The process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing the vulnerabilities in a system.
A vulnerability assessment is the process of defining, identifying, classifying and prioritizing vulnerabilities in computer systems, applications and network infrastructures and providing the organization doing the assessment with the necessary knowledge, awareness and risk background to understand the threats to its environment and react appropriately.
A vulnerability assessment process that is intended to identify threats and the risks they pose typically involves the use of automated testing tools, such as network security scanners, whose results are listed in a vulnerability assessment report.
Organizations of any size, or even individuals who face an increased risk of cyberattacks, can benefit from some form of vulnerability assessment, but large enterprises and other types of organizations that are subject to ongoing attacks will benefit most from vulnerability analysis.
Because security vulnerabilities can enable hackers to access IT systems and applications, it is essential for enterprises to identify and remediate weaknesses before they can be exploited. A comprehensive vulnerability assessment along with a management program can help companies improve the security of their systems.
Importance of vulnerability assessments
A vulnerability assessment provides an organization with information on the security weaknesses in its environment and provides direction on how to assess the risks associated with those weaknesses and evolving threats. This process offers the organization a better understanding of its assets, security flaws and overall risk, reducing the likelihood that a cybercriminal will breach its systems and catch the business off guard.