As enterprises digitally transform and continue to evolve into hybrid models of work, their networks and device ecosystems grow ever larger. This makes an enterprise’s network more difficult to manage and keep secure.
Network scanning tools are part of an enterprise’s security arsenal against malware, ransomware, and other malicious attacks launched against a company’s data and assets.
What are Network Scanning Tools?
Network scanning tools are tools that scan the traffic between devices, firewalls, routers, servers, and more for emerging threats to an enterprise’s network. They look for vulnerabilities in applications, code, operating systems, and more. Upon detecting a vulnerability, the network scanning tool alerts network administrators to suspicious behavior that needs to be resolved, such as an unauthorized log-in, a mismatch between user credentials and the device, or a questionable file being transferred within the network. Network scanning tools are often part of a comprehensive network management platform.
Also read: Best Network Management Software & Tools 2022
Features of Network Scanning Tools
- Automation: Network scanning tools automatically scan for, detect, and remediate security incidents to prevent alarm fatigue in NetOps staff. They can also be configured to generate automatic reports on a regular basis.
- Classification: Today’s network scanning tools often group similar vulnerabilities and prioritize them based on urgency. That way, NetOps knows what to remediate first.
- Context: Network scanning tools not only identify threats and vulnerabilities but also provide information about the source and, more importantly, a recommended remediation plan.
- Reporting and analytics: Though automation features prominently in network management, that doesn’t mean it should be done on autopilot. For issues that can’t be resolved through automation, a network scanning tool should generate a report or allow self-service analytics to network administrators.
- Database: The network scanner gathers information on the enterprise’s various potential attack surfaces, such as unpatched software. It continuously compares data input to previously saved, known vulnerabilities in the database to identify new threats to programs, ports, scripts, or packet construction.
Also read: NetOps vs DevOps: Bringing Automation to the Network
Top 8 Network Scanning Tools
We’ve compiled a list of the top network scanning tools in no particular order.
Burp Suite’s enterprise solution is a scanning tool that helps customers secure their entire portfolio and align security with development. It also uses automation to free up developers’ resources on tasks that matter most.
- Automated, accurate scans with proprietary out-of-band-application-security-test (OAST) method
- Recurrent, concurrent, and/or scalable scans
- Custom configurations for scan depth
- Dynamic web vulnerability scanning
- Vulnerability prioritization
- Breadth of useful features
- Excellent web version
- Penetration testing
- User friendly
- Difficult log management
- Reports not exportable to common formats
The enterprise edition has three pricing tiers: Starter performs five concurrent scans for $6,995 per year, Grow includes 20 concurrent scans for $14,480 per year, and Accelerate performs 50+ scans for $29,450 per year.
Detectify is a fully automated solution that maps out and scans attack surfaces for external threats. It uses ethical hackers to put your network to the test and find vulnerabilities, big and small.
- Application scanning
- Automated discovery of your company’s known and unknown digital assets
- Continuous network monitoring
- Remediation action plans for software development team
- Shareable analytics and reports
- User-friendly interface
- Great value for the price
- Up-to-date security insights
- Classification of vulnerabilities based on severity
- Gives context to issues
- Integrations with other tools
- Difficult to get in touch with customer support
- Not as user-friendly for non-technical users
- Technical glitches
For smaller companies, Detectify offers an ả la carte pricing menu for its surface monitoring and application scanning tools. Both come with a two-week free trial. After the trial period, customers pay $289/month for monitoring and $85 for app scanning. It appears Detectify does not offer a bundle option for these two tools. However, companies can save by paying annually, instead of month-by-month.
For scaled-up solutions, enterprises must reach out to Detectify for pricing details.
Intruder is a cloud-based vulnerability scanner tool that scans devices, clouds, servers, and websites for new threats. Upon detecting threats, Intruder provides contextual information and interpretation to help companies better manage threats. For each discovered threat, Intruder classifies them according to severity, provides an action plan for remediation, and proactively scans your company’s system for new vulnerabilities.
- Full-stack scanning
- At-a-glance reporting
- Automated reports
- Context, interpretation, and remediation plan
- Security auditing
- Certified penetration tester support
- Meets comprehensive security needs
- Pleasant user experience
- Technical glitches
- Data protection concerns
Intruder Essential starts at $112 per month. Intruder Pro comes with a 30-day free trial. After the trial period, users can expect to pay $129 per month for the Pro version.
