Any business establishment on a network or with computer systems connected to internet access is vulnerable to attacks. This is the reason why there should always be scanning for vulnerabilities and possible attack loopholes. Old fashioned and ineffective tools make this process time consuming and tedious. For this reason, you need to be well informed of the best vulnerability scanners and which ones to stay away from. So where do you begin? Well, let’s find out how to choose the right tool for this type of job.
Vulnerability scanners are tools or software designed to scan your network or computer system and reports back of any flaws that may be present. These tools carry out deep scans and compare the findings with known vulnerabilities in their databases or third-party databases. These databases can be CVE, OSVDB, or SANS among others.
While scanning, the vulnerability tools categorize the risks found as minor, major, or critical. They are excellent in detecting harmful processes and services such as Trojans. Trojans are malicious software that hackers use to listen to ports on a computer network or system. You need to understand however that not all scanners are active. Free license or low-end scanners comb the network and give remedial feedback. Moreover, feature rich or licensed scanners have penetration testing and patch management among other features.
It is also worth noting that many scanners both commercial or free-licensed suffer from one problem. This is reporting false-positives and false-negative. A network administrator will end up chasing for an issue that doesn’t exist with a false positive. On the contrary, a false negative is more dangerous. It means that the scanner failed to identify and report on a severe vulnerability causing risk. The following scanners will help you with your vulnerability management.
Software-based Vulnerability Scanners
These are scanners you can purchase or download online in installable form. They include functions such as auditing, penetration testing, vulnerability analysis, and threat profiling. They are designed to work with Windows products to ensure proper patch management. They provide scanning of both physical and virtual drives on the network. A plus for these types of scanners is that they require less administration contrary to their counterparts.
Cloud-based Vulnerability Scanners
These online-based vulnerability scanners provide continuous, on-demand, and hands-free monitoring. These scanners monitor all network computers, peripherals, and all cloud services. They do not require any installation but manual integration on the network. You can easily subscribe to online services offering cloud-based scanners where you can easily configure your scans. On-demand scanners also have the option of downloading links from the vendor for frequent patches and updates.
Finally, there are too many threats online to let your system survive on its own without scanning. Scanning is always essential for both small, medium sized, and enterprise business installations. Large numbers of routers, network segments, servers, firewalls, and computer systems provide a large surface area for attack. This case calls for regular scanning and system checks to ensure safety and data protection. Organizations should also adhere to compliance and continuously meet some regulations such as GLBA and PCI DSS. For this reason, Vulnerability scanning is a must for them.