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  • Writer's pictureDoug Ennis

The Imperative of Vulnerability Scanning in Network Security



"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know." – Einstein 

 

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” - Lovecraft 


Vulnerability scanning is the practice of converting the unknown into known. In the realm of network security, vulnerability scanning is not just a recommendation; it is a necessity. As cyber threats evolve and become more sophisticated, the need to regularly scan your network for vulnerabilities has never been more critical. This article will discuss the needs and expectations associated with vulnerability scanning of your network. 


Understanding the Need for Vulnerability Scanning 

  • Proactive Threat Identification: Vulnerability scanning is essential for identifying potential security weaknesses before they can be exploited by attackers. It is a proactive approach that helps in anticipating and preventing risks. 

  • Regulatory Compliance: Many industries are governed by regulatory standards that mandate regular vulnerability assessments to protect sensitive data. Scanning helps ensure compliance with these regulations

  • Resource Allocation: By identifying the most critical vulnerabilities, organizations can prioritize their resources effectively, focusing on the most significant threats first


Expectations from Vulnerability Scanning 

  • Comprehensive Coverage: A thorough vulnerability scan should cover all network assets, including servers, endpoints, and network devices, to ensure no component is left unchecked

  • Regular Scheduling: Vulnerability scanning should be conducted regularly to catch new vulnerabilities as they emerge. The frequency of scans often depends on the criticality of the assets and the changing threat landscape

  • Prioritization of Risks: Post-scan, it is expected that the results will be categorized based on the severity of the vulnerabilities found, allowing for efficient prioritization of remediation efforts

  • Actionable Insights: The outcome of a vulnerability scan should provide actionable insights, enabling IT teams to take specific steps to address the identified weaknesses


Best Practices for Effective Vulnerability Scanning 

  • Authorization: Always obtain proper authorization before conducting scans to avoid legal and ethical issues

  • Updated Inventory: Keep an up-to-date inventory of all network assets to ensure complete scanning coverage

  • Appropriate Tools: Use the right tools for scanning, which can detect a wide range of vulnerabilities across different systems

  • Segmentation: Segment and isolate systems to manage scans more effectively and reduce network disruption

  • Credential-Based Scanning: Perform scans with appropriate credentials to get a deeper insight into the system vulnerabilities

  • Documentation: Document and report all findings for accountability and to track progress over time


Conclusion 

Vulnerability scanning is a cornerstone of network security, providing the insights needed to defend against cyber threats. By understanding the needs and setting the right expectations, organizations can ensure that their networks remain secure against the ever-present risk of cyber-attacks. Regular, comprehensive, and well-documented vulnerability scans are the best defense in the ongoing battle to protect network integrity and data security. Remember, the goal is not just to find vulnerabilities but to fix them and enhance the overall security posture of your network.  


If your organization needs assistance creating a regimen of vulnerability scanning, evaluating risks to your environment, creating a remediation plan, or mitigation of known risks, One Bridge Consulting can help! Please reach out to us at sales@obc.tech, or call us directly at 207-352-1743 between the hours of 8am-5pm Monday-Friday. 

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