What are Network Vulnerability Scanners?

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Network vulnerability scanners are software solutions used to detect the vulnerabilities within a system, network, or application. With a network vulnerability scanner, you can identify the weakness on your network, computer, or IT assets, which are possible targets for misuse by cybercriminals.

By scanning your IT environment for vulnerabilities, you get to learn your current risk exposure, the effectiveness of your current security measures, as well as how you can improve your security via vulnerability remediation. Having and deploying a network vulnerability scanner is one of the best network security practices you can do.

A network vulnerability scanner allows you to quickly evaluate your network for holes, help you to prioritize and remediate network weaknesses, and give you a general overview of your security teams’ overall process and success. Now, since you know what network vulnerability scanners are, let’s look at the top features of network vulnerability scanners.

Coverage

The first and foremost feature of a network vulnerability scanner is its coverage. A good network vulnerability scanner should be able to cover as many assets as possible during the scan. This includes physical systems and virtual ones, such as servers, workstations, routers, switches, firewalls, storage devices, and so on.

Additionally, the network vulnerability scanner should also have the ability to discover any new assets that are added to the network post-scan. This helps ensure that no asset goes unnoticed and that your scan is comprehensive.

Ease of Use

A network vulnerability scanner is only as good as its usability. A scanner should be easy to deploy and configure so that even someone with little technical knowledge can use it. No matter how feature-rich and comprehensive a scanner is, it’s of no use if it’s difficult to use.

It should also have a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to interpret scan results. Additionally, the network vulnerability scanner should come with comprehensive documentation covering all aspects of the scanner, from installation to its features.

Accuracy

Another important feature of vulnerability scanning tools is accuracy. A good scanner should be able to provide accurate results so that you can take the necessary measures to remediate the identified vulnerabilities.

Several factors affect the accuracy of a network vulnerability scanner, such as the quality of its security plugins, false positives, and so on. Make sure to do your research and choose a scanner with a good reputation for accuracy.

Real-Time Scanning

Real-time scanning is another must-have feature in a network vulnerability scanner. This means that the scanner should be able to scan your assets as soon as they’re added to the network and identify any vulnerabilities present in them. This is important because it helps you keep your network secure and reduces the chances of cybercriminals exploiting any new vulnerabilities that may arise.

Scheduling

Another useful feature that a network vulnerability scanner should have is scheduling. This allows you to automate scans to be run at regular intervals without any manual intervention. This is especially useful for large networks that would take a long time to scan manually. Additionally, scheduling also allows you to run scans at off-peak hours so that they don’t interfere with your network’s performance.

Reporting

Reporting is another important feature of a network vulnerability scanner. A good scanner should generate comprehensive reports that cover all aspects of the scan, such as the type of vulnerabilities found, the number of assets scanned, and so on. Additionally, the report should also be easy to interpret so that you can quickly take action to remediate the identified vulnerabilities. Most scanners come with customizable reports so that you can tailor them to your specific needs.

Advanced authentication functionality

With the proliferation of cloud-based assets and remote users, securing networks is becoming increasingly difficult. This is why many scanners now come with advanced authentication functionality that helps to secure your network further. This includes features such as two-factor authentication, single sign-on, etc. These features help make it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to your network and reduce the chances of a successful attack.

Compliance checking

Another useful feature that some scanners come with is compliance checking. This allows you to check if your assets are compliant with industry standards and regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, and so on. This is important because it helps you ensure that your network is secure and up to date with the latest security requirements.

Support

Last but not least, a network vulnerability scanner should also come with good support. This is important because you may run into problems while using the scanner and need the vendor’s assistance to resolve them. Choose a vendor that offers good technical support and can respond to your queries on time. Additionally, the vendor should also provide regular updates for the scanner to keep up with the latest threats.

Bottom Line

Network vulnerability scanners are an important part of any security program. They help you to identify vulnerabilities in your network so that you can take measures to remediate them. When choosing a network vulnerability scanner, keep the above-mentioned features in mind. This will help you to choose a scanner that’s best suited for your specific needs.

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