Vulnerability scanning plays a critical role in maintaining the security of any organization’s IT infrastructure. Vulnerability scanners detect, evaluate, and report potential security threats present in software, hardware, and network devices. They enable organizations to proactively identify and remediate vulnerabilities before they can be exploited, improving their security posture, and minimizing the potential for data breaches and cyberattacks.
There are multiple vendors that have developed vulnerability scanning tools, catering to a diverse range of organizations and use-cases. Whether it’s small businesses or large enterprises, there is a vulnerability scanning solution designed for your organization. These tools offer advanced features such as automated scanning, third-party integrations, graphical interfaces, and comprehensive reporting to help IT security teams identify, prioritize, and address potential risks in a timely manner.
This guide will explore the top 10 vulnerability scanning tools currently available, examining their key features, ease of use, scalability, and overall effectiveness. We have taken customer feedback and expert opinions into account, giving you a comprehensive and holistic view of each platform.
Everything You Need To Know About Vulnerability Scanning Software (FAQs)
What Is Vulnerability Scanning Software?
Vulnerability Scanning software allows organizations to detect, identify, and diagnose security and configuration errors within software, hardware, and networks. They will carry out thorough monitoring and analysis to identify anomalies or areas where your technologies are not working as they should.
Not only will vulnerability scanners enable you to identify what and where an issue is, but they will also provide valuable insights into how the threat can be best addressed and resolved. This type of actionable intelligence ensures that security teams are given all the contextual knowledge that they need. This, in turn, ensures that they can resolve the issue effectively.
Vulnerability scanners can detect issues across a number of organizational areas, allowing them to detect a range of issues and vulnerabilities. To achieve this, vulnerability scanners use different types of scans to detect different issues in different areas. These include:
- Network-based scans – these can identify network vulnerabilities and misconfigurations
- Host-based scans – focus on workstations and servers to identify flaws, they also give insights into configuration settings and patch history
- Wireless scans – is used to identify rough access points and ensure that a wireless network is properly secured
- Application scans – can detect software vulnerabilities or misconfigurations
- Database scans – assesses where there are weak points and vulnerabilities within a database
How Does Vulnerability Scanning Software Work?
Vulnerability scanning software works by gathering data and intelligence from sources across your network. This data is then compared with expected results, or previous baselines and standards. Over time, your vulnerability scanner is able to build up a clear picture of usual levels and results. This ensures that anomalous results can be identified easily.
Once an issue has been identified, a vulnerability scanning tool will attempt to quantify the significance of the issue. It will assess and understand the areas that would be affected by this vulnerability and specify what the issue may look like in real terms.
Some vulnerability scanners will incorporate a range of cybersecurity tools that can carry out proactive remediation, ensuring that any vulnerabilities are addressed as soon as they are identified.
More complex vulnerabilities will need to be addressed by IT managers or SOC teams. They should receive comprehensive and contextual actionable intelligence, making this resolution process as straightforward as possible. Even for issues that have been resolved automatically, relevant users should be notified of the details. These notifications are not as urgent as the instances where remediation action is needed.
What Features Should You Look For In Vulnerability Scanning Software?
Vulnerability scanning tools are important parts of your organization’s security infrastructure. To ensure that your solution works effectively for your organization, it is worth taking the time to consider how your organization operates, and what areas need to be addressed.
Comprehensive Coverage – Your platform needs to integrate across your entire organization, gathering data from all sources. If its coverage is limited in anyway, you will not be able to have complete insight into your security status. This could lead to breaches where attacks come from places that you do not expect.
Compliance Compatibility – Having a solution that acts in accordance with compliance policies and frameworks can make the auditing process smoother and require fewer resources. This also give added piece of mind; you know that your network is being assessed to industry standards.
Detailed Reports – As these tools have access to such a large amount of data across your network, it is important that this information is fed back to relevant users and can inform future decisions. A solution may be able to identify areas that could be optimized, even if it is not deemed a vulnerability.
Automated Remediation – You can streamline processes drastically though automation. Rather than relaying critical information to IT teams who can then enact changes, automation cuts out the middleman, allowing issues to be resolved faster and more efficiently. This is not only a more effective way of addressing issues, but it also preserves valuable human time to focus on other tasks that cannot be automated.