6 Reasons Every Business Needs A Network Vulnerability Scanner

Vulnerability Scanner

Large or small, publicly traded megacorp or sole-proprietorship, if your business has computers, you need a network vulnerability scanner. Attackers are going to probe your Internet connection and wireless networks looking for a way in. Malware can get into your network when a user downloads something from the Internet, and from there can exploit vulnerabilities to spread to other systems.

A vulnerability scanner can identify the chinks in your armour that can lead to data leakage, lost productivity, and system crashes, so you know what to fix before it’s too late. If you are considering a vulnerability scanner or trying to convince your boss that you need one, have a look at these six reasons every business needs a network vulnerability scanner.

1. It’s How Attackers Evaluate Your Network

Vulnerability scanners are a class of software that can be used both by good guys and bad guys. When an attacker wants to get into your network over the Internet (and it may not be your network they want, it may be any network and tag, you’re it!) one of the first things they will do is scan your Internet connection looking for easy ways in. Vulnerability scanners help find those ways in. Scanning your network gives you the same point of view attackers get, so you can see just what your exposure is.

2. It Can Help You Find Problems Before They Become Incidents

Regular use of a vulnerability scanner is a key part of prevention. New systems come online, new vulnerabilities are uncovered, and regular scanning of your systems using up to date vulnerability scanners is critical to quickly finding new vulnerabilities so you can patch them before anyone else finds them.

3. It’s The Fastest Way To Get To Know Your Network

A wise man once said “Know Thyself” and that’s a great piece of advice for anyone trying to manage a network. Even when you personally built every single system on the network, you still won’t know it as well as you can without a vulnerability scan to show you every listening port and running service in a concise list. It’s an eye-opening experience that will really help you understand your network on a new level.

4. An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

And the cost of a vulnerability scanner is far less than the cost to respond to even a single security incident. If a vulnerability scanner detects just one problem that you can resolve before it is exploited, you’ve got a positive ROI. The latest estimates put the cost of a security incident at anywhere from $200 per user just in recovery costs. Factor in lost productivity, damage to your company’s reputation, and the potential lost business if the incident becomes public knowledge (and depending upon what business you are in, you may be required to disclose) and a vulnerability scanner may be the single best IT investment you could make.

5. Compliance

Does your business work in the public sector or healthcare, or is publicly traded. Do you accept credit cards? If you answered yes to any of these, a vulnerability scanner may help your business show compliance with either legal or accreditation requirements. It can also help you to ensure your systems comply with your own standards and build guidelines, and confirm that patches are applied in a timely fashion, and services are configured securely.

6. Cover All Your Bases

You can manually check each and every system on your network once a week, but if you have more systems than you can count without taking off your shoes, you’re going to find it is extremely difficult to check every system, every time, for everything that could be wrong. Things will be missed, and that’s exactly what attackers are counting on. Using a vulnerability scanner is a very cost-effective and efficient way to make sure you cover all your bases and scan everything, every time.

Any one of the six reasons above is compelling enough to make it clear that you need a vulnerability scanner. Take all six together, and you can convince even the least technical boss that it’s a tool you simply cannot do without. Get a vulnerability scanner today, keep it updated, and regularly scan all your systems to be sure you’re safe.

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Emmanuel Carabott

Emmanuel Carabott CISSP heads security research at GFI Software. He has over 12 years’ experience in the security field and is a regular contributor to several websites and blogs. For more information about the benefits of using email usage reporting.