Sunday, August 12, 2012

Improving IT Security with Vulnerability Assessments & Threat Intelligence


Threats to your IT & Network Security are growing daily; and these threats come from an increasingly large number of sources. These threats are real and have the potential to destroy your business. Luckily, there are ways to minimize these threats and even prevent future IT security breaches.

One of the first things to do is perform a network security vulnerability assessment. A vulnerability assessment will help you identify any potential threats and vulnerabilities currently being posed to your network. Network & IT security vulnerability assessments have become a standard best practice, and most regulatory groups recommend or even require institutions to have a policy or plan that include them. The publisher of the PCI-DSS set of requirements, The PCI Security Council, is among these regulatory groups that now require organizations to perform assessments on a quarterly basis.

Although this task seems very daunting, it can often be a painless and routine process. Many organizations and businesses are choosing to outsource vulnerability assessments and scans to reputable IT Security firms that can consolidate all these scans inside one easily accessible location that includes scan scheduling, report review, and remediation recommendations. Outsourcing helps reduce the load on in-house IT departments, and leaves this highly important task to security experts.

Perimeter E-Security(http://Perimeterusa.com), a leading IT Security and Network firm recommends the following 3 types of network vulnerability scans:

External Scans: External vulnerability scans utilize cloud-based scanners to perform scans on any external-facing devices. Scans completed from this perspective can help organizations understand what someone trying to break into your network would be seeing.

Internal Scans: Internal assessment scans are performed inside of your network, and will expose potential vulnerabilities that an individual would see if they are past edge devices. Scanner software can often be provided that will be installed on a virtual machine or dedicated device, and can even be loaded on an as-needed basis on a shared device.

 PCI Scans: A PCI scan is an external scan that includes the Statement of Attestation and Self-Assessment Questionnaire required by the PCI-DSS set of requirements. This scan also offers additional reporting including an overview of the current status of your PCI compliance, along with any additional areas that are currently out of compliance.

Going even further, Vulnerability Assessments are often offered as on-demand or managed services to fit varying budgets and IT plans. There will most likely be an option that is just right for the needs of your organization. Vulnerability assessments are critical to your IT security, and the best thing to do is start somewhere. If you neglect these security assessments, you could be leaving a gaping hole in your network that is just waiting to be exploited by intruders.

[Guest Author] Taylor Van Sickle is a web marketing specialist & digital designer, and frequently writes about tech, the web, marketing, & diabetes related topics. When he's not tearing it up on the web Taylor enjoys reading, traveling, and coming up with whacky ideas. (http://taylorvansickle.com)

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