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What is cybersecurity assessment, and what are the types of cybersecurity assessment?

What is cybersecurity assessment, and what are the types of cybersecurity assessment?

The fourth industrial revolution has led to a sheer amount of technologies and advantages in the form of global digitization, which is creating an expansion in business productivity, revenues, and user, customer experiences. Nevertheless, every opportunity comes with adversity, and here the increased number of technologies and networking has raised the cyberattack by a considerable number.

In 2020, the average cost of a cyberattack was $3.86 million, and it has been estimated the information security market will reach $170.4 billion in 2022. In this surprising security breach era, organizations must implement robust security checks and adequately assess their internal and external environment through appropriate cybersecurity assessments

But, before opting for any security assessment, it is important to understand what cybersecurity assessment is, how many types of cybersecurity assessment does the cybersecurity industry offer, and what testing diversity do they provide?

What is a cybersecurity assessment?

A cybersecurity assessment is a process of evaluating security controls to examine the overall organization’s security infrastructure. This includes validating the organization’s preparedness against the known and unknown vulnerabilities, attack vectors in the digital cybersphere, and business process in order to engage the remediating steps to lower the risk and attack surface. Overall, security assessments help track the systems, applications, and network flaws and help implement appropriate defensive controls and keep the policies up to date.

The cybersecurity assessment scope varies and depends upon the business nature, objective, organization size, and the compliance business adhere to. With a suitable assessment, an organization can identify its cyber weaknesses and strengths and develop an appropriate roadmap to prioritize and resolve them.

A strategized cybersecurity assessment helps the organization in being proactive. It is important for organizations to foster the business with proper security measures and a better understanding of risk and threats by evaluating the following components:

  • Current assets (includes application, network, systems, data, etc.)
  • Business compliance with the relevant security ordinance
  • Vulnerabilities present in the assets
  • Identify the attack surface.
  • Potential threats and risks on assets
  • Assets’ cyber resiliency
  • Assets prevention cost with proportion to assets cost

Cybersecurity assessment can be done internally with a dedicated cybersecurity team or third-party cybersecurity services provider. As a trusted cybersecurity partner, ioSENTRIX provides various types of cybersecurity assessments. As there is no one size fits all, we assist businesses in securing their environment according to their niche, requirements, and demands with a customized assessment approach.

What are the different types of cybersecurity assessments?

In the cybersecurity domain, various types of assessments help reduce the cost of breaches and enhance defense capabilities. In the era of highly sophisticated cyber-attacks, organizations of all sizes (SMB or large enterprises) must take the precautionary step to mitigate the risk and improve overall resistance.

Following are some of the types of cybersecurity assessments with different approaches that serve distinct objectives under one goal, i.e., prevention of cyber-attacks.

Remember: The cybersecurity industry offers comprehensive to customized assessment activities. The below-mentioned types are important cybersecurity assessments that businesses should perform according to their needs and circumstances.

Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability Assessment is the most performed security test in the cybersecurity industry. VA is automated testing and done within a limited scope to track down the security bug, or flaws present within the assets (assets could be application, network, infrastructure, codes, data, etc., depending upon the assessment objective). In it, flaws are categorized based on their risk on the business.

It is frequently done to keep track of open paths and vulnerabilities in software, network, etc. and release patches or updates.

Understand key points about vulnerability assessment here.

Penetration Testing

Penetration Testing involves the exploitation of categorized security flaws found in the vulnerability assessment. It is an in-depth method of exploiting vulnerabilities to test an organization’s security posture through the malicious attacker’s perspective. The categorized flaws and bugs are mostly chained up or often used alone to validate how the organization can be hacked or breached or how any attacker can launch an attack if he found the open vulnerabilities.

It is performed as a proactive approach to identify security gaps and often to meet compliances and regulations.

Pentesting can be performed from three approaches:

  • Black-box Pentesting: It involves breaking into the assets testing from a malicious hacker perspective who has no internal knowledge, access, or data.
  • White-box Pentesting: It involves testing the assets with most of the internal information and access (such as malicious insider or employee’s perspective and privileges)
  • Grey-box Pen Testing: It involves testing of assets with partial internal information and accesses.

