Vulnerability Assessment and Network Security

By: Vlad Sharoiko

A Network Vulnerability Assessment can:

  • Identify any potential security breaches a hacker could exploit
  • Analyze discovered vulnerabilities existing in the network
  • Provide a detailed explanation of the recommended fix for each threat

Despite the fact that most security measures are put in place to protect a network from the malicious outside world, many intrusion attempts are now happening from inside the organization. With the proliferation of laptops and handhelds, the possibility of an internal intrusion has greatly increased. For this reason, a complete assessment should be done with scanners located inside and outside the network to determine if potential issues exist in either place.

In addition, the reports generated should be structured for 2 levels of review. The Executive Report should represent a high level overview of the number of vulnerabilities detected, while the IT Department should receive a highly detailed report containing descriptions of each vulnerability and explanations of the fixes recommended for each one.

The key features of a Vulnerability Assessment are:

  • Automated scanning of internal and external network devices
  • Scan schedules customized to times of least activity on the network
  • Full SSL support to scan SSLized services such as https, smtps, & imaps
  • Smart service recognition to detect services moved to non-standard ports
  • Non-destructive scanning to avoid interruption of normal network activity
  • Complete reporting designed for 2 levels of review

A Vulnerability Assessment should be performed on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on network size and usage.

New vulnerabilities are discovered every day, including ones that can provide back door access through desktops or laptops already connected to the network. Even a configuration change or faulty upgrade can introduce an opportunity for breach that was not available a week ago. Testing and review on a regular basis can help discover potential issues and reduce the possible damage that can be done to the network, and in turn, the productivity of the organization.

The results of vulnerability assessment tools represent a snapshot of system security at a particular point in time. Although these systems usually don’t reliably detect an attack in progress, they can determine whether an attack is possible, and furthermore, provide information about what can be done to minimize the possibility of damage from an attack.

Many companies provide Vulnerability Assessments, but it is advisable to consult with multiple vendors prior to deciding who will be given access to the network. The key factor is whether you are comfortable with their experience level, and the type of reports that can be provided.

Vlad Sharoiko is the Director of Technical Services for Dicar Networks, San Jose, CA.

Dicar Networks, a network security solution provider base in San Jose, CA, is pleased to announce an addition to their staff that will increase their ability to assist in the planning and implementation of their security focus. Vlad Sharoiko, Vice President of Engineering for Barbedwire Technologies, will focus on designing security assessment programs that will help companies reduce the risks from either internal or external network attacks.

Mr. Sharoiko has an extensive background in network security, including design work on various network infrastructure projects. He has extensive experience architecting and installing network security products for large ISP environments and corporate customers. Prior to joining Barbedwire Technologies, Mr Vlad was a founding member of two successful internet startups, and had previous assignments with Beltelcom and Minsk Motor Plant in Belarus, where he was also involved in new product designs.

As a local provider of network security products, Dicar Networks can provide assistance with all phases of network design and installation, plus offer telecom and networking assistance. Dicar works with small and medium size businesses to provide a full range of networking services, with the goal of simplifying networks. Other services include security assessments, network audits, and technical support. Maintaining strong relationships with partners like SonicWall, Cisco, Adtran, & Barbedwire, Dicar is able to offer a full range of network management and support services, including anti-virus and anti-spam programs. All these offerings help companies increase the efficiency of their network while providing a good return on investment.

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