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Qualys Vulnerability Scanner Review: Features, Pros & Cons

Published on: August 31, 2022

Qualys Vulnerability Scanner Review: Features, Pros & Cons

Globally, Qualys is one of the first few choices when it comes to vulnerability scanning platforms. It has a subscriber base spread across 130 countries and 5 different industries. It is a self-updating vulnerability management tool that lets you perform a number of different tasks around vulnerability scanning, assessment, remediation, and compliance reporting from a single platform. It is a neat package with a large set of amenities, especially for cloud security testing needs.

qualys vulnerability scanner review

In this post, we have discussed the platform in some detail before engaging in user experiences and the actual Qualys vulnerability scanner review. You can jump right to that section by clicking here.  

We are here to look at this award-winning platform a little more closely – look at the features, and pricing, and try to understand how they fare against some other high-profile platforms. Most important of all, we will tap into the user experience as demonstrated in various forums and other Qualys vulnerability scanner review sites to understand the practicality of the Qualys vulnerability management solution and cloud platform.

All the good things brought to the table by Qualys Vulnerability Management, Detection & Response 

Qualys vulnerability scanner review

 

The Qualys vulnerability management, detection, and response program or VMDR focuses on the coalescence of cyber risk and business risk. It gives you the right measure of risk associated with a certain vulnerability helping you prioritize the remediation process.

It helps you

  • Risk management
  • Attack prevention
  • Asset detection
  • Vulnerability analysis

The VMDR integrates with configuration management databases (CMDB) and patch management systems to prioritize and remediate vulnerabilities at scale. It is a risk-based vulnerability management solution that helps you tie vulnerabilities with business risks – it keeps the ROI clear and resource allocation easy.

Read also: Vulnerability Assessment: A Detailed Overview

4 main features of the Qualys VMDR 2.0

The Qualys VMDR stands on 4 pillars each fulfilling a certain aspect of your cyber security needs.

  1. Risk-based vulnerability management

Qualys vulnerability scanner comes with a risk-based vulnerability management unit that covers your rapid remediation needs with no-code workflows. It means, that if the latest superseding patch for a certain vulnerability is already available, the Qualys no-code workflow will implement it automatically without requiring you to update the software or anything.

  1. Qualys Cloud Platform

The Qualys cloud platform is powered by cloud agents, virtual scanners, and network analysis capabilities. It completes the VMDR and helps you manage and orchestrate the vulnerability management efforts from a single, integrated platform.

Check Out: An Intruder Alternative that’s Miles Ahead

  1. Asset detection

The Qualys vulnerability management system helps you inventory all managed and unmanaged assets including hardware, software, IT, and IoT assets. It then tags those assets and categorizes the critically vulnerable ones. It keeps monitoring all the assets for new vulnerabilities. 

qualys vulnerability scanner review
  1. Incident response

Qualys has a neat system in place to correlate vulnerabilities and patches for specific hosts. By using the Qualys cloud agents, you can reduce the incident response time by removing third-party patch deployment solutions from the middle. It also helps you protect and patch containers in Container-as-a- Service environments.

Compliance with Qualys

Like in every other aspect of the application and cloud security requirements Qualys offers a host of services around compliance but none of them actually get you the compliance – they are all means to an end.

For instance, in the Policy Compliance service, you are offered a library of content based on previously scanned hosts that you can use to define policies, and create reports for various stakeholders. It also allows you to specify controls with the help of an interactive editor. 

Similarly, there are services and resources available around security configuration assessment, file integrity monitoring, etc.

Read also: Penetration testing compliance: An easy-to-follow guide

DevOps with Qualys

Qualys has put a lot of emphasis on creating a DevOps-ready security solution where security measures can be integrated with the software development process and they have done a nice job at it.

With Qualys, you can

  • Detect coding configuration errors early
  • Pinpoint critical vulnerabilities right away
  • Verify that the application code is in line with the internal policies
  • Identify indicators of intrusion
  • Automate security checks

We have talked about the solutions and the services offered by Qualys and it seems to have an incredible breadth of offerings. It is time to look at what the users have to say about the Qualys VMDR. 

Qualys Vulnerability Scanner Review by Users

As a vulnerability scanning tool, Qualys ticks a lot of boxes. It is used by thousands of organizations around the world. There are some things that it does really well and others that could be improved. We have run through tonnes of reviews on different forums and compiled and paraphrased some of the most revealing anecdotes.

Pros 

The centralized administrative panel works really well

It allows you to work seamlessly on vulnerabilities and patches without requiring you to switch apps.

