Best Practices For Vulnerability Scanning Frequency

Best Practices For Vulnerability Scanning Frequency

One of the best ways to avoid data breaches is to scan for vulnerabilities at regular intervals. Doing so will help you uncover flaws, misconfigurations, back-door entries and loopholes in your systems. Usually, a vulnerability scan involves finding entry-ways to your system that is connected to the internet, however, it is also important to scan your systems from within. In other words, secure internal systems behind firewalls must also be periodically checked. Once vulnerabilities are found, one must identify how they can be exploited and what can be done to fix them.

When should vulnerability scans be conducted?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you need to conduct a vulnerability scan. To determine the frequency in your organization, you will need to answer a few questions:

  • Does your industry have compliance requirements? If so, you will need to run scans at least as often as the regulations demand.
  • Do you make infrastructure changes to your IT systems often? It is a good idea to conduct an unscheduled scan, every time you introduce a new device to the system. This will ensure that the new addition doesn’t bring in fresh vulnerabilities.
  • What is the amount and type of data that your organization stores? If you have any contracts dependent on your security posture (e.g., government contractor) or you’re operating in a highly targeted industry (e.g., healthcare), checking for vulnerabilities must be prioritized.  

How often should vulnerability scans be run?

Vulnerability scans should be conducted as frequently as possible. Here are a few strategies to help you decide what works best based on your current scenario:

Every time you change a component of your IT infrastructure  

Tech companies see rapid changes in codes and infrastructure, whereas other companies may have a static set-up for months or even years. Organizations that have fast-changing assets and complex technology have higher chances of falling victim to configuration mistakes or introducing a component that may not be completely trustworthy. Hence, running a scan after making a new change is wise. Automated tools are great for routine scans, but if you are making constant complex changes to your system, consider a penetration scan, which is  a simulated cyber attack against your computer system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities. 

As often as you need to for good cyber-hygiene  

Many organizations erroneously think that if they don’t make changes to their IT infrastructure, they are safe. However, common software often has vulnerabilities – in fact, this has resulted in some of the most significant breaches in the recent past. There are new ways of attacks being developed everyday, targeting everything from your web server to your operating system. So, even if your vulnerability scan confirmed that your system is safe today, it may not be the case tomorrow. This doesn’t mean you should be scanning your systems every day. For good cyber hygiene, scan your external facing and internal infrastructure once a month. If your organization is highly sensitive to attacks, a daily or weekly scan is advisable. 

As specified by your compliance frameworks 

Most compliance frameworks state how often you need to perform a scan. While this is sufficient to allow you to tick a box, vulnerabilities can emerge overnight. It is better to go beyond what your compliance regulation states, if it is appropriate for your business.

Make resources available 

A vulnerability scan results in a lot of data output – as it reveals flaws that pose small and large risks to your company’s data. Given the amount of information that needs to be studied and acted upon, many organizations think of running a scan when they have enough resources. Sadly, vulnerabilities and attacks occur irrespective of your schedule; and therefore, limiting vulnerability scans to when you have the resources to deal with it isn’t the right thing to do. Instead, opt for a tool that generates less noise, prioritizes alerts based on importance, and requires little to no additional resources. Read more about how the best vulnerability scanner, SecurityShield by SureShield identifies threats and vulnerabilities, while guiding you through remediation and optimizing risk reduction. 

Better safe than sorry

Implementing enterprise-wide security and staying one step ahead of attackers is made easy with SecurityShield. The module works in harmony with regulatory controls while allowing easy deployment and customization to fit your vulnerability scanning needs. Run scheduled scans, get detailed reports and prioritized guided remediation. With no additional resource requirement, you will find it easy to monitor everything from servers to endpoints without being overwhelmed by data and alerts.

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