What’s the difference between a vulnerability assessment and a penetration test? The answer to that question depends on who you choose to ask. For some people they are effectively one and the same thing; for others there are clear distinctions. So what’s the true position? Are vulnerability assessments and penetration test effectively two sides of the same coin, or are there clear differences between the two? The short answer is that whilst a penetration test may be a form of vulnerability assessment, a vulnerability assessment is definitely not a penetration test.
It’s a well-known fact that small businesses are more susceptible to cyber-crime than many of their larger counterparts. A lack of funding and resources means that few small to medium-sized businesses can afford to pay for vulnerability assessments or penetration testing of their network security. But just how much money is this failure to protect online networks costing small businesses? Well, according to Federation of Small Businesses it’s something in the region of £785 million every year. That staggering figure is the price SMEs pay when they fall victim to fraud and malware.
With an increasing number of critical systems being placed within virtual environments, security is now understandably a prime concern. Systems can be attacked, and valuable information and assets can be compromised. Vulnerability management systems are designed to address these issues. Vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying how vulnerable an infrastructure is to known vulnerabilities—the number one threat to all networks today. The threats/risks found in the vulnerability assessment are then ranked and prioritized to expose the current security position, and to facilitate the re-mediation process.