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Vulnerability Assessment vs Penetration Testing: What You Need to Know

Wondering if your company needs a vulnerability assessment to find problematic security flaws? Considering half of U.S. businesses reported hacking… this isn’t a question of “if” you should, but “how soon”.

In this article, you’ll learn the difference between penetration and vulnerability testing. And, why this service is a great investment for your privacy concerns.

What is Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability assessment comprises identifying and measuring security flaws. This provides a business with an in-depth understanding of system weaknesses. And, how best to approach fixing these security shortcomings.

An example:
A professional directs a threat assessment to understand possible risks with the systems. They then categorize damage done by the attack based on severity. The VA then performs an analysis of their output and recommends fixes.

The goal of VA is mitigating vulnerabilities from critical resources.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is the act of mirroring a cyber attack. This process usually involves someone attacking through digital means. Or, entering the premises to discover physical security flaws.

An example:
A professional enters the business disguised in plain sight. They use their social engineering skills to gather private information from unsuspecting workers. Or, access systems through a physical security breach.

The goal of PT is exposing critical failures within the security protocols.

Vulnerability Assessment vs Penetration Testing

It’s easy to confuse the two as both intend to spotlight security issues. Yet, which one is best for your business?

With Vulnerability Assessment:
Vulnerability assessments are particularly helpful for a generalized business environment. This process identifies over-arching security vulnerabilities found embedded within fundamental software and services.

The fundamentals could include:

  • Password management
  • Backup and data encryption
  • Out-of-date services
  • Untrusted networks and third-parties
  • Unregulated user profiles and permissions
  • These are the day-to-day items keeping your business operational.

VA’s will verify company concerns or knowledge of vulnerabilities. And, by rating them — based on severity — can take logical action toward fixing the problems. This lowers costs and expedites turn-around time with patching issues.

With Penetration Testing:
Penetration testing is well-suited for companies operating at a higher level. This relates to those operating a global organization. Or, house items like government data or industry trade secrets.

Think the difference between a mom & pop and Boeing.

Three main items are produced with the exercise:

  1. Challenge an already-strong defense
  2. See if the team/system can manage the penetration
  3. Find one (or two) major disruptive flaws

These tests mimic real hack because many PT’s are, in fact, white and/or black hat hackers. This creates a deep dive into the securities — pushing vulnerabilities to the extreme. The outcome is an eye-opening report even the best security managers mistakenly neglected.

Is Your Business Vulnerable? We Can Help

What do Sony, CitiGroup, and the Bangladesh Bank have in common? They’ve all been victims of massive security breaches and hacks.

If this can happen to global corporations then you’re all but guaranteed to experience security flaws in your business. Don’t let this happen to you!

Get in touch. Let’s discuss critical asset protection.

Security may seem overwhelming. And, a vulnerability assessment may prove a wise investment. Let’s patch those vulnerabilities before it’s too late.

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