The constant evolution of technology has become a double-edged sword for businesses.
On one hand, digital tech has enabled organisations to automate processes, improve efficiencies and foster better communications.
However, on the other hand, many organisations struggle to keep up with IT advancements and often find themselves becoming more vulnerable to data breaches and system disruptions.
How a cyber-attack begins
When a hacker plans a cyber-attack, they generally scan the intended target’s systems for vulnerabilities and then work to exploit them in order to gain access.
For this reason, it’s important to:
- identify weak spots in your own digital environment
- evaluate the level of risk present
- know how to protect your system from threats
This process is known as vulnerability scanning, and it’s one of the critical aspects of any business’ security processes.
What is vulnerability scanning?
Vulnerability scanning utilises a specialised type of scanning software that assesses computers, applications or networks for weaknesses. This involves classifying and identifying vulnerabilities so that suitable protection and remediations can be applied to strengthen an organisation’s cybersecurity.
Vulnerability scanning essentially allows your business to be proactive and patch up potential threat entries before they happen.
By having good vulnerability management strategies in place, this enables businesses to quickly evaluate and mitigate security vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure, reducing the risk of cyber-attacks.
5 types of vulnerability scanners
Recent cyber-attack statistics have recorded 59,806 cybercrime reports at an average of 164 reports per day or 1 cyber-attack every 10 minutes.
A cybersecurity breach can cost businesses their reputation and potentially thousands of dollars (or much more) if not handled properly and fixed immediately. So, it is important to be proactive when guarding your organisation’s cybersecurity through the help of vulnerability scanning.
Here are 5 types of vulnerability scanners based on the type of assets they scan:
- Network-based scanners
These scanners identify possible network security attacks on wired networks as well as discover unauthorised devices and unknown perimeter points on the network, such as unapproved remote access servers, or connections to insecure networks of business partners.
- Host-based scanners
Host-based vulnerability scanners can locate and identify weaknesses in servers and provide greater visibility into the configuration settings and patch history of scanned systems. These can also help an organisation assess the potential damage that can be done by insiders and outsiders once some level of access is granted or taken on a system.
- Wireless scanners
Wireless vulnerability scanners are utilised to identify rogue access points and also validate if a company’s network is securely configured.
- Application scanners
Application vulnerability scanners test websites in order to detect known software vulnerabilities and inaccurate configurations in network or web applications.
- Database scanners
Database vulnerability scanners identify the weak points in a database in order to prevent potential data breaches and cyber-attacks.
How does a vulnerability scanner work?
Strengthening your IT infrastructure is often complex and can be easily overlooked.
However, to help create an effective vulnerability management process, use this 4-stage process to ensure that discovered vulnerabilities are addressed appropriately.
- Detecting vulnerabilities.
The first step of vulnerability assessment is to conduct a vulnerability test to detect and identify possible attack surfaces. This enables you to determine the security gaps across your network and secure them before cybercriminals can penetrate them.
- Evaluating vulnerabilities.
After you have detected all possible vulnerabilities within your system, you can then begin evaluating the severity of those threats to help identify the best course of action. These security weaknesses could include missing updates, script errors or anomalies, while the threats are prioritised based on age and the risk measure.
- Remediating vulnerabilities.
Remediation efforts can begin once a prioritised vulnerability management plan is set in place. During this phase, you can increase your monitoring or reduce access to areas you identified as ‘at risk’ which can help prevent a cybersecurity breach until you can apply security patches or permanently increase the protection.
- Reporting vulnerabilities.
Reporting vulnerabilities after their remediation can help you improve your security and responses in the future. Keeping a record of vulnerabilities and when they were addressed can also assist your security team to comply with risk management key performance indicators as well as regulatory requirements.
Vulnerability testing helps comply with Australia’s Cybersecurity Essential Eight
Building a comprehensive vulnerability management process in your organisation is paramount to staying one step ahead of cybercriminals as well as aligning with the Essential Eight Maturity Model.
For instance, security patch apps and patching Operating Systems are both now a Level 1 requirement of Essential Eight.
To learn more, read What you need to know about ACSC’s Update to the Cybersecurity essential eight.
It’s time to review your business’ digital security posture.
At Centrix, we can perform a complimentary IT Health Check that allows you to assess your business’ cybersecurity levels. We scan your organisation’s systems to evaluate how secure it all is and provide recommendations about how to ensure you are fully protected.
Let Centrix strengthen your business’ cybersecurity.
Centrix helps small businesses all the way up to corporate organisations succeed by managing, supporting, and protecting your critical IT infrastructure.
With our extensive knowledge and expertise, our mission is to empower your whole team with comprehensive IT Service Packages, cybersecurity protection and Managed Services to see you thrive in today’s digital landscape.
We specialise in combining technology and staff training to safeguard your business against security threats.