Learn more about what is penetration testing and why you need it?

The cybersecurity industry offers a variety of penetration testing based on the assets categories. The pentest types include:

  • Web-application Penetration Testing
  • Mobile Application Penetration Testing
  • Network Penetration Testing (It can be performed separately on the external network and internal network)
  • Cloud security penetration testing
  • Embedded devices penetration testing
  • IoT/IIoT Penetration Testing
  • Thick client Penetration Testing
  • Thin client Penetration Testing
  • Virtual Appliances Penetration Testing

Compromise Assessment

Compromise assessment is a high-level security testing performed to identify the traces of being breached. This is done by reviewing infrastructure and connected end-points logs, traffics, and activities to discover IoCs (Indicator of Compromise). On a specific note, the compromise assessment helps hunt down the attacker who has been active in recent history or residing in the current environment.

It is also conducted before the merger and acquisition to meet compliance and regulations and often annually as a proactive security approach.

Read about Compromise assessment or Penetration testing- What to choose and why?

Social Engineering Assessment

Unlike any technical or technological security testing, social engineering assessment involves manipulating the human mind through misleading or deceptive information. In social engineering, the security professionals impersonate themselves in order to push individuals or employees to perform specific tasks such as download any attachment, open a suspicious link, or giveaway sensitive credentials or data.

This assessment aims to check security awareness and identify missing security components, security education, and culture within the company.

Social engineering assessment offers a broad spectrum to test organization security culture, employees, or individual training and awareness. Some primary social engineering techniques are:

  • Phishing
  • Spear Phishing
  • SMShing
  • Vishing
  • Tailgating

Red Teaming or Red-Team Assessment

Red teaming is a step forward with vulnerabilities identification, exploitation, and beyond penetration testing. It is a full-scale attack that involves simulation of cyberattacks, including lateral movement, to maintain the foothold into the internal and external environment and escalate the privileges while going undetected.

In red-teaming, an attack campaign is strategically developed to test the organization’s defensive capabilities. To analyze the organization’s overall offensive and defensive security posture, red teaming examines the security culture standpoint by testing employees via physical and virtual social engineering attacks, network and application resilience tests through various penetration testings. In it, the defensive and detection tools are manipulated, too, to bypass security measures while going obscure.

It involves targeting people (i.e., employees), facilities (i.e., IT controls, e.g., firewall, SEIM, etc.), and the organization security culture to validate how well its defense controls can withstand and shield against a real-life adversary from all aspects.

Cloud Security Assessment

A cloud security assessment is performed to evaluate the cloud posture according to the cloud service provider’s best practices. This focuses on identifying vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure and mitigating them via various access control management and appropriate security and governance levels.

On a specific note, cloud security assessment is used to identify risks and threats on the overall cloud-based assets. It helps determine the weak entrance and access point to the cloud infrastructure. The cloud security assessment is absolute for enterprises utilizing SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS ( Infrastructure as a Service), or PaaS (Platform as a Service) model for their day-to-day operation.

Third-party Risk Assessment

A third-party risk assessment or vendor risk assessment is performed to quantify the associated risk that the organization’s third-party relationship can impose. It is usually done while outsourcing any services or product to evaluate risk based on the shared information, direct, indirect, or remote access to any of the critical assets.

Understand the necessity of third-party risk assessment and the right approach to perform it.

Risk Assessment

A cybersecurity risk assessment is a process of mapping risks and threats on vulnerabilities identified through penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, social engineering assessment, and other cybersecurity assessments.

Risk assessment solely evaluates the critical, non-critical assets and risk surfaces that can be potentially affected through cyber-attack or any other cyber incident. It helps to verify security measures and safeguard the internal and external environment against security threats and attacks. With a proactive approach, risk assessment can help organizations prepare incident response plans and outline risk remediations.

