Vulnerability scans are to enterprises what health checkups are to people; they’re proactive check-ins on a system’s health to ensure it stays in tip-top running condition. For companies, a vulnerability scan ensures every entry point to your network is protected by ensuring it’s updated, closed off, or regularly monitored to ensure cyber criminals don’t get it.
Vulnerability scanning is the process of detecting and classifying potential security exploitations points in network devices, applications, computer systems, and data stores. It inspects the attack surfaces in your computer network that either internal or external attackers would use to gain unauthorised access, such as firewalls, applications, services, and more. Scans are compared to a database of known vulnerabilities to identify your network’s security gaps and allow you to fix them before they become a problem.
Many tech companies release regular updates and vulnerability patches, but as a modern digital company, you can’t rely on someone else to let you know about a potential problem first. A good security strategy means you proactively scan your systems yourself regularly to find the vulnerabilities before they become a problem.
If you’re curious to know more, we’ve gathered a list of the top benefits of vulnerability scanning.
The top 10 benefits of vulnerability scans
1. Identifies vulnerabilities before cyber criminals find them
Cyber criminals often use automated tools to help them find and exploit known vulnerabilities. They scan systems, open ports, and more to find one that’s not been fixed and then use it to gain entry and execute unauthorised commands.
Companies can use these same scanning tools to identify and track known vulnerabilities so you can address them before criminals use them. This way, you’ll ensure your company is always aware of your system’s flaws and can patch them before they can be exploited.
2. Optimises the fixes you need to do
Many vulnerabilities are hard to find and aren’t recognisable once unless you do identify them. Vulnerability scanning reveals these flaws, so you’ll know what to do to remediate them. Instead of randomly applying patches to network components, you’ll identify the precise vulnerabilities to fix and give you an idea of the areas that should be given higher priority.
3. Assesses your security risk level
Regular vulnerability scans measure your IT hygiene as it identifies how effective your security measures are. Scanning software typically generates a report listing and scoring the detected assets in your network and their risk level. The detailed report shows the high-risk areas in your network, so you’ll know what to adjust in your security posture and strategy beyond just fixing or patching it. You can use the report to update or change your security strategy as needed.
4. Protects the integrity of your business assets
Many vulnerabilities are found in malicious code hidden inside applications and services. Without a scan, you won’t know that it’s there, and you may never know where cyber criminals are getting in or are stealing proprietary data from.
By doing regular scans, you ensure your business assets are protected, and signal to stakeholders and customers that you’re doing all you can to keep their data and trust safe.
5. Manages resources more efficiently
Today’s corporate networks are very large and complex, so keeping them safe requires a lot of support and resources. By performing regular vulnerability scans, you know which tech areas are most exposed so you can allocate resources more efficiently to handle them. You’ll have the right blend of tech skills in your organisation and can get things done faster than if you don’t. Ensure tech leaders understand the resources you need and budget for them accordingly every quarter or year.
6. Increases operational efficiencies
Even with a broad and complex company network, scanning for vulnerabilities can be done quickly since most of it can be automated. Your IT teams will save time and effort by only getting involved if there’s anything to patch or fix.
Using automation to scan for vulnerabilities doesn’t mean doing it less often or less comprehensively, however. It just reduces the amount of hands-on time IT employees spend doing it so that they can work on other projects and initiatives.
7. Save money
Data breaches cost companies a lot of money, from the IT team who remediates it to the loss of customers and even fines and damages if it results in legal action. Automated vulnerability scans will save you money in the long term because they’re easier to repeat and check things more systematically than a manual scan.
Plus, if your company has cyber insurance, you’ll need the vulnerability scan reports as proof that you were doing your due diligence to protect your systems.
8. Meet data protection requirements
Vulnerability scanning isn’t explicitly required by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation,) but it does require that companies enact appropriate technical and security measures to protect personal data. That includes identifying vulnerabilities in your networks and systems. Additionally, there may be other guidelines or legal requirements for vulnerability scanning, such as several ISO standards that require similar technical and security measures as GDPR. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) explicitly calls out vulnerability scanning for companies in the payment industry. Doing it regularly may be vital to your company’s compliance status.
9. Helps companies keep pace with changing security standards
It’s hard to keep track of all the components in today’s network environments as they span everything from on-premise to public and private clouds and everything in between. Your security strategy is essentially out of date by the time you finalise it.
Regular vulnerability scans can help you stay updated on new vulnerabilities and attack vectors so you can change configurations efficiently and maintain the integrity of your network.
10. Enhance credibility with your customers, partners, and stakeholders
Finally, your customers, partners, and stakeholders value companies that are honest about their security strategies. Doing regular vulnerability scans as part of a comprehensive security strategy enhances your credibility with them since you’re taking their security seriously. It’s an easy and effective way to communicate your security plan to them while protecting their data too.
Vulnerability scans are an essential part of the modern digital company. They proactively keep your networks safe, identify areas for improvement, and enhance your business’ integrity.
Even with a broad or complex network, you can still regularly do vulnerability scans to ensure your systems are protected. Automated scans will do the bulk of the work so your IT teams can concentrate on shoring up any vulnerabilities they find.