Is Your Business at Risk? Pen Test vs. Vulnerability Scan

Feb 24, 2023 | Articles |

by David Stinner, USitek

We needed to talk to a client this week about all the different types of cybersecurity scans available for a compliance project so I wrote this blog post. If this is something that is on your task list for 2023 for insurance, customer, compliance reasons, let me know and Jeff, Mark or I will book a time to talk. 

Why does a small business need either?

A small business needs a penetration test or a vulnerability scan to protect them because it helps identify and assess potential security vulnerabilities in the organization’s network and systems. This can include weaknesses in software, hardware, or even human error.

What is the difference between a penetration test and a vulnerability scan?

A vulnerability scan is an automated process that scans a computer or network to identify any known vulnerabilities. This is typically done by using software that compares the configuration of the system being scanned to a database of known vulnerabilities and configurations that are considered to be secure. The software will then generate a report that lists any vulnerabilities that it has found, along with recommendations for how to fix them. The primary goal of a vulnerability scan is to identify potential vulnerabilities in a system so that they can be addressed before they can be exploited by an attacker.

A penetration test, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive evaluation of a system’s security. Rather than simply identifying known vulnerabilities, a penetration test simulates an actual attack on the system to see how well it can withstand a real-world attack. This is often done by manual testing carried out by a team of security experts who use a combination of manual testing techniques and automated tools to try and exploit vulnerabilities in the system. The goal of a penetration test is not just to identify vulnerabilities, but to also identify the potential impact of those vulnerabilities, and identify the realistic ways an attacker could exploit them, the way to detect them, and how to prevent them. The resulting report will include not only the vulnerabilities that were found, but also detailed information about how the vulnerabilities could be exploited and recommendations for how to mitigate them.

In summary, a vulnerability scan is an automated process that identifies known vulnerabilities in a system, whereas a penetration test simulates an actual attack on the system to assess its overall security posture and provide a more comprehensive evaluation of its security. Vulnerability scan is commonly an initial process that organization run periodically to check their asset and identify the issues, while penetration testing is usually the next step that an organization may do after identifying vulnerabilities with vulnerability scan or as a routine to test the overall security of their assets.

If you would like to talk to one of our security experts about either of these services, let’s book a time to talk.

Best Regards,

David Stinner, President 

US itek, Incorporated

Office: 716.447.7000
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