Automated misconfiguration detection is a savior

Qualys can detect code misconfigurations in the development stage quite easily. It can save a lot of time and effort for developers while making security easier.

Automatic employment of available patches is a cool feature

The automated remedial feature is very well suited for fast-paced DevOps environments and Qualys is among the very few vulnerability assessment tools that offer this feature.

A clean and engaging interface

The user interface for Qualys VMDR 2.0 is interactive and made for quick detection and response. It has come a long way from what it used to be a few years ago.

Cons

Technical support and customer service are outright poor

“You’ll be lucky to get a response within 3 days of submitting a ticket, and often they’ll ask you for details you’ve already given them. Then another two days will go by while you wait for them to respond again”

Tons of features that keep breaking

Users have reported that they have had to raise a lot of tickets as a number of things do not always work as they are supposed to. You can expect this with the range of services and products offered by Qualys. But with poor technical support, things can get wild.

It is difficult to compartmentalize permissions

While you can add tags to certain elements and specify permissions by IP range, the admins are left with no choice but to give a user more permissions than needed when it comes to private IPs within divisions of a company.

Documentation is sparse and often useless

What you see on the interface is often mirrored in the report or documents. The documentation related to scanning reports is sparse and they do not convey the concepts that lie behind certain results. 

There is a learning curve

The out-of-the-box solutions provided by Qualys come with a learning curve. The tools are not so plug-and-play as the company advertises.

A Qualys Alternative You Must Check Out – Astra Pentest Platform

As you must have realized by now, Qualys is a useful vulnerability management tool with a lot of different functionalities but with some serious gaps. It comes with a pay-per-asset subscription charge, permission management is complicated, and customer service is one of the most indicted areas.

qualys vulnerability scanner review

Astra Pentest Platform fills these gaps and does a lot more. It has an intelligent vulnerability scanner that is updated weekly to stay ahead of emerging vulnerabilities, it also has a team of expert pentesters. Nevertheless, we’ll quickly go through some of Astra’s features – the ones that make it a better alternative to Qualys

Pentesting by security experts

Astra’s pentest engages the human element where needed. It enables the pentest platform to detect business logic errors and other difficult vulnerabilities.

Assured zero false positives

Security experts from Astra conduct vetted scans to ensure that there are zero false positives in the vulnerability scan results presented to a user.

CI/CD integration

Astra’s pentest platform integrates easily with your organization’s CI/CD pipeline making it super easy to automate continuous pentesting. 

vulnerability assessment cost continuous penetration testing Integrations

Interactive dashboard

The dynamic pentest dashboard assigned to every user of Astra is a one-stop solution for all your vulnerability management needs. You can use the same dashboard to monitor and update the status of the vulnerabilities, assign issues to your team, collaborate with Astra’s security experts, and run continuous compliance scans.

Best-in-class scan reports

The pentest reports presented by Astra are comprehensive and actionable. It contains simplified summaries of the vulnerabilities found, detailed descriptions of test cases, and risk scores for each vulnerability to help you prioritize the remediation process. On top of all that you get step-by-step guidelines to remediate the vulnerabilities and video PoCs to reproduce them.

Contextual collaboration

You can use the pentest dashboard to collaborate with security experts to better understand and fix issues that your team might be stuck with. This is a unique feature offered only by Astra Security.

Bottomline

Qualys Vulnerability Management, Detection, & Response or Qualys VMDR is a great tool if you are looking for a vulnerability assessment solution that offers quick remediation of simple issues, and continuous monitoring of your assets. You might have to look a little further and find Astra Security if you are in search of a platform that offers pro-active security, an opportunity to build DevSecOps, actionable reports, and a phenomenal user experience.

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Get your web app audited with Astra’s Continuous Pentest Solution

FAQs

What is the cost of Qualys vulnerability scanner?

The pricing for Qualys vulnerability scanner is determined by your selection of products and measured on a per asset basis and the exact amount is not mentioned on their website. However, you can take a free trial. 

What are the two critical problems with Qualys vulnerability scanner?

According to Qualys vulnerability scanner review by users, the main issues are insufficient technical support and uncomprehensive reports.

Does Qualys come with a manual pentest element? 

No, Qualys does not come with manual pentest capabilities. 

According to Qualys vulnerability scanner review by users, the main issues are insufficient technical support and uncomprehensive reports.

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Saumick Basu

Saumick is a Technical Writer at Astra Security. He loves to write about technology and has deep interest in its evolution. Having written about spearheading disruptive technology like AI, and Machine Learning, and code reviews for a while, Information Security is his newfound love. He's ready to bring you along as he dives deeper.
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