In the field of cybersecurity, the slightest vulnerability has the potential to change the future of any business or organization. Vulnerabilities can be described as one or multiple flaws in a system that allow a malicious person (threat) to exploit it and thus undermine the confidentiality, integrity or availability of a computer system.
The market for vulnerability management tools has been growing exponentially, along with cyberthreats and attacks. But what do these tools actually do and what are the main differences between these tools?
The objective of vulnerability management tools is to limit exposure to risks, which is why good cyber hygiene rests on vulnerability management. Vulnerability management is one aspect of a proactive continuous monitoring program, but there are other elements to it.
For example, the implementation of an effective vulnerability management relies on:
- Organizational buy in from the top as well as across IT, Security, and Risk functions
- Sound policies and procedures that mirror this commitment and can be carried out
- A mechanism for checks and balances. Because of the dependencies and scope, it can be easy for vulnerabilities to “slip through the cracks” and not get the attention they deserve. – Just see the Equifax breach. (This is one of the areas CnSight provides value – making this visibility and accountability easy with automation)
- Monitoring vulnerabilities, with the help of continuous monitoring programs
- Operating regular vulnerability scans (different types of vulnerability management scanners include Cloud-Based Vulnerability scanners, Host-Based Vulnerability Scanners, Network-Based Vulnerability Scanners and Database-Based Scanners)
- Agility (cyber-resilience and scale) – According to Balbix, endpoint devices, servers, and applications are continually being added to businesses’ environments, and this puts increasing demands on cybersecurity teams to keep everything updated
When it comes to vulnerability management, there are different phases – these include:
- Implementation of an analysis process based on the needs of the company or organization.
- The identification of the assets as well as the different applications used.
- The classification of these assets in order of importance, from most critical to least critical.
- Taking into account the specific regulations that apply to the given business or organization, and how these may have an impact the vulnerability analysis.
- Organization mission, data types, and overall risk appetite.
Vulnerability Management Features
Regarding the vulnerability management tools themselves, it should be noted they don’t all work the same way and many have different features. According to DNSstuff , these functions include:
Weakness detection – The main goal of vulnerability scanning should be to uncover system weaknesses. This can be done by using a tool to detect security flaws as it scans. In fact, it is strongly recommended for businesses to have an enterprise vulnerability detection solution. Ideally, a vulnerability scan should be performed on each new IT asset installed on the corporate network before it goes live. Attempting to attack your own network is one way to go to ensure security. Some vulnerability management tools are more thorough than others and search for missing software patches or firmware updates.
Vulnerability classification is another important feature. Threats are usually prioritized by a combination of age and calculated risk level. Some tools are able to compare the security risks they come across to updated databases of known security risks, including the National Vulnerability Database and Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures.
Countermeasure implementation – Not all security tools can both, detect issues and give IT teams a way to automatically fix them. Some vulnerability management tools focus only on monitoring. A person then has to decide how to address the issue. However, some are built to directly tackle device issues, such as configuration errors. By extension many devices can be reached simultaneously, saving IT employees hours of work. This type of automated responses can be game-changing when it comes to mitigating risks across large networks.
Our top 10 most popular vulnerability scanners
The below list is based off social followers, numbers of customers, and other publicly available criteria, and organized in no particular order.
Metasploit project is a scanning and testing tool. It’s backed by a vast open-source database. It also gives IT Teams a detailed analysis of pen testing results. This tool truly is proactive, which is why it’s so popular. Thanks to Metasploit, remediation is fast and efficient. The only downside is that it can be difficult to use at first.
Nessus is a well-known patented vulnerability scanner tool created by Tenable Network Security. Nessus can protect networks from hackers and is particularly effective against remote hacking of sensitive data. Nessus is trusted by Millions of users and is especially recognized for their expertise in vulnerability assessment and configuration issues.
Tripwire IP360 is made for larger businesses. It can perform vulnerability scan o all devices and programs across networks, including on-premises, cloud, and container environments. On top of that, it can find previously undetected agents. Overall, this tool helps automate how IT leaders deal with vulnerabilities. Another unique feature is that Tripwire IP360 ranks risks by impact, age, and ease of exploit. Last but not least, it has an open Application Programming Interface, which makes it possible to integrate these vulnerability management features with other management solutions.
Qualys is one of the most popular and more traditional security platforms that offers not only web analytics but suites of solutions such as: malware detection, protection against threats, ongoing monitoring, web application firewall, asset view. Qualys WAS is an end-to-end scanning solution used to find vulnerabilities and website configuration errors. You can automate the scan and be alerted whenever a risk is detected.
Not all vulnerabilities are critical or high risk, so Qualys enables users to prioritize by severity and act accordingly.
ImmuniWeb Continuous is an AI platform powered by machine learning and enhanced by scalable manual testing. It checks against the top 10 OWASP, PCI DSS, top 25 CWE / SANS vulnerabilities and business logic issues. You have the possibility to customize the scope of the test. With ImmuniWeb, you can monitor the security, privacy and compliance of your site.
Detectify can check a website for over 500 vulnerabilities. It’s possible to integrate Detectify into your off-production environment, so you can know and fix the items at risk before going into production. Detectify is trusted by thousands of companies, including Trello, King, Trust Pilot, Book My Show, Pipedrive, and many others.
Detectify can run an unlimited on-demand test or schedule regular analysis. After the analysis, the report can be exported as a summary or a full report.
In addition to searching for common web vulnerabilities, Detectify offers CMS security to WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento. This means that the particular risk of the CMS is covered.
Acunetix offers an on-premise security scanner to run from Windows as well as a cloud-based scanner. Acunetix is popular because it uses a fast, multi-threaded web crawler and scanner so that the web operation is not interrupted during the scanning process. If you use WordPress, they have a unique scanning feature to check for over 1200 plugins and misconfigurations.
Netsparker is another web application vulnerability tool with an automation capacity. This tool is popular because it can find vulnerabilities in thousands of web applications in just a few hours. Netspark is a paid enterprise-level vulnerability tool, but has lots of advanced functions, including crawling technology. Finally, Netsparker can find and suggest a mitigation strategy.
It was built specially for companies, which is why it can scan thousands of websites simultaneously.
According to eSecurity Planet, Skybox is another popular one as its features include threat prioritization and smart remediation based on risk a business or organization faces. By relying on threat intelligence and vulnerability control, this tool can merge results from third-party scanners, which makes it very effective. Overall, this tool has received positive feedback. It seems to be suitable for mid-sized to large organizations.
OpenVAS is another vulnerability scanning tool that supports large-scale scans, which are very useful for big businesses. This tool can be used to find vulnerabilities in the web application, web servers, databases, operating systems, and networks. OpenVAS is updated daily, which makes it very efficient and competitive on the market. This tool also intervenes in risk assessment and can suggest countermeasures when vulnerabilities are detected.