The Real Benefits of Conducting Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT)

Wednesday January 24, 2018Print Page

An organization, regardless of its size, purpose and location is susceptible to cybersecurity threats. This is so, once an organization has data and operates in a networked environment.

The security landscape continues to show the growing incidence of security breaches, which is often due to poor or ineffective security measures and a reactive approach to risk management. As a result,numerous cyber incidents continue to be reported across multiple sectors worldwide. The 2017 Trustwave Report[1] disclosed that the retail, food and beverage, and finance and insurance industries were the most affected (22%, 20% and 14%, respectively), where the primary types of data targeted were card track data, card not present data (CNP), and financial credentials.Given that close to $4 million is the average cost of data breach[2], a reactive cybersecurity posture is likely to result in significant financial and reputational losses.

A shift to a more proactive approach to protecting data and the organizational infrastructure has become a necessity. This perspective will help to reduce risks and the high costs associated with recovering from a security and data breach.To be more proactive, an organization needs to acknowledge and accept that certain myths continue to put their data and information assets at risk. Some of the myths include that an organization is secured because:

  • a hacker is not interested in breaching the organization’s infrastructure because it is not well-known.
  • the organization has not experienced a breach in a long time, or has never experienced any intrusion.
  • the organization uses firewall and has up-to-date endpoint security systems.

However, no organization is immune, and as such, the adoption of industry standards, including a Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT), is a vital step in minimizing these vulnerabilities.The scope of a VAPT is generally informed by the industry and company’s requirements. It is usually carried out by an independent third party, for a specified period, to support an organization’s cybersecurity security mission.

A VAPT is a two-pronged proactive approach to strengthening an organization’s cyber defenses.During a VAPT, a detailed and comprehensive assessment of, and probe into the organization’s infrastructure is undertaken. Its purpose is to identify and evaluate security risks to correct and minimize these risks, where:

  1. the vulnerability assessment is used to identify different types of vulnerabilities (e.g. access control, configuration weakness) present. and
  2. the penetration testing is used to assess the organization’s susceptibility to intrusion. It simulates real-world attacks to identify various methods for bypassing the security controls and features in an organization’s infrastructure.

Periodic VAPT is typically recommended to actively strengthen an organization’s security posture.This approach facilitates the provision of clear and specific “early warning signals” about the applications, systems and network. In other words, the weaknesses in the infrastructure are identified before they can be exploited by intruders and malicious insiders. Additional benefits include, opportunities to:

  • identify and prioritize the organization’s risks;
  • minimize the likelihood of data breaches;
  • help to safeguard sensitive data and intellectual property;
  • improve compliance with industry and regulatory requirements (e.g. PCI-DSS, ISO27002, COBIT);
  • improve the reputation and goodwill of the organization; and
  • inspire customers’ confidence.

Some may view a VAPT as a costly endeavor, too intrusive or that it places a strain the organizational resources. However, these are largely misplaced. The cost and effort of securing a network against data breach pales in comparison to the cost and effort of cleaning up after a breach[3]. Thus, conducting a VAPT should be prioritized in order to protect an organization’s data and information assets.

Wilson Consulting Group (WCG) provides VAPT services to both government and private organizations at a competitive rate. Our key objective is to support you in improving your security posture by thoroughly evaluating threats and vulnerabilities to your applications, databases, systems and network environment. Our approach involves:

  • conducting real-life testing of an organization’s applications, databases,systems and devices to identify vulnerable access points; and
  • determining where resilience to internal and external attacks and breaches are weak.

Work with us and make the investment in strengthening your infrastructure.

[1]2017 Trustwave Global Security Report

[2]2017 Cost of Data Breach Report

[3]2017 Trustwave Global Security Report

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