A vulnerability scanner, also known as vulnerability management software or vulnerability assessment software, is a tool used to scan computer systems and networks for security vulnerabilities. In this article, we will break down how to choose a vulnerability scanning software.
Vulnerability scanning software uses various techniques to determine how vulnerable a device or network is to various cyber threats.
This type of software helps ensure organizations are prepared for potential attacks on their information systems and infrastructure by identifying weaknesses that hackers can exploit.
What is a vulnerability scanner?
A vulnerability scanner is a type of security software that scans a network for potential vulnerabilities. It can also be referred to as vulnerability analysis or management software.
Organizations use vulnerability scanners to ensure their systems are protected from external threats such as hackers or malware infections.
Top reasons to use vulnerability scanners
Vulnerability scanning software is a cost-effective way to identify network security gaps such as missing patches and insecure configurations. It is important to understand that in most cases vulnerability scanners do not replace other types of network monitoring solutions.
How to use vulnerability scanner
Vulnerability scanning software is an indispensable tool for organizations to proactively identify security vulnerabilities within their network infrastructure, applications and systems. To use vulnerability scanners effectively, start by choosing a reputable solution like Nessus, OpenVAS, or Qualys.
Then configure the software according to the specific needs of your organization, taking into account network size, device types, and any compliance requirements. Make sure you have updated the software and vulnerability database to the latest version before the first scan.
When you’re ready, run the scan and let the software scan your infrastructure for vulnerabilities. Depending on the size and complexity of your network, the scan can take several hours. Carefully monitor and manage the scanning process to avoid overloading or unintentionally disrupting your systems.
Effective use of vulnerability scanning software requires a thorough understanding of its features and capabilities. Start by becoming familiar with the user interface and navigation menus, paying special attention to configuration settings, scan templates, and report options.
After you set up your first scan, regularly review the software’s documentation and online resources to deepen your knowledge of its functionality. Join online forums and communities to share tips and best practices with other security professionals.
To ensure the continued effectiveness of your vulnerability scanning, learn about software updates, new vulnerability detection techniques, and emerging security threats. Finally, you should consider seeking professional training or certification to further improve your skills and knowledge of using the software.
What to do with the results of vulnerability scanning software?
After completing a vulnerability analysis, you will receive a detailed report describing the identified vulnerabilities in your network infrastructure, applications and systems. Review the report carefully, paying particular attention to the severity and impact of each vulnerability.
Prioritize the vulnerability remediation process by addressing the most critical vulnerabilities first, while also considering regulatory or compliance requirements.
Communicate findings to relevant stakeholders such as IT staff or management and collaborate to develop a remediation plan. Assign responsibilities and deadlines for remediation of each vulnerability and monitor progress to ensure timely remediation
Once the remediation efforts are complete, run a follow-up scan to confirm that the identified vulnerabilities have been successfully remediated.
How often should scans be performed and how often should they be integrated into the incident response process?
The frequency of vulnerability scans depends on several factors, such as the size and complexity of your network, regulatory requirements, and the organization’s risk tolerance.
Perform comprehensive vulnerability scans at least quarterly, increasing frequency for high-risk or dynamic environments.
Additionally, run ad hoc scans after significant network changes like updates, new hardware, or new services.
Integrating vulnerability scanning into your incident response process is critical to a proactive security strategy. Regularly review and update your incident response plan to incorporate the results of the vulnerability assessment and ensure the plan reflects the current state of your network and system.
This integration helps your organization identify and respond to security threats more effectively, ultimately reducing the risk of a successful attack.
How Autobahn Security can help
Autobahn Security has an integrated scan engine, but can also import scan results from other scanners. Once the scan is complete or the results have been imported, Autobahn Security automatically filters and prioritizes the results based on how likely they are to lead to an exploit from the hacker’s perspective.
This is summarized in our Hackability Score , which provides an easy way to communicate the security posture to stakeholders. Autobahn Security also provides you with Cyber Fitness Workouts, which are easy-to-understand instructions that can be forwarded to the person responsible for the affected assets.
The instructions are designed in such a way that they can be implemented even by IT teams without security know-how. This increases the capacity of the security team and empowers the entire team.
You can then schedule follow-up scans to see if the issues have been resolved. Each change gives you a new hackability score so you can see your security posture improving over time and benchmark your progress.
How to choose the right vulnerability scanning software for your business
Here are some things to consider when choosing a vulnerability scanner:
The functions offered by the software. The more features a vulnerability scanner has, the more likely it is that you can find vulnerabilities in your organization.
However, this also means that the provider has to invest more resources in the development and maintenance of these functions. If your budget is limited or if multiple organizations are using your scanner, make sure any feature updates won’t cost you too much (or require significant training).
Your budget for buying and maintaining a vulnerability scanner over the long term. Most offer free trials . Before you decide whether or not to use the software as part of your security stack, find out if the vendor charges an hourly rate during testing – keep that in mind when deciding which product is best for your organization is suitable!
Vulnerability Scanner is an essential tool for any organization. It allows you to identify and fix vulnerabilities in your network before they can be exploited by hackers. Vulnerability scanners are also useful to ensure compliance with industry regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA or PCI DSS.
Are you interested in an enterprise vulnerability management tool? Learn more about the benefits for your business on our blog.
For more information on Autobahn Security, see our FAQs .