The 5 key IT security assessment types

Cybersecurity assessment types explained

Many companies are completely dependent on the digitization of their business operations. This makes them more efficient, but at the same time, it also presents a threat. Malware, spyware, unwary employees and hackers are persistently threatening business continuity.

An unfortunate trend is the increasing volumes of DDoS attacks. These are becoming increasingly simple and be purchased online for a few euros. However, those few euros are disproportionate to the damage that such an attack can cause for a company. This includes negative media attention, reputational damage and indeed the financial damage that comes from non-productive hours for employees. 

IT security assessments

Cybersecurity assessments or IT security assessments map the risks of different types of cyber threats. This is what makes these assessments a crucial instrument to guarantee operational business continuity. However, there are quite a few types of these security assessments and periodically a new one appears.

How do you know which IT security assessment is the best fit for your situation and what threats can these assessments help you to defend against?

In this article, we summarise five different IT security assessment types and explain briefly when to apply them.

1. Vulnerability assessment

This technical test maps as many vulnerabilities that can be found within your IT environment as possible. During the vulnerability assessment, testers look at the (potential) severity of a possible attack on each part of a system, as well as recovery options and scenarios. The outcome is a priority list of issues that should be addressed.

When to perform a vulnerability assessment?

This test is particularly relevant when not much has been done about security. The aim of the assessment is to fix as many defects as possible, based on a priority list, available budgets and time. Budgeting can also be determined after the Vulnerability Assessment has taken place so that there is always sufficient budget to solve a detected vulnerability.

2. Penetration testing

With the penetration test, a specific potential target is inspected. For example domain rights that could be hacked, but also customer or payment data that could be stolen, or stored information that could be altered by cybercriminals. The outcome of the penetration test will show whether the current security posture is sufficient or not.

When to perform the Penetration Test?

This is mainly used to confirm that the configuration of software, version management and local written code is safe. For this, several tests have already been performed in advance. This is a test at a higher level and for the best results, experienced testers should be used to perform the inspection.

White/Grey/Black-box security test assessments

The White, Grey and Black-box 'assessments' are part of penetration testing. The colours indicate how much information a tester has at their disposal. White stands for a test in which the tester has full access to the code, network diagrams and other relevant information. With a grey-box assessment that level of access and information is not complete, but only partly provided and available. A black-box tester has no prior knowledge about the system that will be targeted.

In the case of a black-box assessment, the tester acts like an external hacker that tries to find weaknesses using all sorts of methods and tactics. 

3. Red Team assessment

A Red Team assessment consists of a group of people who assess the security of company information. The Blue Team is responsible for securing this information. The Red Team is an independent, external group that challenges the Blue Team. The goal of a Red Team Assessment is to improve the effectiveness of the Blue Team.

It is important that the Red Team really is independent, so the Blue Team is put to the test and regularly exposed to the modern and constantly changing (unexpected) attack methods while monitoring the effectiveness of the team and cyber defences.

When is a Red Team Assessment relevant?

A Red Team Assessment is only useful for companies that apply advanced network security tactics. Moreover, this assessment only makes sense if the Blue Team installed is normally

4. IT Audit

An IT Audit charts whether the current configuration matches the desired compliance standard. This can be based on both technical aspects and documentation. So it does not really test how secure a network is. It only shows how people define security within a company. The result is a document that shows whether the compliance rules are met.

When to perform an IT Audit?

Audits are primarily instruments that demonstrate compliance. Often companies that are compliant are stricter on safety. However, an audit does provide proof of the level or quality of network security. 

5. IT Risk Assessment

A risk assessment determines the acceptable level and the actual level of risk. This cybersecurity assessment type analyzes 2 dimensions of risk: the probability and the impact. This can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively.

After the analysis, the team decides which actions should be initiated to mitigate the actual risk level to an acceptable level as much as possible. The IT Risk Assessment comes with a list of prioritized risks that should be mitigated and recommended actions. 

When is the IT Risk Assessment relevant?

In fact, 'risk assessment' is an umbrella term for mapping and identifying potential risks to the assets of a company and how the organization wants to protect those assets. This is why the risk assessment useful in many cases.

Reduce risk with a cybersecurity assessment

With a cybersecurity assessment, you accurately determine potential exposure to cyber threats. Which fits best with your company depends on the level of security and previous tests performed. Infradata advises you and is then able to perform and arrange IT assessments for you. Together, we bring your company's security policy to a higher level.

Discover our cybersecurity assessment

26 January 2021

Get in touch with us today

Do you want to learn more about this subject, or do you have specific questions? Give us a call or leave a message. 

Cyber Security

Today’s threat landscape poses a real risk to your sensitive data, profitability, and reputation. Discover our holistic, architectural approach to security.

Read more

Want to discuss your cybersecurity approach?

Get in touch with us today!

Share this page:

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.