Security Audit

A security audit is the technical assessment of organization policies and controls. Where other security assessments focus on finding vulnerabilities and strengthening security and defensive possession, the audit focuses on mapping an organization’s current security posture with security industry standards according to business and security requirements.

It is conducted annually to meet security compliances and company policy requirements such as HIPAA, SOX, PCI DSS, etc., and occasionally to keep track of business security status.

Bug Bounty

A bug bounty is considered a continuous security assessment and is usually misinterpreted as a replacement for application penetration testing. Many organizations and software development companies are adopting it. In bug bounty, bug hunters or independent security researchers discover vulnerabilities and exploitable bugs in the software, website, or other open company’s assets and report them to the concerned/relevant organization in exchange for recognition and financial compensation.

Learn about the differences between Bug Bounty and Penetration Testing- What to do and when?

CIS Control Assessment

CIS Controls and benchmark assessment helps organizations of all sizes to follow and incorporate security industry best practices. It allows the businesses to assess, compare and track their documentation, implementation, and missing security configuration to improve the overall security presence.

It is performed to evaluate the assets from the inventory stage to incident readiness and response.

Application Security Program Assessment

This assessment manages to implement security in the overall application or software development to reduce the security skill gap, manage resources, and integrate security into the software development life cycle (SDLC). This is specifically a handful in sustaining extensive application development and designing from the initial requirement gathering stage to the final delivery stage. It helps software and app-development businesses to build secure applications/software from scratch through Secure Architecture Review (SAR) to Threat Model and Secure Coding Practices.

Application security assessment program effectively mitigates the risk and vulnerabilities in the initial development stage with continuous security maintenance strategies through penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, patch management, etc.

Understand how to achieve application security with a secure development lifecycle (SDLC)? through our detailed blog.

Ransomware Simulation Assessment

Ransomware simulation assessment helps organizations analyze the impact of a ransomware attack, i.e., how far the consequences of a successful ransomware attack the organization would have to face, what is the Mean Time To Detect (MTTD), and what’s the Mean Time To Respond (MTTR). It evaluates the defense capability to prevent, detect, respond and contain ransomware.

Ransomware simulation assessment is usually carried by third-party resources to test the organization’s blue team readiness and employees’ security awareness level.

Incident Response Readiness Assessment

An incident response readiness assessment is performed to evaluate how well an organization is prepared to combat the cyber-attack and depreciate the damage. It provides a technical and fundamental attack-driven analysis to calculate the response capabilities to stand against the malware, viruses, and other attack vectors upcoming from advanced threat actors and state-sponsored attackers.

Similar to ransomware simulation assessment, this is also carried out by third-party resources to evaluate the organization’s preparedness, current security controls, and defensive abilities.

Table Top Exercises (TTX)

Unlike other cybersecurity assessments, tabletop exercise does not include any type of real cyberattacks or exploitation. Instead, it is a theoretical cybersecurity assessment meant to prepare the organization and security team for potential cyber threats under different realistic risks and security event scenarios. It helps determine the organization’s readiness and how effective their current plan is to respond to any real cyber adversary and benefits from grasping the best approaches to handling cyberattacks and threats.

This exercise is conducted through workshops, seminars, or a simple discussion with CISOs and other security experts. In short, tabletop exercise is a scenario-based cybersecurity assessment that facilitates preparing incident response plans, mitigating flaws, and recognizing the current gap in organization responses in particular cyber incident situations.

Final Thoughts

The cyber threats landscape is evolving every day with the advancement of attack vectors. It has become crucial to perform an appropriate security assessment to identify and close the open path with robust measurements. It is necessary to choose a suitable security assessment at the right time in accordance with your current business requirement.

The above discussed cybersecurity assessments are the most essential assessment which businesses must take under consideration, but as said above, one size does not fit all. It is necessary to have proper consultation with experts so you can choose the best of cyber hygiene for your business.

Contact us today to get on board with our consultants. We will guide you in choosing the relevant security assessment to identify security health checks and gaps in your current infrastructure state. Our services range from application security assessment program to penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. We provide customized services to all kinds of businesses from startup to Fortune 500.