You’ve been asked for a Vulnerability Assessment Report for your organisation and for some of you reading this article, your first thought is likely to be “What is that? “
Worry not. You will find the answer to that question in this article.
As it’s likely the request for such a report came from an important source such as the Board, a partner, a client or an auditor, there isn’t a moment to waste. Let’s get on with it.
What is a Vulnerability Assessment Report and why do you need one?
A Vulnerability Assessment Report is simply a document that illustrates how you are managing your organisation’s vulnerabilities. It’s important because, with tens of thousands of new technology flaws being discovered every year, you need to be able to prove that your organisation does its best to avoid attack if you want to be trusted by partners and customers.
A best security practice recommended by governments across the world, a vulnerability assessment is an automated review process that provides insights into your current security state. This review results in the vulnerability assessment report. It is a guide to better security readiness. This report identifies the specific risks that your organization faces due to technology used and shows how to mitigate them.
The help it offers is obvious, but why do you need one? As mentioned above, it’s likely you were asked for a Vulnerability Assessment Report by the Board, a partner, a client or an auditor as each of these groups needs reassurance that you’re on top of any weaknesses in your infrastructure. Here’s why:
— Customers need to trust you
Weaknesses in your IT systems could affect your customers’ operations. A vulnerability within a company can cause a whole host of problems, such as the SolarWinds hack that occurred last year.
It doesn’t really matter how small or large your company is, if customers are going to trust you with their personal data they might request a Vulnerability Assessment Report. This will confirm your IT security measures.
— The Board wants a better understanding of the business’ risk
Cyber security is a growing concern across many businesses, so chances are your board members want to take a better grip of their risk, before the lack of insights into vulnerabilities is turned into a much more serious business problem. With ransomware attacks regularly making headlines, having proper vulnerability management in place and presenting an “all clear” report, can give your business heads that needed peace of mind.
— Your auditors are checking for compliance
Many of the regulatory or compliance frameworks related to security and privacy, like SOC2, HIPAA, GDPR, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS, advise or outright require regular compliance scans and reporting, so if the request for a vulnerability assessment report was made by your auditor, it is likely to be for compliance purposes.
— Your CFO is renewing your cyber insurance
It could be the case that your insurance provider is seeking a vulnerability assessment report as part of the underwriting process. If you don’t want to run the risk of being denied your insurance payment or wouldn’t like to see your premiums rise, then you could benefit from supplying these reports regularly.
How often are you required to prepare a vulnerability assessment report for your organization?
Regularly. Think of it like vulnerability scanning: For maximum efficacy, you need to conduct regular, if not constant, comprehensive evaluations of your entire technology stack, otherwise you could miss something that could bring your business to a costly halt.
Cybercriminals do not stop searching until they find something they can take advantage of. It is important to continuously scan your system and to have current reporting in order to show your vigilance.
Modern vulnerability scanning solutions, like Intruder, will give you a cyber hygiene score which enables you to track the progress of your vulnerability management efforts over time, proving that your security issues are being continuously resolved in good time.
|A vulnerability assessment report from Intruder, to provide evidence to your customers or regulators that a vulnerability scanning process is in place.|
What should be included in a vulnerability assessment report?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all report. The contents will generally reflect the amount of vulnerabilities found in your system at any given time. However, different stakeholders may require different levels of detail. Vulnerability assessment reporting requirements for compliance can vary.
As a good rule of thumb, we recommend building an Executive Report containing graph views and composite cyber hygiene scores for the Board and C-Suite that clue them in on where they stand at any given moment. Your IT staff will need more detail in their reports, such as the steps to correct existing problems or avoid making mistakes.
Where can you get a Vulnerability Assessment Report from?
Ensuring that your Vulnerability Assessment reports contain the information and elements your stakeholders need can be a time-consuming task. This can cause security personnel to become distracted from more important activities. That is why it’s recommended to choose an external provider to produce your reports.
Before you begin comparing vendors, ensure you are familiar with your technical environment as well as the outcomes you expect from the vulnerability assessment. Because vulnerability assessment tools can check for different kinds of weaknesses and are built differently, you should make sure that the vendor you choose is the best fit. Consider the features and checks you’ll require, as well as the industry standards you need to follow and your budget.
Two key elements to consider relate to reporting: firstly, how flexible the assessment provider will be with how much detail is presented (particularly if you need to present data to different audiences); and secondly, how clearly the results are communicated. Although scanning results may seem overwhelming, the right vendor can help you understand complex security data without using jargon.
Intruder reports are easy to understand and maintain all technical details required by IT managers, DevOps, and other teams. You can create rapid reports and compliance papers, communicate with your employees, potential investors, and keep them safe, no matter if you are a large enterprise or an emerging startup. Intruder offers a free trial of its software, which you can activate here. Get vulnerability assessment reporting in place now.