Best Practices 02-19-2016

Making the Most of Vulnerability Scanners

Ashley Call

While it’s definitely no easy task, regular vulnerability checks are an essential component of any healthy network. The narrow amount of time it takes for hackers to find and exploit vulnerabilities makes these checks crucial in data protection. Likewise, the ever-changing climate of Internet security demands that admins frequently check for vulnerabilities in order to stay on top of evolving security threats. Staying ahead of the vulnerabilities requires dedication, but experts have developed a variety of vulnerability scanners for both automated and manual scanning. While these scanners are incredibly useful, they are best utilized when:

  1. They are up-to-date. Putting trust in an automatic vulnerability scanner will only be beneficial if the scanner is up-to-date. With constant changes in the Infosec industry, admins have the responsibility to continually reevaluate their systems. Updating to the latest developments in vulnerability scanning is as essential to a healthy network as the scanning itself.
  2. They are being used to their full capacity. If vulnerability scanners are only being used to monitor certain parts of the network, they may not be catching all the threats that they need to. Expanding the scope of vulnerability scanners is an important step in monitoring the network’s health. Scanners today are often able to monitor both local and remote, and internal and external networks. Likewise, tools such as DigiCert’s Certificate Inspector monitor SSL Certificate health, endpoint configurations, and vulnerabilities.
  3. They are being used within a larger security strategy. Isolated security measures are never as effective as when they are used within a larger security strategy. Because vulnerability scanning requires weekly, and sometimes even daily work, they have better success when they part of an organized system. Even small admin teams are capable of having strong security strategies. See this article by CSO Online for tips on how to create a security strategy in 2016.

Vulnerability scanning has two parts: a current understanding of Infosec threats and developments, as well as dedicated maintenance. Because it is an intricate process that requires both knowledge and consistent upkeep, it’s easier for IT departments to fail in one area or another, and subsequently make their entire vulnerability scanning incomplete. Learning to efficiently scan for vulnerabilities is a critical approach to better security, and one that should always be taken seriously moving forward.


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