, helping you take a proactive approach to identifying and addressing the weak points in your organization.

Contact us to find out more and get started.