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How can companies identify IT infrastructure vulnerabilities?

New, sophisticated technology is available to help infosec pros find IT infrastructure vulnerabilities. Automated pen testing and outsourcing threat intelligence services can help.

As more organizations turn to IT security intelligence and automation tools to help them with the painstaking task of identifying IT infrastructure vulnerabilities, security teams would be wise to compare the options available that can help facilitate vulnerability assessment initiatives.

There are two emerging technologies that organizations should consider incorporating into their security programs to assist with the identification of enterprise infrastructure vulnerabilities: AI-powered automated penetration testing (pen testing) tools and external threat intelligence services.

Automated pen tests mimic hackers' strengths

Automated pen testing has been around since the dawn of automated vulnerability tests. Automated pen testing is far more complicated, however, mostly because of the new and often expensive AI technology that is required to run effective pen tests. Hackers take their time to learn a business's potential weaknesses. That's where AI technology comes in. Organizations can use AI and machine learning to mimic a human hacker's ability to find targets using the most modern reconnaissance techniques.

The AI technology can also be used to automatically identify exploits that could potentially attack vulnerable targets within the organization. Until recently, AI wasn't up to the challenge of automating human pen testers' tasks. But, over the past 12 to 18 months, several products have come onto the market that closely imitate the manual pen tests typically run by security professionals.

Outsourced IT infrastructure vulnerability detection

External threat intelligence services are another key technology used to identify IT infrastructure vulnerabilities. These as-a-service offerings are sold by most of the major enterprise security vendors today. External threat services often integrate with on-premises security tools that are purchased and installed inside customer corporate networks.

The service providers scour the internet to discover new and imminent threats and then create policies that protect against the identified threats that are integrated with customers' security tools in real time. Not only does the service help to identify new threats, but it can also eliminate them within minutes.

Next Steps

Read the experts' cautionary advice before implementing automated pen testing systems at your security program

This was last published in December 2019

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