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VAPT – Top Questions Answered for Better Decision Making

Posted by: MK CS Team
Category: Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing protects organizations against all attempts of internal sabotage or unauthorized access. By traversing every integration, entrances, and server configuration, VAPT ensures that all shortcomings, fake routes, or malicious codes are identified and removed.

The growing impact of a data breach has made the likes of Yahoo and Quora suffer, which urges small scale businesses with cardholders’ data to adopt measures that safeguard them against data breaches. The rising cost of a data breach is yet another reason to go behind misconfigurations and server errors rigorously.

Organizations are skeptical about investing in VAPT because

  • It involves external cybersecurity experts
  • Cybersecurity experts rely on third-party tools
  • Experts use paradigms that are unknown to the internal IT team
  • The results might expose desperate misconfiguration installed by key stakeholders

Every VAPT Question Answered for you

Attempts of unauthorized access and internal sabotage have coaxed enterprises into adopting VAPT practices. Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing is one robust combination that identifies and exposes all kinds of misconfiguration and routes created to provide unauthorized access. Organizations are willing to invest in VAPT but there are questions that keeps haunting them. Here we try to answer all such questions in brief.

1. Is VAPT necessary for every organization?

No, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing are not meant for every organization. Enterprises that are under great risk of suffering data breach are only required to conduct VAPT. ‘

Here are the same factors that will help you decide whether your organization is under risk or not:

Does your enterprise receive payment online?

Do you have a dynamic website that receives data from users?

Do you offer a third-party integration option to partners?

Do you have an online onboarding facility?

Is your business storing data on third-party cloud servers?

Do you rely on third-party vendors for protection against viruses

2. When should an organization conduct VAPT?

Well! Every organization must conduct a vulnerability assessment and penetration testing more often than not. While VAPT is important but it is the timing that matters the most. You might conduct penetration testing after getting compliant and it will reveal no results but try conducting such tests after removing third-party integrations and it will reveal hundreds of vulnerabilities.

You must conduct a VAPT after

  • Onboarding a new partner
  • Upgrading software packages
  • Making changes in hardware
  • Removing old API integrations
  • Suffering a minor glitch
  • Facing DDoS attacks, because they are generally distractions
  • Removing obsolete processes or paradigms

3. What does VAPT include?

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing includes multiple steps that are designed to run a thorough check and ensure the proper protection against external attacks. Some of the most important features of VAPT are

  • Network penetration tests
  • Identification of incorrect configuration in databases
  • Identification of errors in wireless networks
  • Finding unauthorized entities inside the system
  • Discovering databases protected with weak passwords
  • Fraudulent elements of plugins installed to carry out internal sabotage
  • Malicious script added to support hackers

4. Is VAPT conducted by third-party cybersecurity experts safe?

Yes! Cybersecurity experts that conduct VAPT are generally industry leaders who furnish various compliances like ISO and PCI DSS. Experts who have furnished such compliances year after year are a good option to go ahead with.

Any organization with a cumulative team experience of 30+ years is your go-to option, they not only ensure proper testing but also ensures:

  • No compromise on data security due to their practices
  • That all integrations are scanned and reported for errors
  • All routes placed desperately are identified and removed
  • All malicious codes are tested for the result before removal
  • Ushers your overall system towards better compliance

5. Is VAPT one time or a recurring event?

For organizations that do not store their data online or receive inputs from customers through their website, VAPT is a timed event and it is generally carried out when the infrastructure is developed.

For organizations like Fintech, E-commerce and Social Media platforms that store User-Generated Content and offer heavy third-party integrations, VAPT is an incessant event. Conducting VAPT on regular intervals helps them keep the attempts of a data breach under check.

By leveraging penetration testing, bigger organizations can stop hackers from garnering illicit benefits out of their platform. Social media platforms can stop malicious third-party integrations that steal users’ data.

6. Is VAPT a costly service?

The average cost of a data breach in 2020 is $3.9 million, which could the price you may pay if a data breach occurs. The price is an estimation that covers compliance failure fines, penalties by government, and expenditure on damage control.

