Identifying your small to severe security risks with vulnerability assessment

Vulnerability assessment as the name suggests is a process of systematically reviewing security weaknesses in an information system. Identifying the system if susceptible to any known vulnerabilities assigns priorities to them for addressing. Recommends remediation or mitigation, if and wherever needed.

This assessment provides the in-depth knowledge, awareness and background to understand and respond to the threats present in the environment of any organisation.

Types of vulnerability assessments

There are several types of vulnerability assessments, which includes -

1. Host assessment - Assessment of servers against vulnerabilities that may lead to severe attacks when left unattended.

2. Network and wireless assessment - Assessment of policies and practices to prevent unauthorized access to network resources.

3. Database assessment - Assessment of databases for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, identifying rogue databases or insecure environments and classifying sensitive data across an organization's infrastructure.

4. Application scans - Assessing the web applications and their source code by scanning on the front-end or static/dynamic analysis of source code.

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Knowing exactly how vulnerable you are is always a better choice than assuming that you are vulnerable to a cyberattack because with assumptions you can not plan the prevention. Hence a vulnerability assessment helps in testing some or all the systems as per the assessment goal and generates a detailed vulnerability report. Which can then be used to fix problems and avoid intrusions. 



Benefits of conducting regular vulnerability assessments:


1. Identifying the loopholes in the security before attackers find them.

2. Ready inventory of all the network components with their purpose and system information. This also includes vulnerabilities associated with a specific device. 

3. Ready inventory of all the devices in the organisation with the planning of upgrades and future assessments. 

4. Risk assessment of the existing risk on the network.

5. Easy establishment of the risk/ benefit curve for optimized security investments. 



How is vulnerability assessment done?


The vulnerability assessment process consists of the following steps:


1. Identification - This phase focuses on listing the application's vulnerabilities. Scanning all the network components using automated tools and manually evaluating to make a complete list of vulnerabilities present. 


2. Analysis - Identifying the source and root cause of the vulnerabilities identified in the previous phase. 


3. Assessment - Once the risks have been identified, it is important to prioritize them according to the impact and risk associated.  


4. Remediation - All the experts from the security, operations and development join hands to remediate each vulnerability. 



Once the process is completed doesn't mean that it is done forever. Every day new vulnerabilities are getting detected hence it is advised to repeat the step at regular intervals. 



What after vulnerability assessment?  


The Vulnerability report generated is a documentation of the risks in the organisation's network, that need to be worked upon with the exerts for determining which vulnerabilities require a simple patch and which need to be addressed seriously with in-depth remediations. 


This will lead to the next steps in the p[rocess like penetration testing, vulnerability management and overall risk management before setting goals for the next vulnerability assessment.


Vulnerability assessment informs on the weaknesses and loopholes present in the security of an organisation and guides in mitigating the risks emerging due to these weaknesses. For reducing the security risks, vulnerability assessment is a good choice. We provide a thorough, inclusive assessment of hardware and software. It is advised to conduct a regular assessment of the organisation’s system to assure safety from the attacks.

Why Vulnerability Assessment?

Threat Identification

Timely and consistent identifications of the weaknesses


Quick actions to patch the gap and protect sensitive data

Compliance Ready

Meeting the regulations and compliance

Data Protection

Protection against data breaches and unauthorized access

What Illume Offers
  • 1. Early identification of the risks before getting exploited.
    2. Inventory of all the devices on the network along with their vulnerabilities.
    3. Inventory of all the components with the suggestions to mitigate them.
    4. Assisting the internal IT team in risk prioritization.
    5. A comprehensive report that includes a summary of the assessment scope, methodologies used, identified vulnerabilities, their severity ratings, and recommended remediation actions.
    6. Assistance and consulting services to the internal IT team for the remediation process.

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Vulnerability Assessment (VA) refers to the process of identifying risks and vulnerabilities in the organisation's network, devices, applications and other parts of the IT ecosystem. Conducting a VA helps to determine the security posture of the environment and the level of exposure to threats. VA will identify vulnerabilities by evaluating if the system has the proper controls in place as they were designed and meant to be implemented. Vulnerability assessments are critical for vulnerability management and IT risk management lifecycles, helping protect systems and data from unauthorized access and data breaches.
The scope and approach of vulnerability assessment and penetration testing are a bit different although they share similar goals of identifying vulnerabilities. VA has a broader evaluation that focuses on identifying vulnerabilities across systems, networks, or applications. It may involve automated scanning tools to discover vulnerabilities. Whereas penetration testing is simulating real-world attacks to actively exploit vulnerabilities and assess the impact of successful exploitation.
Every organisation has unique requirements for the VA depending upon various factors like how often changes are happening in the infrastructure, the size of the IT infrastructure and more. Generally, VA is required when
1. Before launching a new system or application.
2. Replacing or upgrading the current system or application.
3. Changing the system or application’s remote access requirements for the user base.
4. Once previously identified vulnerabilities are remediated (i.e. retest).
The frequency of vulnerability assessments depends on various factors such as the size and complexity of the environment, the rate of system changes, the organization's risk tolerance, and regulatory requirements. The regulatory compliances recommend performing vulnerability assessments regularly, with intervals ranging from quarterly to annually. However, critical systems or those subject to regulatory compliance may require more frequent assessments.
Yes, vulnerability assessments can be performed on cloud-based systems, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) environments. Cloud-based systems should be evaluated for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations to ensure their security.
VA generally takes 1-2 weeks for scanning followed by 1-2 weeks for analysis and report preparation. There may be some waiting time for VA to start. The sample timeline for consideration is as

Preparation from Requester
1. Confirms readiness checklists are up-to-date
2. Provides account credentials
3. Arranges for a snapshot of all servers to be taken
4. Communicates that all servers and applications in VA scope are frozen (i.e. absolutely no work should be done while VA is taking place)
Week 1: VA testing by the assessor
Week 2-3: Scanning and report preparation
Remediation by the requester and their team
VA service providers use various methods to prioritize vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact. Common approaches include the use of vulnerability scoring systems such as the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), which rates vulnerabilities based on factors like exploitability, impact, and ease of remediation.
Remediation of all the findings as listed in the VA report is the responsibility of the requester and their team. All remediation efforts must be documented by the Requester.
Generally, we provide recommendations for remediation once the VA is complete. These recommendations may include technical steps to mitigate vulnerabilities, best practices for secure configurations, and suggestions for ongoing vulnerability management. However, the actual remediation process is typically the responsibility of the organization or its IT and security teams. In case additional support or consulting services to assist with the remediation process are required, our team of experts is available.
We recommend and conduct a retest once the remediation is completed to assure fixing of all the issues.