Vulnerability Assessment: An Indispensable Tool for Security – Types and Methodologies

Companies suffering from cybersecurity attacks and data breaches observe a 7.5% drop in their stock value, leading to a market cap loss of $5.4 billion. Therefore, it is crucial to regularly assess the security of your company’s database through vulnerability assessment to reduce the risk of a breach.

Vulnerability assessment is a testing process that systematically reviews a database to identify defects in the cybersecurity system. It also assigns a severity level to the detected vulnerabilities and recommends which ones require immediate mitigation. Using security vulnerability assessment, you can immediately locate security weaknesses in your organization’s environment and eliminate the risks on time.

To ensure the vulnerability assessment identifies all risks, the process is divided into different types. Continue with the blog to learn in detail about the types of vulnerability assessment, what is the importance of vulnerability assessment, and its process.

Types of Vulnerability Assessment 

Vulnerability assessment in cybersecurity is divided into multiple types to ensure it accurately detects critical flaws and misconfigurations.

Network-Based Vulnerability Assessment

A network-based vulnerability assessment is a comprehensive analysis of an organization’s network infrastructure, specifically focusing on its entry points, to identify and address security vulnerabilities. This assessment is designed to swiftly detect any weaknesses that could potentially lead to privacy breaches or unauthorized access.

A network-based vulnerability assessment can be done manually by experienced professionals or through automated software. The latter minimizes the risk of human error and ensures a more thorough evaluation.

Network entry points serve as gateways for cybersecurity threats, making them prime targets for malicious actors seeking to disrupt operations or gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. The assessment process involves scanning all network systems and devices connected to the organization’s infrastructure. It also includes analyzing system configurations and installing software to identify any potential network openings that hackers could exploit.

One crucial aspect of a network-based vulnerability assessment is the evaluation of password strength. This assessment helps organizations avoid authentication issues by testing the robustness of their passwords and identifying any weak or easily guessable credentials.

This assessment is an effective method for identifying and mitigating network-based vulnerabilities. By examining network infrastructure, entry points, system configurations, and password strength, organizations can proactively address security loopholes and enhance their overall cybersecurity posture.

  • Unpatched Software and Operating Systems: This is the most common cause of network breaches, as hackers can exploit unpatched software to gain access to sensitive data. They can also use it to launch malware and ransom attacks.
  • Insecure Wireless Networks: Unprotected wireless devices can provide access to hackers to launch a cybersecurity attack.
  • Lack of Encryption: Without data encryption, attackers can easily interpret confidential information.

If you regularly run network-based vulnerability assessments in your organization’s environment, it will deliver feedback on any cybersecurity flaw in your system. Therefore, you must install a security patch and reduce the risk of threatening activity.

Web Application Vulnerability Assessment

Web application vulnerability assessment is conducting a complete scan of all web applications installed on the system to learn how they interact with each other. Applications are tested separately for flaws to minimize and mitigate cyber risks before the app is approved.

Web applications have complex source code, and their constant interaction with multiple networks makes them ideal for hackers to gain unauthorized access or launch an attack. Hackers can easily exploit the high accessibility level of web apps and manipulate the code to create vulnerabilities.

The web application threat and vulnerability risk assessment distinguish vulnerabilities in a web app. It also provides an executive summary report that offers a complete overview of the test to show the identified risks and their priority levels.

The web application vulnerability assessment tests applications for these vulnerabilities:

  • SQL Injection: It allows attackers to place malicious code in the SQL statements, which authorizes them to read the database, modify it, and execute administration-level tasks.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): It is a type of injection attack through which hackers can inject malicious scripts into secure and trusted web apps. When users open a compromised app, the malicious code hijacks their accounts and spreads webworms (self-replicating malware).
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): It allows attackers to manipulate users and force them to perform state-changing requests, such as fund transfers, email address changes, and more. If the CSRF victim is an organization or app administrator, this attack can compromise the entire web application.

Wireless Network Vulnerability Assessment

Wireless network vulnerability assessment identifies security risks that can arise from wireless devices, such as Wi-Fi routers, Bluetooth, and geo-location devices. This vulnerability assessment process highlights weaknesses that can compromise the overall health of your operations systems. It also tests the organization’s access points to highlight whether you have sufficient authentication and encryption.

The wireless network vulnerability assessment should be repeated at regular intervals to assess newly connected wireless devices and configuration changes. It is crucial to conduct this assessment regularly, as constant use of a wireless network enables physical security controls to bypass and access your systems. Consistently running wireless assessment can timely alert you about the hacker’s presence in your system.

Database Assessment

Database assessment aims to determine weaknesses in database security to ensure whether it requires an upgrade. Databases are highly complex as they are generated from millions of lines of code, modules, and other communicative components. As a result, they are susceptible to vulnerabilities that can provide hackers ample opportunities to introduce malware secretly.

Moreover, some vulnerabilities can even arise due to errors in configuration and unsuitable management practices. Therefore, database assessment is important to identify and fix security risks timely.

