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Vulnerability Scanning Best Practices: A Step-by-Step Guide for MSPs

ConnectSecure  |   Jun 27, 2024

Do you know the full extent of your clients’ digital ecosystems? The vast, ever-growing,  scope of these environments make them prime targets of cyber attacks, even more so if you, as a managed service provider (MSP), are not confident in what you’re protecting.

The antidote to this common lack of visibility is vulnerability scanning. This step-by-step guide will help you implement robust vulnerability scanning best practices that protect your clients and enhance your service offerings.

The 10 Steps of Vulnerability Scanning Best Practices

1. Understand Your Environment

Before initiating any vulnerability scan, it’s imperative to understand the environment you’re protecting. This includes:

  • Inventory of Assets: Create a comprehensive inventory of all devices, applications, and systems within your client's network. To get this done expediently, leverage an advanced vulnerability scanning feature such as Device, Network, and Application Discovery.
  • Network Architecture: Familiarize yourself with the network architecture. Knowing how different systems and networks are interconnected helps in planning the scan and understanding potential impacts.

2. Select the Right Tools

Choosing the right vulnerability scanning tools is critical. Look for tools that offer:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Ensure the tool can scan all types of assets in your environment, including on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures.
  • Ease of Use: The tool should be user-friendly and provide clear instructions for setup and execution.
  • Automation: Automation features help in scheduling regular scans and automatically addressing some vulnerabilities.

3. Define the Scope of Your Scans

Clearly define what you will be scanning. This includes:

  • Internal and External Scans: Conduct both internal scans (within the network) and external scans (from outside the network) to identify different types of vulnerabilities.
  • Specific Targets: Identify high-priority assets and systems that are critical to your client's operations and should be scanned more frequently.

4. Implement Continuous Scanning

Continuous vulnerability scanning is crucial in detecting and mitigating threats in real-time. Here's how to implement it effectively:

  • Automated Scanning Tools: Utilize automated scanning tools that can perform regular scans without manual intervention to ensure that no vulnerabilities go unnoticed.
  • Real-Time Alerts: Set up real-time alerts for any detected vulnerabilities. Immediate notifications allow for quicker remediation actions.

5. Customize Scan Settings

Optimize scan settings for better results:

  • Tuning: Adjust settings to minimize false positives and negatives. This ensures that genuine vulnerabilities are identified without overwhelming your team with false alarms.
  • Depth of Scans: Configure scans to check for a wide range of vulnerabilities, from misconfigurations to outdated software and security patches.

6. Analyze and Prioritize Findings

After conducting a scan, analyze the results to prioritize remediation efforts:

  • Severity Levels: Categorize vulnerabilities based on severity (critical, high, medium, low). Focus on addressing the most critical vulnerabilities first with vulnerability management for MSPs that supports EPSS (Exploit Prediction Scoring System).
  • Impact Analysis: Consider the potential impact of each vulnerability on the client's operations and data security.

7. Remediation Plan

Develop a clear plan for addressing identified vulnerabilities:

  • Immediate Actions: For critical vulnerabilities, take immediate action to mitigate risks.
  • Long-Term Solutions: Implement long-term fixes, such as patching software, updating configurations, and improving security policies.

8. Documentation and Reporting

Maintain thorough documentation and provide clear reports to your clients:

  • Detailed Reports: Create comprehensive and easy-to-understand reports that detail identified vulnerabilities, their severity, and the steps taken to remediate them. Again, user-friendly solutions provide these reports automatically.
  • Regular Updates: Provide clients with regular updates on the security status and any actions taken.

9. Training and Awareness

Educate your team and your clients about vulnerability management:

  • Team Training: Ensure your team is well-versed in using vulnerability scanning tools and interpreting results.
  • Client Education: Help your clients understand the importance of vulnerability scanning and the steps they can take to support your efforts.

10. Continuous Improvement

Continuously improve your vulnerability scanning practices:

  • Feedback Loop: Use feedback from scans and incident responses to refine your processes.
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of the latest vulnerabilities, threats, and advancements in scanning technologies.

Get Started with ConnectSecure

Implementing effective vulnerability scanning practices is critical for MSPs to protect their clients against cyber threats. By understanding the environment, selecting the right tools, and following a structured approach, MSPs can significantly enhance their security posture.

With ConnectSecure, you get an MSP-tailored, all-in-one vulnerability management and compliance platform. Experience the full potential of our platform with a 14-Day Free Trial or get to know us by scheduling a One-on-One Live Demo. Start today and take the first step towards robust cybersecurity for your clients.

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