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How to Remove Network Security Vulnerabilities

If your business operated with trade secrets and you knew there was a way your competition could access those secrets, you would seal that hole. If you knew your proprietary information was at risk, you would fix the issue. Removing network security vulnerabilities is one of the best things you can do for the future of your business. Do not become part of the billion-dollar cybercrime epidemic. Remove network security vulnerabilities immediately.

Here is how to do it.

Perform a Vulnerability Assessment

The first step in removing network security vulnerabilities is performing a vulnerability assessment. Examine all network devices, access points to the network, and manufacturer vulnerabilities to provide a full view of the security landscape. After all, there is more to a security assessment than simply noting and performing virus or operating system patch updates on Windows devices.

Employees, vendors, and/or customers access the network from a variety of devices and points so assessing these groups’ knowledge of proper “cyber hygiene, ” and potential security problems are also part of a vulnerabilities analysis.

Vulnerability assessments are designed to identify potential risks and thus reduce the attack surface by addressing and sealing those needs.

The Vulnerability Assessment Process

Selecting to work with a company to perform a vulnerability assessment is the most efficient and thorough way of identifying system weaknesses. Most of the time these evaluations are a multi-day engagement. Hardware scanners examine the network, so expect to provide the company with full admin login credentials for ALL network devices and domains including SMTP for enabled devices.

Authorizations must be allowed and acknowledged in order to scan the network, specifically public addresses. The point of this assessment is to identify vulnerabilities. It must be completed thoroughly, or there is no reason to perform it. It can feel a little unnerving providing this level of access to the network so selecting a valued partner in the process is important.

The “Credentialed” Vulnerability Assessment directly inspects each discovered device and uses the device’s preconfigured credentials to access and compare the following for known security threats and vulnerabilities:

  • the device manufacturer
  • model
  • operating system
  • available patches
  • user configuration

For example, a vulnerability assessment or managed IT services company can determine if the Cisco router IOS version has known vulnerabilities. Through actions like viewing the Firewall configurations, they can determine if policies, settings, or IOS versions are vulnerable. This assessment applies to almost any network device discovered including Windows servers and workstations.

For the most accurate results, businesses should opt for performing internal and external vulnerability assessments. Internal assessments examine the network across all discoverable networks and domains behind the business’ firewall. External assessments focus on activity coming to the network, originating from the Internet (or from an Internet hacker’s point of view), outside of the Firewall.

Additional Vulnerability Assessment Expectations

Vulnerability assessments should detail discovered exploitable vulnerabilities, specifically those with associated exploits. The following summary reporting identifying vulnerabilities should be sorted by severity or assigning risk scores; include executive overviews; as well as (government, regulatory, and corporate) compliance, patch, and web application assessments.

For peace of mind, select a vulnerability assessment plan that includes:

  • asset discovery
  • configuration auditing
  • target profiling
  • malware and botnet/malicious, process/anti-virus auditing and detection
  • sensitive data discoveries

Look for a technology partner that has manufacturer specific plugins that support a variety of operating systems, network devices, virtualization, printers, routers, next generation Firewalls, hypervisors, databases, and web servers. Select a company that can uncover the business’ critical infrastructure for vulnerabilities, threats, and compliance violations.

Removing the Vulnerabilities

There are so many areas that are vulnerable within a network so providing instructions on remedying them is impossible until the full extent can be assessed. Sometimes, it is as easy as applying a patch to a known software vulnerability. Other times, it involves updating software or removing outdated versions.

The vulnerability assessment partner working with the business will explain the weaknesses and next steps. The assessment alone will not remove them, but you must identify the full potential damage before assuming a patch is all that is needed.

Finally, after the assessment and removing the vulnerabilities, it is essential to educate the staff so that good cyber hygiene can maintain the business’ newly-achieved strong network security rating.

If you would like to know more about CIO Tech’s Network Security Vulnerability Assessment, contact us today for a free quote.

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