Assessment tools refer to a variety of software and hardware solutions designed to analyze the security protocols of a network, identify vulnerabilities, and recommend appropriate remediation measures. These tools play a critical role in securing enterprise networks against potential cyber attacks by thoroughly examining existing security policies and configurations, identifying weak points, and recommending changes to policies or infrastructure to enhance security.
The following are some of the ways assessment tools are used to secure a network:
1. Vulnerability Scanning: Assessment tools often perform a comprehensive scan of network infrastructure, identifying known vulnerabilities. The tool may scan for outdated software or firmware versions or scan for open ports, protocol weaknesses, and system configuration risk factors. By scanning for vulnerabilities, the IT team can focus on remediation strategies that are most practical and optimized based on the scale or complexity of the identified weaknesses.
2. Penetration Testing: Penetration testing, also known as pen-testing, involves simulating a cyber attack scenario on a network to identify potential weaknesses. Pen-testing may incorporate both automated and manual testing procedures to simulate various cyber attack scenarios. Penetration testing is a valuable security tool as it provides insights into the network's ability to fend off vulnerability exploitation attempts.
3. Auditing: An auditing feature analyses the network's existing security protocols and configurations and provides a report on the areas that require further attention. This process may involve reviewing configurations, policies, and user accounts to identify misconfigurations and other security gaps.
4. User profiling: An essential aspect of network security is establishing user authentication and access protocols. Immediate blocked access of unauthorized network prompts allows business owners to proceed with caution, and users must verify their access before accessing sensitive data points. User profiling identifies typical user behaviors or anomalous behavior using historical system logs and records to indicate the motive or identity of possibly compromised users.
5. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM): SIEM aggregates relevant security information across the network and continuously monitors network traffic to identify unusual behaviors or activity patterns. Any potential threat activity is analyzed, and relevant parties notified of a breach. Insight into network trends and monitoring key indicators help to improve threat mitigation awareness, even before a security breach can occur.
6. Intrusion Prevention System: An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is an in-line security tool that monitors network traffic for suspicious activities, such as malware distribution and unauthorized access. IPS utilizes traffic shapers to segregate user traffic and monitor the network traffic load to establish policy breaches. Once identified, firewalls are activated for the protectorate of compromised areas until the team implements remediation measures.
In summary, assessment tools provide security teams with real-time insights into network security weak links and assist with developing an incident response plan to monitor, mitigate and report on security threats. Besides, these tools provide data-driven reports that highlight the delinquencies of existing security frameworks and protocols, helping IT teams focus on improving areas requiring additional attention.