Cybersecurity is at the core of successful functioning of any company and organization nowadays. And one of the key elements of reliable cyber protection is vulnerability scanning. It involves systematically identifying and assessing potential security weaknesses in networks, systems and applications that can be used by cybercriminals to penetrate the networks and carry out cyberattacks. The slightest gap is enough for attackers to infiltrate any company’s network. That is why organizations need to scan their network and fix or remove the vulnerabilities found immediately.
Exploring Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities through Scanning Techniques
The goal of vulnerability scanning is not only to detect weaknesses that can be exploited but also to implement appropriate mitigation steps. That is why vulnerability scanning is important. It must be a mandatory component of an IT security program if a company wants to maintain a high level of digital assets protection.
Scanning frequency depends on the scale of business, organization’s goals, industry internal regulations, compliance requirements and standards, and many other factors. Performing vulnerability scanning quarterly is enough for a small company, but it is far too rare for a large corporation.
It is also important to perform scans with any major changes in the infrastructure, system, software and the organization itself to identify the slightest security gaps.
Most companies run regular vulnerability scans to meet certain standards, including ISO27001, PCI DSS (requires quarterly external and internal vulnerability scanning by approved scanning providers), NIST and several others.
Information security specialists use special tools to diagnose and monitor network computers. This type of hardware or software is called vulnerability scanners and it allows cybersecurity specialists to look through networks, computers and applications for possible security problems, assess and fix vulnerabilities.
By type of assets, these scanners are distinguished: network-based ones to detect unauthorized devices or unknown users on the network (there are various types of scanning in network security, including vulnerability scanning, port scanning, and more); host-based ones for detecting and identifying gaps on workstations, servers or other network nodes; application scanners, which focus on identifying threats in web applications and APIs; wireless network scanners; database scanners.
By source, scanners are classified as: external vulnerability ones, which scan for vulnerabilities outside the company’s network; and internal ones that detect vulnerabilities inside the corporate network.
These are vulnerability assessment best practices which are based on type of scanning. The range of tools on the modern software market is quite large. Among the most common ones are Nessus, Qualys, OpenVAS, and Burp Suite for web application testing.
By authorization, there is authenticated scanning that allows a network administrator to log in as a user and identify network weaknesses from a trusted user’s point of view, and unauthenticated scanning (when you do not need to be logged into the network to perform the scan). Authenticated scanning is recommended for deeper insights.
Summing up, here are some best practices of vulnerability scans to follow:
- Run vulnerability scans on a regular basis.
- Diagnose all devices in your network.
- Maintain an up-to-date inventory of your assets.
- Prioritize vulnerabilities based on severity and potential impact.
- Always validate the results of your scans to ensure they are accurate.
- Maintain detailed records of scan results, actions taken, and the timeline of remediation efforts.
- Conduct risk assessments based on vulnerability scan results to understand the potential impact on your organization.
- And use vulnerability scanning as part of a larger cybersecurity strategy that includes ongoing monitoring, incident response planning (based on the analysis of network scanning security incidents), and continual improvement.
Remember that vulnerability scanning is only one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. It should be integrated into a comprehensive cybersecurity program that deals with prevention, detection, response and recovery.
If you would like to perform cyber threats assessment, Klik Solution will help you to do this professionally. We offer a wide range of services, including managed malware services and managed IT support in Austin. Contact Klik Solution and stay safe with us!