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Vulnerability Assessment, Red Teaming and Penetration Testing in Cyber Security Management

In today’s digital world, even a relatively small organization likely uses dozens of software applications, has hundreds of employees and serves thousands of customers. This presents millions of potential cyber security risks throughout the organization. To help front-run these threats before they happen, companies can utilize cyber security prevention techniques like vulnerability assessments, red teaming and penetration testing.

In order to employ these prevention methods, professionals must have the appropriate cyberthreat knowledge. Individuals interested in pursuing cyber security careers should pursue an online advanced business degree cyber security. Doing so will introduce the base knowledge for designing and implementing effective strategies and programs.

A Three-Pronged Approach

Vulnerability assessment, penetration testing and red teaming are three cyber security prevention techniques commonly used in an overarching, organizational strategy.

To highlight how they work together, let’s examine a hypothetical scenario: you are eager to protect the gigantic estate and a priceless painting you just inherited from a distant wealthy relative.

What Is Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability assessment involves discovering and analyzing potential weaknesses across your organization. This strategy usually uses a high-level perspective, looking at threats across your entire organization without going into too much detail on any one specific area. This process typically involves examining computer systems, networks and software to find weaknesses that hackers might exploit.

To use our estate analogy, imagine a vulnerability assessment as walking around your house checking for weaknesses. This would include things like unlocked doors or windows, faulty locks or other entry points where burglars might be able to break in. Identifying these weak points lets you know where to bolster your security efforts.

What Is Penetration Testing?

After you’ve conducted a vulnerability assessment to identify potential weaknesses, it’s time to test them to determine if they could present a cybersecurity threat. This is where penetration testing comes into play.

Penetration testing is intentionally exploiting any vulnerabilities to help determine the best way to fix the problem. To conduct penetration testing, companies will usually enlist the help of professional hackers to try and attack the specific problem at hand. If they are successful, then you know you need to fix that issue. The thinking here is that it’s better to get hacked by professionals you’ve hired than wait until an actual criminal hacks you.

To jump back to our analogy, let’s say that during your vulnerability assessment you realize that one of your upstairs windows has an alarm with poor wiring. This poor wiring might prevent the alarm from sounding properly if the window is opened. So, for penetration testing, you hire a professional burglar to try and break in using that window to test the integrity of your estate’s security.

What Is Red Teaming?

Red teaming takes the idea of penetration testing and goes one step further. Red teaming is the practice of asking a trusted group to launch a cyberattack on your organization so that you can test your cyber security preparedness. Your trusted group of hackers will try to hack your system in real time while your internal team does its best to ward them off.

To use our estate example, let’s say you agree that your upstairs window has a faulty alarm. But, you think your high fences, security guards and sensor-activated floodlights are more than enough to keep any burglars off your property. In this case, you would hire a team of professional crooks to use their creativity, knowledge and resources to try and breach your estate’s security without getting caught.

Enhanced Cyber Security Knowledge

Using our analogy of trying to protect a priceless painting is a fun hypothetical scenario that makes cyber security seem a little bit like a game. But, in reality, cyber security is a very serious topic where people’s money, data and livelihood are at risk every day. On top of that, cyber security is also much more complex than this analogy makes it seem.

With this in mind, most cyber security professionals will opt to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) before entering the field to expand their knowledge in areas of business and infrastructure technology.

Some programs will even specialize in cyber security, such as the program offered by St. Thomas University (STU). Its MBA with a concentration in Cyber Security Management online program helps prepare students for a career in cyber security by offering a unique blend of courses across business management, ethics and cyber security law. Students gain the tools and processes necessary to protect digital assets from threats and attacks, and these skills are transferable to any business environment.

Learn more about St. Thomas University’s online MBA program with a concentration in Cyber Security Management program.

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