Most company already use antivirus software and wonder if and why they would need a vulnerability scanner to enhance their security. Some of the best antiviruses also includes simple vulnerability scanners and it would be interesting to see what they cover exactly and why we might want a specialized software for vulnerability scanning.
Before checking what some of the best antiviruses can offer in terms of vulnerability scanning, let’s review first what antiviruses do. An antivirus recognizes the signature of malicious code and prevents the application containing that code from running. Hence, they will quick in only when the malicious code is around, either at the company’s boarder or already within the system. In fact, they act quite late, like a seat belt in a car.
A vulnerability scanner seeks for known weaknesses and produces comprehensive reports. It helps to know potential system security flaws. The initial criticality level enables to focus on prioritized action plan. The best of their class further allows to do a precise assessment and do a follow up over the time. It is like checking the car condition before taking the road.
Antivirus review for vulnerability scanning
Sophos Cloud Optix is an AI-powered security and compliance platform for public cloud environments
- Provides real-time inventory of your servers, storage, and network elements in the cloud
- Helps manage resources, monitor security, and meet compliance standards in one simple-to-use interface
- Connector to scan major container registries
- Identifies exploitable operating system vulnerabilities in container images
- Many out-of-box compliance rules for cloud with some auto-remediation
- Limited to container scanning
- Requires a container registry accessible online
- Every scanned containers count as a cloud asset toward your license
- No grouping of containers, no notion of application
- No possibility to document assessment
- Unsuitable for large companies, big number of projects or different people managing different projects
- No control of open source licenses
Enterprise-grade endpoint protection with adaptive security against advanced cyber threats.
- Provides Protects every server, laptop and mobile device on the network
- Helps Centralizes controls of sensitive data on every endpoints
- Scan vulnerabilities among installed applications
- Low price tag
- Many parts of its data storage and processing are held in Switzerland
- Possibility to view the number of machines affected by a vulnerability
- Vulnerability assessment limited to Windows machines and to applications known by Windows app manager
- No insight provided on the vulnerability itself
- No scanning of containers
- No scanning of custom/open source applications (eg: Java)
- List of vulnerability used for scanning cannot be consulted and it’s source is unknown
- No control of software licenses
Endpoint protection platform with endpoint detection and response capabilities.
- Multi-layered anti-malware solution
- Incorporate risk analytics and misconfigurations
- Comprehensive dashboard including comparative benchmark toward similar industry
- Includes human and misconfiguration risks
- Modern and fast user interface
- Can provide insight on the vulnerability in the tool itself
- Can provide immediate patching (with additional patch management module)
- Containers or hypervisor analysis requires additional plugins
- Risk assessment limited to active/ignored flag
- Tends to put more focus on number of devices affected than severity of the vulnerability itself
- Cannot easily perform out of the band analysis
- Vulnerabilities cannot be split among team members
- No control of software licenses
Specialized vulnerability scanner
Strategic tool to scan software components for vulnerabilities.
- Gather descriptions of all software components chain and their licenses
- Visual dashboards
- Complete API
- Can analyze all type of software: standard applications, custom applications, containers, OS, devices, and more
- Can work completely out of band
- Comprehensive assessment of vulnerabilities with audit trail
- Flexible permission model, possibility to define grant per application
- Control and ensure license compliance
- Needs to setup automation for SBOM extraction
- Limited to vulnerability scanning and license analysis
Antivirus software offer some highly variable level of support regarding vulnerabilities. In this area, Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security really shines among the antivirus solutions. While it may not match the flexibility and assessment capabilities of dedicated vulnerability scanners like Dependency Track SaaS, it already delivers substantial value. A bit disappointing, Sophos and Kaspersky solutions offer very limited vulnerability scanning. Relying solely on them would make difficult to prepare a good response against vulnerabilities.
For small IT teams, incorporating a specialized vulnerability scanner alongside their antivirus solution can enable them to prioritize their IT responses based on criticality, a significant advantage when resources and time are limited. Furthermore, gaining a thorough understanding of their software portfolio can significantly enhance their security. In the case of larger companies utilizing customized applications or maintaining dedicated teams for each application, the advanced permissions model provided by specialized vulnerability scanners becomes a vital necessity. In such scenarios, Dependency Track SaaS emerges as the undisputed champion.
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