Nixon Digital

When is the Right Time for Vulnerability Scanning?

Website | Vulnerability Scanning | Cybersecurity

(5 min read)

Tristan Terlouw – Digital marketing strategy

Vulnerability scanning plays a critical role in identifying security flaws and preventing cyber-attacks. However, knowing when it is the right time to conduct a scan can be a challenging task for organizations. While compliance standards such as HIPPA, PCI DSS, and GDPR provide you a guideline on scanning frequency, relying solely on these regulations may not be sufficient to protect your business from threats. Let us dive deeper in which factors can help you determine the optimal timing for scanning.

But first, what is a vulnerability scan?

A vulnerability scan compares findings against a database of known security threats. These scans focuses on common problems such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting and provide an overall picture of the security status of your applications. It is an important part of maintaining command and compliance standards, organisations can thus protect themselves from known threats and hackers. Thus, there are several benefits of vulnerability scanning:

  • Identify vulnerabilities: discover vulnerabilities in all your applications.
  • Prioritise remediation efforts: identify the severity of vulnerabilities so they can be prioritised on a low-to-high-risk basis.
  • Automate scans: they can be¬†automated.
  • Integration: the scans be integrated with other security tools.

So, it is considered an essential part of securing all your websites. This is especially important for companies that process personal data. Leaking confidential information can result in significant financial loss, reputational damage, and even legal liability.

Continuous Scanning: The Most Effective Approach

Continuous scanning, which involves scanning your IT infrastructure, is an effective approach to vulnerability management. Since vulnerabilities can emerge at any time from any digital asset, continuous scanning ensures that you are promptly alerted to potential security risks.

For example, Continuous scanning can impact the performance of all of your websites. Moreover, it can generate a high volume of alerts, leading to alert fatigue among your security teams. Additionally, false positives can consume valuable time and resources. These factors should be weighed against the benefits of continuous scanning.

Infrastructural Changes and Vulnerability Scanning

In today’s IT landscape, where infrastructural changes frequently, vulnerability scanning should be aligned with these changes. Modern organizations, especially those in the IT sector, often introduce rapid changes to their websites, applications, and architecture. Each of these changes introduces potential security gaps and misconfigurations, making scanning for vulnerabilities essential after each change.

Determine the right time

Effective vulnerability management requires a proactive approach that goes beyond a one-time scanning project. Did you know that ransomware attacks occur every 11 seconds in today’s environment? it is necessitated to have a more vigilant approach. It is not sufficient for your IT ecosystem to do monthly or quarterly scans to prevent security breaches.

Cybersecurity experts recommend that businesses should perform these scans on a daily basis. However, the frequency of scanning should be tailored to your organization’s unique risk appetite and the criticality of the IT assets and network devices in your digital ecosystem.

The complexity of your infrastructure and the severity of identified vulnerabilities also play a crucial role in determining the scanning frequency. In environments where resolving vulnerabilities takes time, conducting a scan at least twice a week is advisable. It is important to follow up with additional scans after applying security fixes and patches to ensure complete resolution of previously identified vulnerabilities.

Leveraging Automated Scanning Tools

The scale and complexity of large networks and rapidly changing IT infrastructures can make vulnerability scanning a resource-intensive task. While biweekly scanning may be suitable for organizations with fewer IT assets and simpler networks, organizations with a significant number of  IT assets and intricate infrastructures require a more efficient approach.

In such cases, deploying an intelligent, automated scanning tool can streamline the scanning process. These tools passively scan your expanding IT infrastructure and proactively identify vulnerabilities in new additions or changes to your network. By leveraging automation, you can effectively manage your scanning efforts and reduce the strain on your resources.

Maintaining Cybersecurity

To maintain robust cybersecurity and good cyber hygiene, real-time vulnerability data is crucial. By combining daily scans with continuous monitoring, organizations can stay ahead of emerging security threats and prevent security breaches. The right time for vulnerability scanning depends on several factors, including the frequency of infrastructural changes, the complexity of your IT ecosystem, and the criticality of your IT assets and network devices. By leveraging automated scanning tools and continuous monitoring, you can efficiently manage your scanning efforts and maintain robust cybersecurity.

So, what is the Right Time for Vulnerability Scanning?

Vulnerability scanning is an essential component of effective cybersecurity. By identifying security gaps and misconfigurations, it can help prevent cyber-attacks and data breaches. However, determining the right time for vulnerability scanning can be challenging, given the dynamic nature of IT infrastructures and emerging security threats.

Effective vulnerability management requires a proactive approach that goes beyond periodic or one-time scanning projects. Continuous scanning, aligned with infrastructural changes, can help organizations stay ahead of emerging threats and maintain robust cybersecurity. By leveraging automated scanning tools and continuous monitoring, organizations can efficiently manage their scanning efforts and protect their IT assets from security risks.

In conclusion, this process is a critical aspect of cybersecurity that should be approached with a proactive mindset and a tailored approach that meets your organization’s unique needs and risk appetite.