If you do not know your risks, how can you be safe? This reality is prompting many businesses to set up regular vulnerability scanning to defend against cybercrime.
A 2021 cybersecurity report by the UK Government states that 39% of UK businesses reported a security breach in the last 12 months. Apparently, 21% lost money, data, or assets. The risk is real and 77% say it is a huge priority for directors.
Cybercrime can be indiscriminate. Whatever size your business is, you need to know how to scan for network, system, and website vulnerabilities that leave you open to attack.
What is vulnerability scanning?
When you find security issues affecting your IT system or network, you are pinpointing risk. That is exactly what a vulnerability scan achieves.
Using highly specialised software tools, you can discover your current vulnerabilities. Some might be small, and others more significant. The first step toward reducing risk is to be aware of it.
A word of warning though: do not get lost in the huge array of scanning tools available. Many deliver reams of data that will leave you confused and not knowing what to do next. You need to know your objectives and gain meaningful insight that you can act on.
Why is vulnerability scanning important?
Being aware of your IT weaknesses is just the start. By scanning your network for vulnerabilities, you know what to fix. Remediating these issues lessens your risk of a cyber-attack.
That is the point here, isn’t it? Vulnerability scans help you get one step ahead of hackers. When you find a security problem before they do, you stop them from entering your system via this vulnerability.
Which types of vulnerability scanning should you do?
As a starting point, you might want an initial insight scan. Alternatively, your industry compliance might demand evidence of regular vulnerability scanning.
Businesses scan their systems, networks, and websites for several reasons. In fact, there are three main types of vulnerability scanning.
Consider this a helpful starting point (your network triage, if you like). A discovery scan quietly gives you a feel for your system strength without creating too much fuss around your activity.
It will not uncover every vulnerability, but it will help you form an appropriate action plan, focusing on the right areas.
More of a ‘belt and braces’ activity, a full vulnerability scan does what it suggests. You find weakness and security problems in every corner of your system: from your internal network to your website and cloud infrastructure.
With lots of poking about to achieve this, your organisation knows what you are up to. This activity gives you ample data to review. Then, you must prioritise vulnerabilities and focus your resources effectively.
Certain business sectors demand vulnerability scanning for compliance reasons. They form part of a regulated audit to certify you are not at risk from certain vulnerabilities. This is the case in financial sectors, for example.
Your need for compliance determines how you conduct scans and what deliverables to create.
What vulnerability scan tools should I use?
Managed vulnerability scanning
Supporting clients worldwide, Nettitude offers managed vulnerability scanning. We run global Security Operations Centres, providing 24/7 monitoring and insight. Detecting vulnerabilities early, we can deliver a rapid response to even the most sophisticated cyber-threat.
This provides assurance and continual cyber-risk-management for our clients. They are free to run their business whilst we monitor their threat landscape. They welcome the real-time picture and threat-led approach; our services contribute to their compliance
By monitoring 24/7 you identify both existing and new vulnerabilities as they appear. For example, a software misconfiguration can easily create security issues that go unnoticed otherwise.
Templates and tools from Tenable
Working closely with vulnerability scanning specialist Tenable, Nettitude recommends many of its specific tools.
Nessuss scanner templates are useful for various reasons and can target your specific activity. For example, you can choose from a basic network scan, an internal PCI scan, or a mobile device scan.
Further Tenable templates focus on scanning for configuration issues (such as Audit Cloud Infrastructure) or specific vulnerabilities (such as Log4Shell).
When your compliance audit demands vulnerability scanning, you can even opt for templates that provide the data you need. Examples include Adtran AOS, Cisco ACI, and Juniper Junos.
Do not leave doors open
You wouldn’t leave your empty house unlocked with windows flung open. It’s the same with your business.
By regularly conducting network, system, and website vulnerability scans you reduce your risk of attack from unwanted hackers. Just like home security, it’s far more cost effective than the loss, disruption, and recovery after the event.
Talk to us when you need guidance for your vulnerability scanning. We are an award-winning global cybersecurity company supporting small and large businesses every day.