No matter how expensive VAPT services are, they are certainly not going to cost you $3.9 million. The cost of VAPT depends upon several factors that include:

  • The size of your IT infrastructure
  • Number of third-party integrations you support
  • How frequently you update your hardware and software package
  • The size of the server and whether it is stored in the cloud or not
  • If the organization is compliant or not

7. What all are scanned during Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing?

The success of such assessments depends hugely upon the scanning tools or paradigms used. Scanning tools have pre-installed functions but they can be customized according to industry needs. Some of the top things they do are:

  • Credentials and non-credentials scan
  • Environmental scans
  • Scanning for external threats
  • Scanning for internal vulnerabilities

8. Is it Necessary to conduct VAPT after a Breach?

Breaches are often reported 2-3 months from the date they occurred, which leaves businesses vulnerable. One needs to conduct VAPT as soon as a breach is reported because there are huge chances that:

  • Hackers are still in the system
  • There are routes of unauthorized access
  • The malicious codes are still stealing cardholders’ data
  • An internal employee is assisting the breach
  • Antivirus packages are failing to identify such threats

By conducting VAPT as soon as a breach is reported, organizations can take their customer into confidence and announce the impact of a breach. Transparency regarding breach helps organizations get into the damage control mode and save the brand reputation.

9.Who should I hire for conducting VAPT?

Businesses are very choosy when it comes to hiring cybersecurity experts it is indispensable to pay attention when hiring an expert who could provide comprehensive cybersecurity expertise.

Here are the things to look for when hiring a VAPT expert

  • Their ability to look after compliance needs
  • Their overall offerings, see whether their services resonate with your needs or not
  • The cumulative experience of the team
  • Their experience of conducting VAPT

Cybersecurity that offers compliance services will conduct your VAPT following the requirements of the varied compliances like HIPAA and PCI DSS. Such expertise helps you prepare for the future while correcting the mistakes of the past.

10. What are the additional benefits of investing in VAPT?

Apart from helping organizations identify everything that is wrong with server configuration and third-party integrations, a detailed VAPT also:

  • Allows organizations to save themselves from compliance failure fines
  • Protects against all kinds of ransom attacks
  • Allows organizations to go for third-party integrations with confidence
  • Restricts all attempts of internal sabotage
  • Helps the organization correct course without putting the business on hold

11. What are the Common Methods of Conducting Vulnerability Assessment?

Dynamic Application Security Testing: Best suited for industries that operate onSaaS tools; this method traverses the network and systems looking for security defects or misconfiguration. The end goal of conducting Dynamic Application Security Testing aka DAST is to sanitize systems against errors that can lead to breaches.

Static Application Survey Testing: This is perhaps the most intricate way of conducting a vulnerability assessment. Through Static Application Survey Testing aka SAST, every line of code is analyzed for malware and errors. Any unidentified code is discovered and removed from the system.

Conducting SAST ensures that the system was never compromised or injected with unwanted surveillance or malfunctioning codes.

The prime difference between DAST and SAST is that the former runs the program to look for errors while the latter does not run any programs, just traverses the code for errors.

12. What is the difference between Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing?

While vulnerability assessment and penetration testing are complementary methods but not all organizations need them. Cybersecurity experts recommend vulnerability assessment and penetration testing to different organizations based on their cybersecurity risk and needs.

Features of Vulnerability Assessment

  • Has two different ways of conducting it
  • Uses automated tools like vulnerability scanners
  • Just a way of discovery errors or attacks that might have occurred
  • More or less a study that provides organizations with documentation of errors

Features of Penetration Testing

  • Is conducted regularly
  • Identifies vulnerabilities and exploits it to measure the robustness of cybersecurity
  • The primary goal is here to identify vulnerabilities and then test the system against those vulnerabilities

Final Thoughts

While compliance managed security services and secured coding practices are designed to protect organizations from a data breach but it is VAPT that guarantees hundred percent protection. By identifying and exploiting every vulnerability, VAPT helps organizations protect cardholders’ data in a much safer way.

Investing in VAPT pays dividends in the form of no events of data breaches or internal sabotage and it is undoubtedly the true measure of return on investment.

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