Comparison between Vulnerability Assessments & Penetration Tests
Although closely linked, penetration testing and vulnerability assessment are distinct but related activities within the security testing field. A vulnerability assessment (VA) is a periodic sweep of an organization’s IT infrastructure to detect software flaws, weak passwords, and any areas where security is easily compromised (Mishra, 2021). In contrast, penetration testing (PT) is a hands-on exploration of an organization’s system and applications to identify security flaws and exploit them (Gurumurthy, 2015). VA is performed periodically, whereas PT is usually done one-off. VA relies on scanning the network and applications for information. This makes it more appropriate for large networks which require compliance with configurations. PT requires specialized staff and takes longer scans, which can be costly and time-consuming (Gurumurthy 2015). PT professionals are specialized in identifying targets and must be able to create realistic simulations to help them determine which path is the most effective and least damaging. Simulation is an important tool in PT to understand how certain scenarios can lead to harm. VA and PT are different in their purpose, cost, and scope. VA suits larger organizations better, while PT can be used for a more detailed understanding of particular attack scenarios. Cont…
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