One of the best tools in your cybersecurity tool bag is network scanning, it is the real MVP. It is the MVP because they can offer great insight into your devices, help prevent intrusions on your network, and they can help identify intrusions on your network. For the purpose of this article I am using the blanket term “network scanning” to describe a handful of different cybersecurity scanning tools.

The different types of network scanning

As mentioned above I am using a catch all term, but I do want to expand on the varieties of scanning tools available for your cybersecurity tool bag. These are also only a brief description of the many kinds of scans you may want to consider regularly running.

External vulnerability scans: These scans look at your network as a hacker would, examining your network for any vulnerabilities they can exploit. Everyday your network is being scanned by strangers on the internet. These scans happen for many reasons, some just for research while others are being malicious. These scans are are hackers find the small business victim.

Internal vulnerability scans: These scans are critical to learn about your network from top to bottom. Not only can they identify all the devices on your network, they can also identify operating systems of those devices and other software installed on them. These types of scans can also identify vulnerabilities in your devices and recommend what updates are needed to secure them. These scans can show what data your users have access to and what they have accessed. Internal scans are critical to protecting your data.

Intrusion detection scans: These scans can help identify if an intrusion has occurred on your network. They will alert you when one has. These typically look for unusually account activity. This activity could be off hours access, large transfers of data, or access from new locations.

SIEMS, not a scan, but a great tool

Security information and event management (SIEM): While not a scan, these take all the logs from your scans, devices, software, hardware, end points, etc. and put them in one central location for creating alerts of potential threats. You can have the SIEM send alerts for unusual log activity for your IT team to investigate. These are one of the best resources in identify suspicious behavior on your network and devices!

Why these scans matter

Network scanning can identify vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit to gain access to your business network and ultimately to your data. Once inside your network, they may be able to gain access to everything. In a blog post by SecureWorks they state, “All an attacker needs is just one vulnerability to get a foothold in your network.” This is really why it matters. By finding the weaknesses in your network, you can fix them before a hacker can exploit them.

So this is why network scanning the real MVP! Choosing which cybersecurity tools to deploy is a tough task, but do not discount networking scanning when trying to decide!

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