4 Types of Security Scans Every Organization Should Be Using

January 31, 2020

While most people keep regular office hours in their day-to-day lives, hackers are at work 24 hours a day. They don't even take vacations! 

And since your network is always connected to the outside world via the internet, you must ensure its protection on a constant basis. Otherwise, you leave your organization open to a variety of different cyberattacks. 

One way to keep your business safe at all hours is to conduct continuous network scanning. This is a vital step, as according to the 2018 Cost of Data Breach study from the Ponemon Institute, it takes companies 196 days on average to discover a data breach. That's a staggering number and leaves an incredible amount of time for hackers to wreak havoc on your systems. 

The Best Way to Defend Against a Data Breach

By being more proactive, security teams can use a continuous approach to find and patch vulnerabilities in a fraction of that time—before, not after, a breach takes place.

Compared to point-in-time vulnerability scans done yearly or quarterly, continuous scans and 24/7 monitoring greatly reduces the window of exposure organizations face.

Laptops, monitors, routers, and cell phones connected to a central hub

There are four types of scans an organization should use as part of a holistic continuous network scanning strategy:

4. External Vulnerability Scans

This type of scan looks at your network from the hacker’s perspective. It scans external IP addresses and domains, probing for vulnerabilities in internet-facing infrastructure to determine which can be exploited. 

3. Internal Vulnerability Scans 

Internal vulnerability scans are a little more complicated than external scans, because there are more assets to scan for vulnerabilities within the organization. This scan will discover and catalog your core IP-connected endpoints, such as laptops, servers, peripherals, IoT-enabled machines, and mobile devices.

The Internal Vulnerability scan then scans those endpoints for vulnerabilities due to misconfigurations or unpatched software, helping you prioritize the devices that require more immediate attention to secure the network.

2. Host-Based Agents

A host-based agent lives on the device itself and tracks active processes, applications, Wi-Fi networks, or USB devices that don’t conform to company policies. It can then flag the user or IT to fix the issue, or in some cases close the vulnerability by blocking the malicious action.

1. Penetration Testing Tools

IT teams can go beyond passive scanning with penetration testing tools that actively simulate real-world attacks on the network. These attacks help verify the effectiveness of your cybersecurity efforts, identify any potential weak spots, and test the human response capabilities of your security team and IT partners. Valuable and effective, penetration testing tools are vital for to gauge your system's security posture. 

With these four tools, your organization will greatly reduce its risk of a data breach. 

If you'd like to learn how to gain visibility into your cyber risk posture by downloading our white paper, Reduce Your Attack Surface with Continuous Risk Assessment.


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