Vulnerability Scanning

The purpose of vulnerability scanning is to predict how hackers might attack your network. Once vulnerabilities are identified you can work to patch those holes and make your network more secure. Not all vulnerabilities are created equal and having a complete understanding of your current threat landscape allows you to prioritize what gets fixed first.

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What is Vulnerability Scanning?

Vulnerability scanning is an automated high-level test that looks for known vulnerabilities in a network. It then generates a report of all vulnerabilities found and gives you an indication of severity. That report helps you to prioritize your remediation efforts to eliminate those vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scanners are typically configured to scan a specific interface such as an external IP address. Most scans will run a series of if-then scenarios on your system along with other scripts to determine what vulnerabilities exist.  When detected, those vulnerabilities are flagged and added to your report.

The real value in vulnerability scanning is what you do with that information once you have it. Regular scans can help identify holes in your security. They will then require regular action to remediate any found threats in a timely manner. Most organizations can benefit greatly from a quarterly vulnerability scan.

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Do I Need Vulnerability Scanning?

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One of the key questions we look at when examining the utility of a vulnerability scan is where does your data reside? If you have a traditional on-premises network with a firewall and servers behind that firewall, a vulnerability scan can be valuable. That is the scenario this type of scan was designed for.

Recently many businesses have moved a portion or all of their servers to the cloud. Cloud environments such as Azure and AWS that have their own firewalls, network, and servers can also benefit from vulnerability scanning.

Businesses that have moved all their critical data into SAS applications may have less utility for this solution. If you don’t have any servers on-premises, and leverage web-based applications to run your business, your security footprint is significantly smaller. The onus for security would then fall to your SASS software provider to do appropriate scanning and security on the platform their application resides on.

Vulnerability Scanning and Compliance?

Many security compliance frameworks recommend vulnerability scanning as part of your regular security plan. NIST, PCI DDS, HIPAA, and SOC 2 all emphasize leveraging vulnerability scanning as part of a proactive IT security plan. If your business is required to comply with any of those compliances, you should implement vulnerability scanning and regular remediation.

Your Next Steps

Vulnerability scanning by itself will do nothing to protect your business. The results need to be reviewed by a network security specialist, and a plan created and actioned upon to remediate any gaps in your current security. This iterative process of improvement gives you significant gains in your overall security, but action to remediate the key element.

A lack of follow-through or process for remediation negates the effort put into doing the scan. i.t.NOW recommends vulnerability scanning on a quarterly basis followed by remediation actions that cure the identified gaps.

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Vulnerability scanning is not something that businesses without in-house IT staff can typically administer. Reach out to a qualified group of IT professionals like i.t.NOW for expert help and advice. We will make it simple to administer vulnerability scans and act on the needed remediation items to protect your business.

A True Technology Partner

We are successful when your business is successful. As true technology partners, we’re invested in your success. We deliver every solution like it was our business on the line, because it is.

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