Manage Engine OpManager
Manage Engine OpManager is an integrated network management solution that provides a networking scanning tool to manage security across cloud environments, network devices, and servers.
- Customizable dashboard views
- Real-time network monitoring
- Physical and virtual server monitoring
- Configurable monitoring thresholds
- Unified network management
- Configurable thresholds
- Slow load times in the dashboard and reporting tools
- Lag between adding new devices/servers and OpManager recognizing them
Manage Engine OpManager offers three product tiers: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise tiers. The Enterprise edition includes 250 devices for $11,545.
Nessus is a top performing vulnerability scanning and assessment solution that can be combined with Tenable’s other products to scale your security needs as your company grows.
- Customized reporting
- Classified scan results based on severity
- Groupable vulnerabilities
- Live Results scan
- Exportable scan results
Nesuss’s Live Results scan assesses each new plug-in update offline and checks against your scan history to detect anomalies that may signal a threat to your network.
- Breadth of features
- User-friendly interface
- False positives
- Slow speed
- Technical bugs
- Low value compared to price
Nessus’s pricing model is based on one-year, two-year, or three-year subscriptions, saving customers more money the longer their subscription is. The one-year plan is $3,390, the two-year costs $6,610.50, and the three-year costs $9,661.50.
Pentest-Tools provides a cloud-based arsenal of products to address web and network vulnerabilities. Its OpenVAS network scanning tool performs an in-depth network scan to find outdated network services, missing patches, poorly configured servers, and other vulnerabilities that put your enterprise at risk.
- Automated testing and reporting
- Bulk scanning
- Context for vulnerabilities and actionable steps for remediation
- VPN scanning in internal networks
- Scan schedules
- Time-saving automation
- User-friendly interface
- Good value for the price
- Difficult to get support from vendor
- Technical glitches
- Compatibility issues with other software
Pentest-Tools offers four pricing tiers to meet any company’s security needs. Its Enterprise edition includes more than 1,000 targets for a sprawling network, however, no pricing information is offered directly on the website. The next product tier, Teams, has a scope of up to 1,000 targets for $470/month.
Qualys is a comprehensive security platform that includes a robust scanning tool to monitor internal and external networks, cloud environments, and more. Insights are visible through one central console for easier network security management.
- Automatic remediation
- Contextual information available in KnowledgeBase
- Customizable dashboards
- Customizable reports
- Manual, continuous, or scheduled monitoring options
- Secure audit trails
- High accuracy
- Track vulnerabilities over time
- Compatibility issues
- Technical bugs
Qualys offers three pricing tiers for its cloud platform: Express Lite, Express, and Enterprise. However, pricing information is available only upon contacting for a quote request.
SolarWinds’s ipMonitor scans your company’s network, servers, applications, and more from one central console for more visibility into tech stack performance.
- Built-in reporting and dashboards
- Automated remediation
- Alerts and notifications
- Easy device discoverability
- Performs manual tasks
- User-friendly interface for tech savvy users
- Requires training and acclimation for non-technical users
ipMonitor is available for a free 14-day trial. After that, pricing starts at $1,570.
Benefits of Network Scanning Tools
Automation is the source of many network scanning tool benefits.
Automation helps with some, but not all threats. For vulnerabilities and threats that have been detected before or are low priority, automation is one of many lines of defense that your enterprise has to protect its network.
Your NetOps team benefits from automated tasks in today’s network scanning tools. Without the need to perform repetitive, manual tasks, NetOps team members can focus their energy on more critical security issues affecting the enterprise.
Providing round-the-clock monitoring assistance, automated network scanning tools reduce downtime when an exploit occurs or even prevents system failure entirely. Many vendors today offer configurable network scanning to meet your enterprise’s needs.
Many network scanning tools keep track of past vulnerabilities that help inform and improve your approach to remediating future ones.
Who Needs Network Scanning Tools?
Any company operating online and across multiple devices needs a networking scanning tool. However, enterprises with complex security needs especially require a network scanning tool that covers all potential attack surfaces in its network.
This compilation of top network scanning tool vendors guides enterprises on how to pick the best one for their needs.
Tools that automate routine tasks will be especially valuable for enterprises that operate with small NetOps teams. Depending on the composition and experience levels of your NetOps and SecOps teams, user friendliness may be an important factor to consider as well, as it’s an issue that frequently arises in vendor reviews.
Also consider the solution price, which is usually set up according to time frame, number of users, or number of targets. Locking into a longer subscription period saves your enterprise money.