  • Privilege Abuse: This vulnerability arises if too many privileges are granted to most database users. Data assessment monitors group user activities to ensure they are not mishandling the stored information.
  • Configuration Abilities: This vulnerability is introduced when new databases, accounts, or procedures are installed in the company’s infrastructure. Therefore, the assessment process reviews newly generated password policies and auditing policies to measure their effectiveness.

Host-Based Assessment

A host-based assessment is carried out to identify any vulnerabilities present in individual host systems, such as servers, containers, pods, workstations, and laptops. A scanner is installed on host-based tools to detect missing security patches and outdated software. You can perform it manually or use an automation tool to get 100% accurate results.

Secure Configuration Assessment

A secure configuration assessment comprehensively analyses network parameters and systems configuration to detect vulnerabilities that a hacker can exploit. Therefore, this assessment scans operation systems, networks, and databases to identify missing security patches.

After the assessment, you receive a complete report of cybersecurity weaknesses and recommendations on resource allocation. The report also stresses which issues are the most critical to ensure you can keep your network infrastructure secure at all times.

Vulnerability Assessment: Methodology

Wondering how to conduct a vulnerability assessment?

Follow the cyber vulnerability assessment approach.

This initiative will help you conduct a competitive threat and vulnerability examination and meet specified evaluation security objectives. If you don’t strictly follow all methodology steps, it will result in the loss of valuable resources and inadequate protective measures against malicious threats.

You can use these vulnerability assessment best practices to highlight security gaps in your organization’s IT infrastructure:

Determine Critical and Attractive Assets

To effectively safeguard your business, it is crucial to gain a comprehensive understanding of your company’s ecosystem, specifically identifying the networks and systems that play a vital role in your operations. Once you have identified these critical components, you can segment them based on their importance, allowing you to prioritize the protection of high-risk assets.

Cyber attackers often set their sights on data that is essential for your business operations and can potentially harm your reputation. Consequently, it is imperative to conduct vulnerability assessments tailored to these critical assets. By doing so, you can identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses within these systems, enabling you to implement appropriate protective measures to mitigate risks and enhance your overall security posture.

Conduct Vulnerability Assessment

There are two main approaches to conducting a vulnerability assessment: manual assessment and automated tools. Manual assessment involves a thorough review of system code, log files, and configuration files to identify vulnerabilities. This method requires expertise and attention to detail to uncover potential security flaws and weaknesses.

On the other hand, automated tools can significantly streamline the assessment process by actively scanning external and internal systems for threats. These tools assess various aspects of your network infrastructure and provide a comprehensive analysis of susceptibilities. The results are presented in a detailed report, outlining the severity of each vulnerability and the potential ways hackers can exploit them.

For your most critical servers, systems, networks, and databases, additional analysis is necessary to assess any security weaknesses. This entails conducting real-time scenario testing, penetration testing, and vulnerability scanning. These techniques identify any perceived security flaws and provide a more accurate assessment of your assets’ resilience to potential threats.

You can manually conduct a threat vulnerability assessment or use automated tools to actively scan your entire network for security flaws and weaknesses. For a manual assessment, you need to review the system code, log files, and configuration files for vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Analysis and Risk Assessment

Identifying the source responsible for the security weaknesses through the vulnerability assessment is crucial for effectively addressing the identified issues. Understanding the root cause of each vulnerability enables you to take coherent and accurate steps toward remediation. To determine the severity and source of each susceptibility, the following criteria can be utilized as a measure:

  • The data at risk of a cyberattack
  • The affected network or system
  • The severity of possible cybersecurity attacks
  • Expected damage in case of an attack

Now, you can use the right mitigation tools to reduce the impact of potential internal and external cyber threats.


Remediation involves taking proper steps to resolve the identified threats and security gaps. You have to determine the correct and effective mitigation method for each vulnerability to ensure it doesn’t pose a threat from internal or external sources. You can ensure that by taking the following initiatives:

  • Make sure all configuration and operational changes are up-to-date
  • Develop effective security patches and implement them in your system or network
  • Create and apply new security measures, procedures, and tools to further strengthen the security of your network

Re-Evaluate System with Improvements

Once you have developed and implemented remediation measures, conducting a thorough reanalysis of the updated system is crucial to verify the successful neutralization of all identified threats. This post-remediation evaluation is essential to ensure that your network and servers perform effectively and are free of any lingering security weaknesses.

Report Results

To conclude the risk and vulnerability assessment, create a comprehensive report documenting each vulnerability and its corresponding neutralization steps. This report serves as a future reference for similar threats and helps identify ineffective solutions if they arise.

Wrapping Up

Vulnerability assessment systematically reviews and analyses an infrastructure to locate weaknesses in its security system. This process also helps you prioritize potential security threats based on their severity. As a result, you can implement accurate mitigation measures and prevent hackers from accessing your networks and servers.

You can also use different types of vulnerability assessment to find and mitigate both internal and external security risks. If you don’t have extensive knowledge of cybersecurity and want to keep your business data secure at all times, use professional cybersecurity providers like CXI Solutions. We are experts at running testing procedures to find and eliminate potential cybersecurity risks. Get an evaluation today!