7 Reasons to Use an Experienced Provider for Vulnerability Assessments

A network vulnerability assessment is the initial phase of any cybersecurity strategy. In the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, vulnerability assessments fall under the “identify” phase. They are designed to help organizations identify any gaps in their security posture and prioritize the activities needed to close those gaps. Because cyber threats are continually evolving, organizations should regularly review their IT environment in order to understand their risk exposure.

Cyber Security Assessment

Done improperly, however, vulnerability assessments can cause serious problems. They require the use of a variety of tools to scan systems and network devices, and often include simulated cyberattacks. If these tools are used incorrectly, they can slow down your network, crash servers, corrupt files or expose sensitive data.

While it may be tempting to conduct these tests with in-house staff and off-the-shelf scanning tools, that’s rarely a good idea. Here are seven reasons organizations should work with a qualified third-party provider instead:


Experience. Third-party providers will have gained significant experience working with vulnerability scanning tools for many other clients. They will also have teams of professionals with expertise in networking gear, server hardware, operating systems, databases and applications. In-house teams may lack proficiency in some of these areas.

Reduced risk. Providers will have well-established methodologies that help ensure security tools are configured and used properly. This reduces the risk of business disruption.

Impartiality. An independent team working in cooperation with your IT staff will create an external viewpoint that is essential to gaining an objective assessment. In-house security staff may approach the process with some apprehension, fearing that the discovery of any vulnerabilities will reflect poorly on the job they’ve been doing.

Compliance. Regulatory compliance often requires testing to be completed by accredited security professionals. For example, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires covered entities to have internal and external vulnerability tests run by an approved scanning vendor.

Better tools. In-house teams typically rely on off-the-shelf scanning tools. Some are very good, but they may require a great deal of manual input and provide conflicting results. A provider who specializes in assessments will use multiple, professional-grade tools to correlate data and minimize false positives.

Cyber threats are continually evolving - organizations must regularly review and assess their IT environment.

Time and costs. Working with in-house staff isn’t as cost-efficient as it would appear. They’ll need up-to-date, professional-grade tools — a significant investment. They’ll also have to spend a great deal of time training with the tools and configuring them for your environment. An experienced provider already has the necessary tools, expertise and manpower, allowing in-house staff to focus on their essential duties while the assessment is performed.

Documentation. Upon completion of testing, a provider will deliver a detailed report that describes specific vulnerabilities and weaknesses and potential regulatory compliance issues. Senior management can use the report to make decisions on policy, procedure, budget and operational changes.


GDS Network Protection Assessment

The GDS Network Protection Assessment consists of vulnerability tests from both an internal and external perspective. In the internal assessment, GDS scans one network segment to uncover weaknesses in technical controls protecting your IT assets from trusted sources. In the external assessment, GDS scans external IP addresses to identify network and protection vulnerabilities. Once the scans are complete, GDS will provide reports on detected vulnerabilities and their severity.

Regular vulnerability assessments help identify security weaknesses, raise awareness of new threats, and ensure regulatory compliance. However, it can be a time-consuming, expensive and risky undertaking. An experienced, third-party provider can alleviate those challenges and provide a deeper understanding of the current threat landscape. Contact the security experts at GDS to learn how our assessments can give you an objective view of your organization’s security posture.



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