The shrinking window from vulnerability discovery to exploitation — now just 12 days — underscores why organizations must avoid lengthy intervals between security scans. Thus, “continuous vulnerability scanning” is gaining traction.

Hackers Don’t Schedule Their Attacks# Traditional one-off scans, whether for demonstrating security strength to stakeholders or conducted periodically (often quarterly), only offer a fleeting glimpse of your security status. These snapshots capture everything from SQL injections and XSS flaws to configuration mishaps and frail passwords. While adequate for compliance when quarterly scans suffice, they fall short for maintaining a constant security stance or a comprehensive attack surface management strategy. With a new Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) surfacing every 20 minutes, your security perspective risks becoming obsolete instantaneously.

The reality is stark: out of the 25,000 CVE vulnerabilities reported in the past year, a significant number might jeopardize your operations during the intervals between sporadic scans. Consider the frequency of required software updates on personal devices; vulnerability patching can lag by weeks, if not months, potentially culminating in disastrous consequences. In the 2023 landscape, nothing rivals the indispensability of continuous scanning.

Continuous vulnerability scanning ensures uninterrupted surveillance of your IT landscape and leverages automation to lighten the load on IT personnel, enhancing the speed of detecting and rectifying issues, thereby shutting out cybercriminals and prospective infractions.

Compliance’s Drawn-out Dance# The truth is, cybersecurity often starts as a forced march, driven by customer demands or industry regulatory structures. Many standards lag behind, mandating outdated practices like “annual penetration tests” or “quarterly vulnerability scans,” relics from an era when cyber threats were sparse and considered more of a luxury concern.

This outdated mindset leads numerous companies to perceive vulnerability scanning as a bonus or merely a compliance formality. However, there’s a vast chasm between intermittent scanning and genuine, ongoing vulnerability assessment and management. Grasping this distinction is vital for genuinely bolstering security rather than merely funding it.

New vulnerabilities emerge daily, heightening breach risks, especially with frequent updates to cloud services, APIs, and software. A minor alteration or a newly disclosed vulnerability could spell exposure. This isn’t about compliance anymore — continual protection is an absolute necessity, acknowledged by entities with advanced cybersecurity practices.

Unrelenting Monitoring of the Attack Surface# Monitoring goes beyond new vulnerabilities. Daily modifications to your attack surface, like network device alterations, new internet-facing services, or software updates, can reveal fresh weaknesses.

Effective, continuous monitoring of this ever-evolving attack surface necessitates a thorough understanding of your visible assets and potential risks at all times. Many conventional tools lack the nuanced insights or business relevance needed for effective vulnerability prioritization, often homogenizing diverse attack avenues (external, internal, cloud). A robust monitoring solution should offer business-relevant insights and encompass all threat avenues, including cloud services and network modifications.

Today, attack surface management transcends technical jargon, with corporate leadership increasingly valuing its role in a fortified cybersecurity strategy, a sentiment echoed in the prerequisites for various cybersecurity insurance packages.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Scanning?# While indispensable, continuous scanning shouldn’t devolve into incessant, counterproductive over-monitoring, which could spawn an overwhelming tide of alerts, false alarms, and system lags.

Modern security solutions, like Intruder, address this by initiating scans upon detecting network alterations or when new external IPs or hostnames appear in your cloud setups. This approach ensures your scans remain manageable and effective, without inundating your team or systems, thereby curtailing hackers’ opportunities.

Such tools seamlessly integrate with your cloud services, offering clarity on active systems and facilitating security evaluations following any change.

Compliance Scanning Frequency: One Size Doesn’t Fit All# Compliance demands vary. While frameworks like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 offer flexibility, others like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR prescribe specific scanning timetables, ranging from quarterly to annually. However, adhering strictly to these benchmarks may not suit your enterprise, and rigid adherence could amplify security vulnerabilities amidst the swiftly shifting cyber terrain.