Vulnerability Assessment versus Penetration Testing

While vulnerability assessment tools, create long lists of potential weak points that may exist throughout your IT infrastructure. A penetration testing tool tells you how multiple vulnerabilities existing across different IT assets can be used in concert by attackers to tunnel their way into databases of valuable information, or to target mission critical services.

While vulnerability assessment tools pinpoint potential vulnerabilities, a penetration testing tool pinpoints actual exploitable vulnerabilities, and thus delineates which vulnerabilities pose tangible threats.

While vulnerability assessment tools provide reports of potential threats, a penetration testing tool will evaluate the extent of the threat posed by individual vulnerabilities.

While vulnerability assessment tools provide suggestions as to possible means by which a network can be broken into, a penetration testing tool provides information regarding the implications of a successful intrusion.

A vulnerability assessment tells you only what can attacker can potentially do to your network.

A penetration test tells you what an attacker can definitely do to your network.

That’s because penetration tests exploit identified vulnerabilities, just as a hacker would.

Unlike vulnerability scans, penetration tests leave little doubt as to what a hacker can do or cannot do.

Penetration tests thus eliminate the guesswork involved in protecting your network by providing you with the information you need to effectively prioritize your vulnerabilities.


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