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Understanding the value of cybersecurity scanners and software

By Travis Bearden, Knights Technologies Cyber Security President
The combination of a network vulnerability scanner and endpoint management software is crucial for a robust cybersecurity posture. They work together to identify, prioritize and mitigate security risks.

Network vulnerability scanners and endpoint management software are essential for your organization's security and serve different roles in identifying and mitigating security risks.

The concept is to utilize the best of both worlds when using a vulnerability scanner to identify risk and endpoint management to mitigate the discovered vulnerability.

Here’s a look at each solution in more detail to understand the value.

Network Vulnerability Scanner:

  - Identifies Network Weaknesses: Network vulnerability scanners utilize specialized hardware and software to surface and deep scan your organization's network infrastructure. This scan utilizes software that can be installed on PCs and servers to report vulnerabilities that a surface scan could not detect. Scanning hardware will provide vulnerability information where client software cannot be installed such as routers, switches, security cameras and many more IoT devices.

  - Pinpoints External Threats: Scanners can discover external vulnerabilities. External devices or servers may include a firewall with a public-facing IP or a Microsoft Exchange Server. This type of server or device may easily be exploited by malicious actors attempting to gain unauthorized access to your network or compromise your systems if not regularly checked for vulnerabilities.

  - Helps with Compliance: A common mandate enforced by regulatory requirements and industry standards, such as PCI DSS or your insurance provider, requires annual or continuous network vulnerability scanning/testing. Looking into internal and external penetration testing is also a good idea, and it’s more than likely required for your specific compliance program.

  - Early Detection: Regularly scanning your network for vulnerabilities and applying the recommended mitigation can reduce the risk of attackers gaining access to your network and exploiting your organization. Many hackers look for an easy way into the network. If the network is well patched, you can dramatically reduce the risk of a data breach.

Endpoint Management Software:

  - Manages Devices: Endpoint management software monitors and manages endpoints. So, what is considered an endpoint? This ever-growing list includes desktops, laptops, mobile devices and servers. Endpoint Management ensures that all devices meet your organization's standards by being properly configured, updated, and compliant with security policies mandated by regulatory compliance.

  - Patch Management: Patch management is one of the most utilized aspects of endpoint management. Patch management distributes security patches and updates to endpoints on a schedule that works best for your organization. Approving and deploying patches immediately after release or internal testing can become automated. Utilizing patch management for critical and zero-day patching significantly reduces the attack vectors by releasing the patches organization-wide with a few simple clicks of a mouse.

  - Enforces Security Policies: Endpoint management software utilizes security policies and configurations on managed devices. Policies are enforced and consistently monitored and reported. This works hand in hand with the network vulnerability scanner. Enforce and verify that your equipment and policies work.

  - Detects Anomalies: Anomalies are associated with malware infection or unauthorized software that can cause harm or back door attacks. Endpoint Management does not take the place of Endpoint Detection and Response, but it does warn if usual behavior or specific anomalies are detected on endpoints.

The synergy between these two tools is evident in the following ways:

  1. Comprehensive Coverage: Network vulnerability scanners deep dive on network infrastructure devices and utilize software for PC deep scans, while endpoint management software addresses individual device hygiene and health. They comprehensively cover your organization's attack vectors. Remember, regulatory compliance may require external and internal threat scanning and mitigation.
  2. Timely Remediation: Utilize a network scanner to identify a vulnerability. Utilize endpoint management software to deploy patches or configuration changes to affected endpoints quickly. This reduces the extended risk of exposure and enhances security.
  3. Holistic Security Strategy: Integrating these tools into your organization's cybersecurity strategy or your Information Security Policy ensures a holistic approach to security. Network vulnerability scanning and endpoint management assist admins in proactively identifying and addressing vulnerabilities and threats at both the network and endpoint levels.

Consider your current cybersecurity hygiene. What does your Information Security Policy recommend for the security of your organization?

The combination of a network vulnerability scanner and endpoint management software is crucial for a robust cybersecurity posture. They work together to identify, prioritize and mitigate security risks.

The ultimate goal is to reduce the likelihood of security breaches and ensure the protection of your organization's sensitive data and assets.

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