February 24, 2023
Ransomware attacks, data breaches, and cyber attacks impacted large name brands in 2023, including PayPal (Hackers gained access to personal details of over 34,000 accounts), Charter Communications (exposed personal information for about 550,000 customers), and Bank of America (Zelle transactions disappeared from customer accounts causing negative balances). Preventing and identifying weaknesses in your environment before your organization makes headlines or loses money is a prime concern for you as a CISO or cybersecurity specialist and your entire leadership team. One way to reinforce or improve your security posture is by implementing structured vulnerability scanning services.
A vulnerability scanning service is a structured program of scanning your environment with automated tools to discover IP-based devices on your network and interrogate the devices for known weaknesses. The applications performing the scanning identify the device’s operating system and execute scripts in an automated fashion to identify known weaknesses within that device’s configuration.
Once the weaknesses are identified, they are reported to a central database to rate consistently. The risk exposure rating is based on several factors, such as the industry standard Common Vulnerability Exposure (CVE), the criticality of the device to your organization, and the device’s physical location. All allowing you to deploy your limited resources in remediating the most critical items.
Using automated tools is a way cybercriminals can find and exploit known vulnerabilities. They scan systems, open ports, and more to find one that’s not been fixed and then use it to gain entry and execute unauthorized commands.
You can use these same scanning tools to identify and track known vulnerabilities to fix before criminals can access them, ensuring your company knows and patches your system’s flaws before they are exploited.
Since many vulnerabilities are hard to find and, like most companies, you have limited resources, vulnerability scans reveal and rank the flaws. Hence, you know precisely what to remediate by priority.
By instituting vulnerability scans regularly, you can quickly identify your security measures’ effectiveness. Typical reports include a list of active devices on the network at the time of the scan, device type, list of vulnerabilities by device type, and validation that device patching is working. You can use the reports to update or change your security strategy.
Vulnerabilities can exist in malicious code hidden inside applications and services. Without a scan, you won’t know that it’s there, and you may never know (until it’s too late) where cyber criminals are getting in or stealing your proprietary data.
Regular scans ensure your business assets are protected and, more importantly, you gain the trust of your customers, vendor, and other stakeholders. Proving you are doing all you can to keep your data and their data safe.
Ensuring your networks are secure can be complex and time-consuming. Performing regular vulnerability scans enables you to know which areas are most exposed, so you can allocate resources more efficiently to handle them. It also ensures you have the budget and skilled personnel to address those critical areas.
Since scanning is automated, you and your team can focus on remediation efforts where they will be the most effective, only getting involved if there is anything to patch or fix.
Although there is a cost to implementing the automated tools, your company may save money through a reduction in cyber insurance costs or even the ability to purchase or renew your current policy. Furthermore, a data breach may cost more in fines, payouts, and damage to your reputation.
If your company has guidelines or legal such as ISO standards or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), then automated vulnerability scanning may be a requirement you need to meet. Showing you’re performing regular scanning may be vital to maintaining your company’s compliance standards.
Maintaining your security strategy is difficult with all of the network components, including on-premise to public and private clouds to a combination. Regular vulnerability scans can help you stay updated on new vulnerabilities and attack vectors, enabling you to change configurations and maintain the integrity of your network efficiently.
Performing regular vulnerability scans as part of a comprehensive security strategy enhances your organization’s credibility by taking security seriously and giving your management, customers, and other entities peace of mind.
Dewpoint has been working with clients implementing vulnerability scanning services for nearly 20 years. We work with Fortra using their automated tool and also have experience with open-source tools. Either way, contact us today to gain visibility into your security risk and improve your security posture.