The adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in small to medium businesses means that IT has to protect tablets and smartphones that they
didn’t even specify, procure or configure. In addition, most companies are now multi-platform, blending in Linux® and the Mac® with their mainstay Microsoft® Windows® client and server systems. And we mustn’t forget the growing network infrastructure – all those switches, routers, access devices and printers which need their security continually assessed and tightened.

Unless regularly audited, maintained and protected, these devices, applications, operating systems and assorted bits of hardware and software become
increasingly vulnerable, and make easy targets for experienced cyber criminals.

Failure to commit adequate resources to identify vulnerabilities within your network, and take adequate security precautions to mitigate the risk they pose can easily lead to damaged computers, lost or stolen data, fraud, lawsuits, cybercrime,
and violation of compliance regulations. Your business can lose money, get taken to court, or even go out of business. Furthermore, business Directors/
Owners could even find themselves personally liable for events caused by negligence, and when reasonable security precautions were knowingly not put in place.

As an IT professional or service provider, you are responsible for helping to avert security disasters. Here are ten best practices for vulnerability assessment and security in a multi-vendor network. Implement all ten and the chances of a successful attack are nearly eliminated, - and if a hacker does break through, you’ll know how to survive.
1. Get executive support

Vulnerability assessment to bolster network protection is a critical and on-going task. To make sure you are given the resources and budget to do it right, invest
time in making sure that your leadership and managers understand just what is at stake: their very business. Budget and resources spent assessing and removing
vulnerabilities before they can be exploited reduces business downtime/lost productivity, and protects against theft of data assets and damaged business
2. Define a policy

As well as being an essential part of many compliance requirements, time spent working on and defining a security policy for your business will pay dividends
in the long run. Once in place, a detailed security policy will help define what a vulnerability scanning and assessment tool is and needs to do. The policy should provide rules that dictate the proper use of vulnerability tools, ensuring they will be used and also supported by IT and associated executives.

And what exactly are you trying to prevent? Cyber crime? Malware?
Compromising data that falls under compliance regulations? By setting priorities you can give your most precious resources that extra attention. It is also a way to audit exactly how your IT staff are securing your infrastructure.
The policy is a living document. Treat it as a project, get key stakeholders to contribute, and make it clear and comprehensive. Then update it as your business evolves, infrastructure grows and the threats change.
A good vulnerability management tool helps continually improve your security posture and can even influence enhancements to the security policy itself. Over time, the experience built upon from regular network scanning will show which software is most risky and problematic. This will help IT to nip issues in the bud,eliminating problem software such as risky browsers or Java code, and guide IT to what areas of the network need additional focus and where security needs tightened up.