A Complete Guide on Vulnerability Scanning – Types, Importance, Procedures, and Measures

With an increasing amount of threats day-by-day, we have invented scanners which could scan and assess the threats to alert the organization. Vulnerability means the exposure of getting hurt. So, the vulnerability scanning of your organization is necessary to check how much your organization is prone to get hurt by the online attacks. Network vulnerability scanning is the check-up of all your systems in the network and computer to detect the security loopholes.

Network vulnerability scanning aids in classifying and detecting the flaws in the networks and all types of devices in the network. It then forecasts about the efficacy of the measures taken for security. The company’s IT department may scan the entire network infrastructure or even the security service provider can do that for you. Certain vendors like ASVs (Approved Scanning Vendors) are authorized and certified by the PCI to examine the payment card networks. But, vulnerability scanners are a favorite tool of the hackers as well because it lets them know the possible attack points to enter into the system.

The Job of a Vulnerability Scanner

A vulnerability scanner begins scanning from the point of the agent who is checking the attack space. A database of the latest and old security threats is kept and updated every time so that the software can check and compare the details about the attack with the database. The scanner checks for the entry points through which hackers may enter into the programs, services, ports, and the faults in the construction of the infrastructure. The software tries to eliminate every vulnerable point.

Even though running regular scans is important, but it can still have some risks as it is only integral with the code of the target machine. A scanner is also a software, after all, it can create some reboots and errors which could lessen the productivity.

Different Types of Scans

There are two types of vulnerability scanning on the basis of authenticity; unauthenticated and authenticated scans.

When an unauthenticated scan is done, the analyst performs the scan just like a hacker would do, devoid of valid access to the network. The possible attack points can get revealed which are accessible without signing into the network.

In the authenticated scan process, the analyst signs in as the network user and checks for the vulnerabilities that a trusted user can encounter. It can also check for the possible attacks which a hacker can take benefit of by masking him as a trusted user.

Which scan type to choose, you ask? No, that question doesn’t arise because both types of scans are important for your system. You need to be sure from both the angles.

The Importance of Vulnerability Assessment

Regular VA (vulnerability) assessment is the way to check for the susceptibilities in the network environment, secure IT assets, and quickly respond to eliminate the upcoming threats. The vulnerabilities are further scaled to the different quantities after the identification. Through a complete package of vulnerability assessment, companies get awareness, knowledge, and know about the risk so that they can understand the threats for the environment. This knowledge helps the organization to take steps accordingly.

The Benefits of Vulnerability Assessment to the Organizations

First and foremost, you need to find such security service providers which can give you ample amount of services and covers the wide spectrum of security protection. You can also choose a partner to guide you through the steps. A company can get below benefits through regular examinations:-

  • Detect the possible security breaches before the attackers reach to them
  • Make an inventory list of the components on the network with their complete information. The list also includes the particular vulnerabilities associated with that device
  • Make a similar list of the devices in the organization which is necessary for future upgrades and assessments
  • Identify and outline the risk-level which thrives on the network
  • Create a business benefit curve with analysis of risks and enhance the investments in the security

You can get complete benefits of this network vulnerability assessment when you keep it as an ongoing process for improving the security posture of the organization.

The vulnerability assessment has some steps which are mentioned below:

  • Define the IT assets – software and hardware in the infrastructure
  • Outline the estimate of the budget and value (importance) of these assets
  • Detect the vulnerabilities in the security and their impacts on the assets
  • Check for the calculable score of risks and threats about each exposure/weakness
  • Alleviate the top-most risk factors from the high-value assets

These steps are important to check for the vulnerabilities time to time.

Read more about the technical process of vulnerability assessment below:
  • Gathering and Discovering Information

There exist three phases of vulnerability assessment at the technical level. The first phase should be of conducting the analysis and gathering information. It also includes doing discovery to know the software and hardware better. This process includes scanning network for discovering hosts and scanning ports for finding protocols and services. It helps in finding the vulnerable points and then the organization reviews DNS data and the directory service to estimate which points are attackable by the hackers.

  • Keeping Records after Evaluation

After the assessment and complete scanning, a detailed analysis is carried on for making reviews and evaluations of the applications, protocols, services, protocols, and operating systems. To measure the depth of on the vulnerable points, this analysis is important. For replacing the old systems and software versions with new ones, this information is vital because the new ones replace the old vulnerabilities but also, introduce new threats.

  • Actions on the Evaluatory Report

The final phase consists of solid detection of weaknesses by using a national vulnerability database which contains all the information about the old and new threats. The organization gets a report with detailed risks, scores, and information after this process. Basically, the final step includes the use of reparative tools for putting a patch, removing bugs, and doing configurations to reduce the threat level and security risks which were detected in the analysis.

Actions to Take After the Vulnerability Assessment

So, what to do after you have got the reports? Those are the results of the tests done and they show the security steps you should implement in your organization. Therefore, an expert’s advice is necessary for deciding which vulnerability requires which type of patch and reparative action. Consider this process as the MRI Scan for the whole body. So, you need to take actions on the less healthy and crucial parts for making them totally healthy.

Conclusion

Finally, this blog emphasizes the vitality of the vulnerability scanning which should be done by the security experts and finally the actions which you should take in your business with the help of those experts. This would help in improving the security posture and keep the cyber threats at bay.