“The company needed a ‘digital fortress’ to protect the private/personal information and monitor any security vulnerabilities ongoing. Acunetix is instrumental in massively reducing online risk – making sure there are no black holes which could be exploited,” Anthony Sinclair, Managing Director, Vocal Views
Established in 2010, Vocal Views is a digital market research agency. It builds bespoke platforms for clients which allow respondents to sign-up to take part in online market research studies. Brands therefore gain valuable feedback on products/services from both consumer and B2B studies.
As Vocal Views is gathering valuable commercial data, it recognised that web security is critical to their business model. As Managing Director Anthony Sinclair explains, “The company needed a ‘digital fortress’ to protect the private/personal information and monitor any security vulnerabilities ongoing.” It therefore chose web security experts Acunetix.
Before choosing Acunetix, Vocal Views undertook an extensive research process into robust vulnerability scanning products, it is after all a research company. Having first consulted with partners and clients, it evaluated open source brands – but found them to be too unpredictable on performance, unstable even on high spec machines, frequently crashing. Next, it looked at middle-tier vendors and found them too limited in choosing the types of vulnerabilities, and too difficult to remove false positives. Then it researched more premium vendors – including looking at one on-premises product, but this took up too many resources, and the cost was too expensive for start-ups to afford – before settling on Acunetix.
Having completed Acunetix’ Online Vulnerability Scanner (OVS) free trial, Anthony and his team found the feature list impressive. It immediately identified lots of vulnerabilities – and NOT false positives. So the development team went straight to work on fixing the problems. It also found the one year subscription much more affordable for a smaller business like them. Vocal Views also took advantage of the free Acunetix network scans.
Scanner helps with Source Code
As a small web development team, with 10 people in UK and a US office, Vocal Views is lacking in identifying vulnerabilities. Various members of the team now regularly use the vulnerability scanner. The UK web development team use it to check their work as an ongoing process – adapting the source code as they go. Anthony also uses the scanner as the MD to check various iterations as the platforms take shape. As well as the UK team, Vocal Views also has staff in the US that use the scanner.
Anthony finds its traffic light vulnerability list easy to work with and helps to identify priorities. The company started with over a dozen high security (Red) vulnerabilities, now it’s zero. “Acunetix is instrumental in massively reducing online risk – making sure there are no black holes which could be exploited,” he says.
Acunetix enables Vocal Views to scan various platforms for vulnerabilities continuously, giving both management and developers peace of mind. As it’s a never-ending process when building software platform, even a small code change could open up multiple holes that could become vulnerabilities.
Key benefits – not just compliance
Acunetix OVS helps Vocal Views identify vulnerabilities, raise security awareness, provides assistance for improvement and assists developers. However, one of the key reasons security is so necessary is for compliance. It can prove to clients, ICO inspectors and other Government bodies that all reasonable steps for data protection are being taken. Acunetix is also needed to provide security evidence for online payment systems – such as PCI tests on the network.
Additional features that have proved very useful for Vocal Views are the ability to schedule scans and archiving of past scans. Also the report generating feature that can provide report in multiple formats is useful for outsourcing vulnerability patching to an external party, should the need arise in future.
About Vocal Views
Vocal Views Ltd is a London based qualitative solutions agency. We offer research services to a diverse range of clients around the world, helping them make better decisions. We combine straightforward methodologies with innovative platforms that streamline traditional market research processes for greater efficiency. Whether projects needs to be fielded in the UK, the rest of Europe, the US or Asia, Vocal Views Ltd is a reliable and suited partner for all multi-country research needs. Passionate about the way people live and think, we are proud to be dedicated to giving consumers a voice.
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“We use Acunetix as part of our Security in the SDLC and to test code in DEV and SIT before being promoted to Production.”Kurt Zanzi, Xerox CA-MMIS Information Securtiy Office, Xerox