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Why is Vulnerability Scanning so important?

As the Cyber Security threat landscape continues to evolve, the emphasis on regular updates is ever-present, with bad actors looking to exploit any vulnerabilities and gain unauthorised access to systems. Operating systems and programs regularly release patch updates to address known vulnerabilities, however doing this alone fails to address configuration related issues or where patches are currently unavailable.

Vulnerability scanning goes beyond simply performing updates; it checks the target for outstanding vulnerabilities, whether an update is available or not, and identifies misconfigurations.

There are many types of vulnerability scans, and that the effectiveness of these scans may vary depending on the scan performed and how they are deployed.  Some of the most common vulnerability scan approaches include:

  • Host-based – An authenticated agent is deployed to the scan targets, where devices are fully indexed and scanned, irrespective of being on the Organisation’s network or not.
  • Network – A scanner is deployed internally, with appropriate authentication to access the Organisation’s network scanning all devices that are connected to the network, either locally or via VPN.
  • External Perimeter – A scanner is typically deployed externally (or in the Cloud) and scans an Organisation’s perimeter network to identify any open ports and vulnerable services.
  • Web Application – A scanner is typically deployed externally (or in the Cloud) and scans for outdated plugins, misconfigurations and vulnerabilities such as SQL injection and Cross Site Scripting (XSS).

Vulnerability scans are commonly performed during Penetration tests, whereby systems are scrutinised to identify vulnerabilities, however vulnerability scans alone are not a replacement for Penetration tests. A Penetration test is more a detailed hands-on examination by a real person that tries to detect and exploit weaknesses in your system using a range of manual and automated techniques.  To read more about Penetration testing – see one of our previous Blogs!

How can my Organisation implement Vulnerability Scanning?

You can take a DIY approach and either use an open source Vulnerability Scanner such as OpenVAS, or procure a commercial Vulnerability Management product from a reputable vendor like Tenable and Qualys.  Selecting the right product or tool will depend on the chosen deployment method as described above, and also what sort of scan coverage you would like to have.

Another option is to choose a Managed Security Service provider (MSSP) and let them deliver the service on your behalf.

Our managed Vulnerability Scanning service doesn’t overwhelm you with information on every possible vulnerability. Along with our market leading scanning engines, we have a team of highly trained, experienced Security Analysts dedicated to exposing and prioritising the most relevant gaps in your security and the wider threat landscape.


We intelligently analyse and correlate these results from our scanning tools with open-source information about the status of vulnerabilities and produce a clear and concise Monthly Report with details, including a remediation plan which can then be put into action by your in-house or outsourced IT department.

We provide full support throughout the remediation process, assisting Clients in implementing the right security fixes as quickly as possible whilst minimising the impact on internal resources.

To learn how our managed Vulnerability Scanning service can help to protect your Organisation please contact a member of the team by emailing or calling us on 0161 706 0244.