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How Do Experts Find Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities?

Methods to find cybersecurity vulnerabilities

Cybersecurity is like an individual’s health: until something goes wrong, it’s taken for granted. However, given the recent string of attacks happening almost every day, we now know every organization must recognize the vulnerabilities in their infrastructure and how to fix them. Let us take a look at how experts find cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the various methods used. Because if you don’t find vulnerabilities in time, the attackers will!

Approach to Find Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

First, select the cybersecurity framework that is either mandatory, frequently used in your sector. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework is one such example. It outlines five capabilities companies must consider when creating a comprehensive security portfolio:

  1. Identify;
  2. Protect;
  3. Detect;
  4. Respond; and
  5. Recover

Recognize the Complete Infrastructure

It is necessary to create an exhaustive list of all assets you possess, from hardware (pen drives, servers, network hubs, and cloud space) to software (OS and other software installed on these systems). It is essential not to miss a thing because it might affect your IT assets in the future.

The first step suggested by experts as part of discovering cybersecurity vulnerabilities is to maintain a record of every asset of the company and periodically conduct a thorough audit of the condition of these assets.

Such an inventory list helps you detect security vulnerabilities that pose a threat because of obsolete software, existing bugs, and exploited vulnerabilities from other incidents. Next, it also gives an overview of your IT footprint and the exposure surface you are dealing with. Each surface or component (Network, cloud, server, IoT device, etc.) poses different risks, and they will require different turnaround times to fix.

Importance of Audits to Find Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

As a rule of thumb, every auditing expert suggests that you must ensure your goals are clearly defined to conduct an exhaustive security audit. Having too large of a focus often leads to cracks, through which important details might be missed.

Hence, experts recommend that internal teams should perform multiple short audits with a single focus rather than a single audit with multiple points of focus. A general checklist includes the following questions:

 

  • What is the purpose of conducting this security audit?
  • What are you hoping to find? (Against compliance such as NIST or CMMC)
  • How will the results benefit your company? (come up with decisive actions)
  • What scope are you preparing to cover using these audit results? (Results of the audit or actions proposed must fulfill specific goals or requirements)

Find Strengths and Weaknesses

The next step is to find the strengths and weaknesses of all the components listed in the infrastructure inventory. You can either ask your internal team to complete an exercise or ask your Managed Security Services Provider (“MSSP”).

 

The testers will pose as cyber attackers with a single purpose: to break down the infrastructure. They have to test everything. But it is crucial to choose proper tools that might block the network and mess up the assessment. You should not use a sledgehammer to crack a nut or use a bazooka to kill a fly! Only very few tools are customizable and meet the requirements of networks, especially if the Internet of Things (IoT) and other connected devices are in the picture. There are several methods by which to conduct such tests:

  • Bring a certified ethical hacker to run the penetration test;
  • Conduct a comprehensive Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) using an application;
  • Simulate a hacking environment to exploit a known weakness or discover new ones; and
  • Run targeted Red Team Assessment (“RTA”) tests. The goal of RTA, unlike pen testing, is to test the organization’s detection and response capabilities. This method is often used to test either matured applications or networks.

Strategizing  The Defense Posture

Although this topic isn’t necessarily about finding vulnerabilities, let us cover this here since it’s the next immediate step after the tests, as mentioned above. Now that you have a record of all devices you own, know which of them have known or are prone to vulnerabilities, and have the VAPT/RTA results that provide improved insight, let us put the steps into action.

First, define a cyber defense framework wherein you have to set cyber security goals for the organization. Within this framework, you should:

  • Set goals for overall network security;
  • Prioritize the points that need to be protected;
  • Understand your primary threat sources; and
  • Define and allocate your cybersecurity protections strategies and resources.

Following this, you must select a source that feeds you new and emerging cyber threat intelligence so that you can refine and monitor your strategies. This is where an MSSP brings a considerable advantage.

Alliant Cybersecurity can provide strategic, tactical, technical, and operational intelligence to prepare against potential cyber-attacks. The intelligence also consists of comprehensive insights into all possible consequences in a simple format. Even non-technical parties, decision-makers, and the cyber team can take action on them.

Alliant Cybersecurity Advantage

Alliant Cybersecurity was incorporated exclusively to strengthen the American SMBs by improving their Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, and Operational Risk Management Posture.

Being a dedicated cybersecurity services provider, we have a team of dedicated experts who can offer all the above services. The Alliant Cybersecurity advantage is that we understand the SMB market better than anyone. We, as alliantgroup, have been offering dedicated services to the SMB market for almost two decades now.

You can begin now with a free VAPT assessment before 31st December. Book your slot today!

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