Why You Need to Run an Internal Vulnerability Scan

  • Team Omega
  • July 15, 2022

As business technology grows and evolves, so do the system risks and ever-present attacks. To assist in avoiding a data breach, organizations should run internal vulnerability scans to identify vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited. These internal vulnerability scans help detect out-of-date software and potential misconfigurations.

What is an Internal Vulnerability Scan?

Before determining whether your system is overdue for a vulnerability scan or not, let’s first discuss what exactly this scan is. An internal vulnerability scan is a series of checks that examine an organization’s system and security from an internal perspective. These can be preferable to an external scan in some cases because it can reveal vulnerabilities that can be seen from behind the external-facing security infrastructure.

While many sites offer commercial applications or open-source solutions, each will require a significant amount of work on your end to integrate before scanning. However, our Omega Monitor regularly runs internal vulnerability scans to help you monitor the health of your network and give you the data to ensure you continue to meet PCI compliance standards.

What are the Benefits of Using this Scan?

By performing an internal scan on a regular basis, you can find the weak points within your security posture, giving you the chance to be proactive about issues you find. Through this, you can also get more insight into how your patch management efforts are faring and how quickly your team is able to match vulnerabilities once found.

How Often Should Internal Scans Be Performed?

PCI Standards often change with the evolution of payment technology with the current PCI DSS stating that, at the minimum, your scans should be performed quarterly. With this and your industry and type of business in mind, you can choose if you would like to increase the frequency of your internal scans. For instance, a small family-owned business doesn’t need to or have the capacity to run as many vulnerability scans as a massive, enterprise-level corporation. Across the board, a monthly scan is recommended as the bare minimum, with a change to weekly scans as your system’s use increases.

What’s the Difference Between Credentialed & Non-Credentialed Scans?

Once you start to do your research, you’ll come across credentialed and non-credentialed scans. At first glance, you would want to only run credentialed scans, right? Not quite. A credential scan requires logging in and is conducted with a trusted user’s eye view of the environment. However, a non-credential scan doesn’t require credentials and gives an outsider’s eye view of the environment, providing valuable information but at a slightly lower quality compared to a credential scan. Since not all vulnerabilities can be detected by one type of scan thus, it is important that organizations run both credential and non-credential scans to obtain the most accurate vulnerability information.

What Steps Should You Take After Reviewing the Results of Your Vulnerability Scan?

After you’ve run your internal vulnerability scan, you receive a ton of data and deciding what to address first can be complex. To take full advantage of the results of your scan, we’ve detailed here a simple, three-step process you can follow to get the most out of this process, now and every time your internal vulnerability scan is ran.

1. Complete a Full Analysis

The very first action you must take after receiving your results is to structure and analyze the data within. Whether your team combs through the information manually or you run it through an automated process is up to your organization. So long as you understand the vulnerabilities found in your system and nothing has fallen through the cracks, you can form a strategy to properly address your vulnerabilities.

2. Create Your List of Action Items

With everyone on the same page about the results of your internal scan and where your vulnerabilities lie, it’s now time to create a list of action items. This can include anything from patching an issue you found or discussing areas of risk you hadn’t noticed before, such as misconfigurations or forgotten testing accounts. Once you have these, you can move onto the final step.

3. Utilize a Vulnerability Assessment Risk Matrix

Vulnerability assessment risk matrixes are used in conjunction with internal scan results to determine the priority level that should be assigned to each vulnerability, as well as what remediation efforts and/or compensating controls shall be enforced. By assigning the level of likelihood a vulnerability could be exploited and how large of an impact that attack could have, you now have a way to prioritize the most critical action items on your list. This matrix also provides an easy way to communicate to other departments and shareholders the data your scan produced.

By adding an internal vulnerability scan to your risk assessment and security processes, you can now take a proactive approach with identifying and remediating weak points within your infrastructure. Save time and streamline your data security with the Omega solutions that fit your organizational needs. Get in touch and we’ll tell you how we can help you stay compliant.