Welcome to ITS! Learn more about our strategic partnership with Digital Seattle!

How Important is a Regularly Scheduled Vulnerability Scan?

Cybersecurity

When you lock your door before leaving the house, do you twist the knob to check if the lock is properly engaged before feeling satisfied? If you do, then you already understand the basic idea of a vulnerability scan. It's about ensuring the tools you have in place to protect yourself are in working order. Only, instead of your front door, vulnerability scans are usually done for your network environment.

The problem is that, unlike twisting a doorknob to check if your locks are engaged, vulnerability scans are significantly more costly. They require time, money, and effort, which are resources your organization might not have in abundance. It's no wonder many small businesses forgo the process and instead put resources where results are more visible. Unfortunately, that's a misconception because vulnerability scans are critical components of a sound cybersecurity strategy.

Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) is an IT company with decades of experience providing businesses with advanced cybersecurity solutions. In this article, we'll outline why vulnerability scans are essential and should be done regularly. To do that, we’ll explore the following:

Why Do You Need a Regularly Scheduled Vulnerability Scan? 

Female cybersecurity professional conducting a vulnerability scan on multiple monitors

There are a lot of reasons to conduct regular vulnerability scans. Consider the top 3 reasons why you would do well to incorporate them into your cybersecurity strategy: 

1. Cyber Threats are Evolving Constantly

Hundreds of unique new cyber threats are discovered in the wild each year. That number grows as cybercriminals learn to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to create more sophisticated attacks. The sobering fact is that cybercriminals will always be a few steps ahead of you. And that’s if you regularly update your cybersecurity. However, they will be miles out front if you don’t. 

Regular vulnerability scans will help you keep up. It will ensure that you’re aware of new vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered, allowing you to prepare against them. 

2. Compliance Requirements are Becoming Stricter

Just as cyber threats evolve constantly, so do compliance requirements. Recently, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Safeguards Rule underwent massive upheavals to ensure every industry covered under their jurisdictions is up to date with the latest cyber threats. Those are just the ones that had major changes recently. 

Many regulatory bodies across different industries are updating their requirements, too. Those updates typically require organizations to perform regular security assessments and maintain a strong security posture. To remain compliant and avoid costly fines and penalties, consider conducting regular vulnerability scans. 

RELATED: What Happens If My Company Is Out of Compliance [VIDEO] 

3. Data Breaches are Getting More Expensive

Modern organizations are more reliant on technology than ever. Unfortunately, that also means the data you generate becomes more valuable and enticing to cybercriminals. 

In fact, the cost of a single data breach has ballooned in recent years. According to the 2023 report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach has reached $9.48 million per breach in the US. That’s a whopping 75.5% increase from 10 years ago (2013) when the average cost of a breach was $5.4 million. 

It’s one of the biggest reasons you should conduct regularly scheduled vulnerability scans. It can help you prevent or spot an attack early, allowing you to mitigate the damage. In that regard, you shouldn’t look at vulnerability scans as an added cost but rather as an investment in security. 

Free Network Assessment

7 Benefits of Conducting Vulnerability Scans Regularly 

Regularly conducting vulnerability scans offers a range of benefits that contribute to your organization’s cybersecurity posture. Here are the key advantages: 

1. Early Detection of Security Weaknesses

Vulnerability scans help proactively identify your systems' potential security weaknesses and gaps before malicious actors can exploit them. That allows your organization to address these vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of successful cyber-attacks. 

2. Ensuring Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

As we mentioned, many industries have specific regulatory requirements governing data security. Regular vulnerability scans help your organization stay compliant with these regulations by identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities that could lead to non-compliance. 

3. Improved Resource Allocation and Risk Management

Vulnerability scans provide insights into your risk landscape, enabling you to allocate resources efficiently. By prioritizing the remediation of high-risk vulnerabilities, your organization can manage its security risks more effectively and make informed decisions about resource allocation. 

4. Enhanced Security Awareness

Regular vulnerability scans contribute to your overall security awareness. The insights gained from scans help your security team and decision-makers understand the evolving threat landscape, allowing them to make better decisions regarding security measures and investments. 

5. Demonstrating Due Diligence and Trustworthiness

Regularly conducting vulnerability scans demonstrates your commitment to due diligence in cybersecurity. It enhances your organization's reputation for trustworthiness, both internally among employees and externally with customers, partners, and stakeholders. 

6. Cost Savings in the Long Run

Proactively addressing vulnerabilities through regular scans can result in long-term cost savings. Preventing security incidents and data breaches helps your organization avoid the financial implications associated with incident response, legal consequences, and potential damage to brand reputation. 

7. Continuous Improvement in Cybersecurity Posture

Regular scans contribute to continuous improvement in your company’s cybersecurity posture by addressing new vulnerabilities that may arise due to system changes, updates, or emerging threats. 

Cybersecurity expert performing a password vulnerability scan with binary code background

How to Conduct a Vulnerability Scan 

Conducting a vulnerability scan involves several steps: 

Step 1: Define the Scope 

The first step is to define the scope of the scan. This could be a single system, a subnet, or your entire network. The scope usually depends on your organization’s size, complexity, and specific security requirements. 

Step 2: Choose the Right Tools 

There are many vulnerability scanning tools available, both open-source and commercial. Your choice will depend on your organization's specific needs.   

Step 3: Run the Scan 

The scanning tool is run against the systems defined in the scope. It checks for known vulnerabilities in the system’s software, configuration, and services. 

Step 4: Analyze the Results 

The scan results are then analyzed to identify potential vulnerabilities. This often involves correlating the findings with other data and removing any false positives. 

Step 5: Remediate Based on Findings 

Once the vulnerabilities have been identified, they need to be remediated. That could involve patching software, changing configurations, or even replacing hardware. The specific remediation steps depend on the nature of your network’s vulnerability. 

Step 6: Document and Report 

Finally, create a report detailing the findings of the scan and the steps taken to remediate any vulnerabilities. This report can be used for audit purposes or to help plan future security measures. 

Male security analyst using advanced systems to run a vulnerability scan in a control room

Need Help with Conducting Regular Vulnerability Scans and Analyzing Results? 

Conducting regular vulnerability scans might cost time, money, and effort. However, it's a worthwhile endeavor. The benefits of conducting regular vulnerability scans extend beyond immediate threat mitigation. They contribute to a proactive and informed approach to cybersecurity, enhancing overall organizational resilience and ensuring compliance with industry regulations and best practices. 

ITS has helped hundreds of businesses conduct regular vulnerability scans to ensure their systems are protected. If you need help getting started, schedule a free IT security assessment to find out where your current efforts stand. Or you can check out the following resources to learn more about proactive cybersecurity: 

Free Network Assessment