All it takes is a single unpatched hole in your organization’s digital defenses for a hacker to wreak havoc on your data and systems. That’s why it’s critical to have a vulnerability scanning strategy in place, so you can identify and patch any security holes before they’re exploited. But how often should your business undergo vulnerability scanning? And what are the best practices for conducting these scans? These questions will be answered in the following guide.
Factors to Consider When Deciding How Often to Scan
Here are five factors you should consider when deciding how often to scan your systems for vulnerabilities:
- The frequency of changes to your network and systems: If your network and systems are constantly changing (e.g. new devices are added, software is updated, etc.), then you’ll need to scan more frequently to ensure that all new changes are captured.
- The sensitivity of the data on your network: If you’re handling sensitive data (e.g. personal information, financial records, etc.), then you’ll need to be extra vigilant about security and scan more often to reduce the risk of a breach.
- The compliance requirements for your industry: Certain industries have regulatory requirements around vulnerability scanning (e.g. PCI DSS for the payment processing industry). If your company falls under one of these regulations, then you’ll need to follow the specified scanning frequency.
- The size of your network: Larger networks are more complex and take longer to scan, so you may need to increase the frequency if you have a lot of devices and data to cover.
- Your organization’s tolerance for risk: Some companies are willing to accept a higher level of risk than others. If your organization is comfortable with a little more risk, then you can scan less often.
Best Practices for Conducting Vulnerability Scans
In addition to deciding how often to scan, it’s also important to consider the best practices for conducting these scans. Here are five tips to keep in mind:
- Use an Automated Scanning Tool: Trying to conduct a vulnerability scan manually is time-consuming and error-prone. Instead, use an automated scanning tool that can quickly and accurately identify any security holes in your systems.
- Schedule Scans for Off-Hours: To minimize the impact on your business operations, schedule scans for off-hours when traffic is low.
- Review Results Carefully: Once the scan is complete, review the results carefully to determine which vulnerabilities pose the greatest risk to your organization. Then, prioritize patching the most critical issues first.
- Keep Your Systems Up-to-Date: In addition to regular vulnerability scanning, it’s important to keep your systems up-to-date with the latest security patches. This will help to reduce the chances of a successful cyberattack.
- Implement a Security Policy: To reduce the risk of a security breach, it’s important to have a security policy in place that covers issues such as password management, data handling, and access control.
Now that you know how often your business should undergo vulnerability scanning, and what the best practices are for conducting these scans, you can put a plan in place to help keep your data safe.