After setting records in 2021, data breaches and other cyberattacks continued at a blistering pace in 2022 and show no signs of stopping. Verizon found nearly 24,000 reported cybersecurity incidents in 2021; if we use IBM’s metric of data breaches costing a target nearly $10 million per incident, that means that in 2021 alone businesses lost nearly $240 billion to cyberattacks. Which begs the question – if these issues carry such a huge cost, why aren’t we making any progress in stopping these attacks?

The challenge with cybersecurity is that you rarely know where you’re truly vulnerable.

While governments and regulators have responded with higher standards for data handling and security in the form of the EU GDPR’s requirements for appropriate data security measures and the US Federal Information Processing Standard, you can follow every best practice and comply with every regulation and still fall victim to an undiscovered weakness.

So what’s the answer? How can you fix a vulnerability you didn’t even know you had?

The answer is Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing

What is Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT)?

Put simply, VAPT is when the “good guys” try to hack your system to proactively identify and resolve security issues before a bad actor can exploit them.

At Atlantic Data Security, our VAPT services consist of a combination of more than 3,000 automated and manual vulnerability tests that seek to identify gaps in your on- and off-premise networks and applications. We look for issues in areas such as:

  • Improper configurations
  • Application vulnerabilities
  • Access and authentication weaknesses
  • Malware

Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report found that 73% of attacks come from outside the organization, and the vast majority comprise server-targeted hacks or malware. But it’s important to include your entire application and underlying infrastructure as part of your vulnerability assessment and penetration testing. Management systems, network devices, and cloud storage are all components that could have vulnerabilities you may not be expecting.

What are the Results of a VAPT Scan?

You’ll typically get two types of VAPT results:

  • Reports and verification of the portions of your environment that have passed the penetration testing
  • Proofs of Concepts for any discovered vulnerabilities that show the steps to reproduce the vulnerability

Your list of vulnerabilities should ideally include an estimate of the potential monetary loss involved in a breach, and a risk score to help you understand how to rank your cybersecurity priorities.

What Should You Do with the Results from a VAPT Scan?

A VAPT scan is a tool to help you understand the scope and severity of potential cybersecurity risks your organization faces. Most organizations will discover some level of potential vulnerability, and must then make a decision on how they will address the issue. These decisions are generally made according to several criteria:

  • The potential risk of a breach
  • A potential breach’s impact on the business (which could be via operations, business value, cost of resolution, etc.)
  • The resources required to solve the vulnerability
  • The impact of implementing the solution on the IT team and the business

If you’re not sure what to do next, it’s important to contact a security expert and resolve the discovered issues as soon as possible. You don’t want to be the one left having to write that $10 million check for the next data breach.

If you’re looking for help performing vulnerability assessment or penetration testing services, contact Atlantic Data Security today.


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