Vulnerability Scanning is the process of identifying security weaknesses and coding flaws in systems and software running on them. This is a vital component of a vulnerability alert management program, which has one overarching goal; to protect the organization from breaches and the exposure of critical and/or sensitive data. These programs rely on assessments to gauge security readiness and minimize risk, and vulnerability scanning is a critical tool in the cybersecurity toolbox.
A vulnerability scanner is an application that identifies and creates an inventory of all systems connected to a network. For each device that it identifies, it attempts to identify the operating system running, user accounts, open ports and protocols, and related software installed on the system. After building up an inventory, the vulnerability scanner checks each item in the inventory against one or more databases of known vulnerabilities. The result is a list of all the systems found and identified on the network, highlighting any that have known vulnerabilities and need attention.
What does this mean for an SMB?
Vulnerability scanning should be performed at SMBs to improve their cybersecurity defenses. Adding this tool into your VAMP toolbox can be highly beneficial as it helps identified a variety of entry points for hackers; from misconfiguration, to vulnerable software that needs upgrading and patching, a vulnerability scan can dramatically improve your cybersecurity defenses.
In addition to vulnerability scanning, SMBs should include all of the following activities and solutions to enhance their cybersecurity protections:
- Adopt a password manager for better personal/work password hygiene
- Require two-factor authentication on any SaaS solution or critical accounts
- Require 14+ character Passwords in your Governance Policies
- Train employees to spot and avoid email-based phishing attacks
- Check that employees can spot and avoid phishing emails by testing them
- Backup data using the 3-2-1 method
- Incorporate the Principle of Least Privilege
- Perform a risk assessment every two to three years
To learn more about Vulnerability Scanning, watch this short 5-minute video:
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- Instructional Videos (HowTo) – very helpful for our SuperUsers!
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