Ideal qualities in vulnerability scanner tools
Unsure what you need to look for in a network vulnerability scanner tool? There are a lot of questions, especially when it comes to compliance and protection levels, be sure to get all of the necessary answers.
Accuracy – vital in vulnerability scanner tools
The primary requirement for a network vulnerability scanner tool is accurate testing. Poor accuracy produces two kinds of testing error. Overlooking a vulnerability (a false negative) leaves a security flaw you don’t know about. Reporting a vulnerability as present when in fact none exists (false positive) sends you looking for something that can’t be found. Obviously you don’t want either. Clearly it’s important for a solution to find the vulnerabilities. But an inaccurate vulnerability scanner report can be more trouble than it’s worth.
If the first 4 vulnerabilities reported by your solution didn’t actually exist upon close examination, it becomes pretty difficult to take the 5th vulnerability seriously. A report that says there are dozens of serious security issues when there are really only 10 is more distraction than assistance. Also, how valuable is your time? Your security budget doesn’t get larger just because your VA system says there *may be* dozens or hundreds of vulnerabilities on your network.
The hidden cost of an inaccurate vulnerability scanner tool is the man-hours it takes to chase false positives, and prove that they are false. The total cost of ownership of a VA system with a 5 to 8% false positive rate is doubled when the time to verify and eliminate false positives is included. Even a 2% error rate can be a headache.
Simple, fast and comprehensive vulnerability scanning
Manual vulnerability scanner tools are problematic for complicated, large or widely distributed networks due to the man-hours it takes to maintain them and are infrequently used. Tools that aren’t automated can be time consuming to set up and operate, plagued by high false positive rates and cause network resource issues.
Vulnerability scanning tools need to:
- Get your tactical security work done routinely and quickly
- Provide the fixes you and your staff need for fast mitigation
- Automatically scan and find new equipment, open ports and apps
- Scale to handle multiple networks, business units, security teams
Compliance challenges for vulnerability scanners
The frequency and increasing severity of today’s security threats are forcing companies to:
- Simplify PCI-DSS, GDPR, SOX and HIPAA compliance
- Strengthen current network security processes and procedures to protect against attacks by both external and internal threats
- Deploy security solutions that can span the entire company and compile cumulative reporting
- Respond to “Security Compliance” mandates, IT upgrades and internal policy changes
- Perform penetration tests.
Your vulnerability scanner needs to complement, support and simplify your work on meeting compliance standards, and to do this with actual and measurable improvement in network security.
Automated vulnerability scanning
Vulnerability scanning can be done weekly or monthly, if properly automated. Your team may not act on every scan, but when it is ready to take action, having recently completed scans make it possible to put their precious time into the most important vulnerabilities present at that moment. Multiple levels of reporting should allow each stakeholder in each business unit the level of detail they need to act.
The right tool will pinpoint your most vulnerable IPs at any one time by either a ranked list or drill down graph. Identify exactly which patches, solutions and workarounds to install. Re-scan networks and hosts after solutions have been implemented to verify and document compliance and remediation.
Solutions to vulnerabilities delivered
Each vulnerability scanner report should contain the exact solutions needed to repair the problems found. This in-depth information should show how to fix and improve the security of your network, both as whole and for each of the devices in it. The recommended solutions include device specific information as well as custom tailored solutions for your environment.
Manage vulnerabilities across the enterprise with one tool
Whether your network is as small as one LAN, involves hundreds of business units, or crosses continents, all testing and report generation of your chosen vulnerability scanner tool should be managed from one location. Individual reports can be automatically delivered to each business unit.