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The short answer is yes.
A vulnerability assessment is a great way to get an overall picture of the security of your systems. However, it can only go so far. A pentest, on the other hand, is a much more hands-on and in-depth assessment of your security.
What is a Pentest?
A pentest, or penetration test, is a simulated cyber attack against your system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities. A pentest can be conducted in a number of ways, but usually includes some combination of automated testing and manual testing by ethical hackers.
Pentests are usually conducted by ethical hackers, also known as white hat hackers. These are individuals who use their hacking skills to help organizations improve their security posture. Ethical hackers do not exploit vulnerabilities for personal gain or cause damage to systems — they only report what they find so that the organization can fix the issue before malicious actors can exploit it.
See our 'Guide to Penetration Testing'
Why Would You Need a Pentest?
There are several reasons why an organization might commission a pentest.
It can confirm that all controls in place are effective at preventing unauthorized access.
It can help identify any gaps in an organization's security posture.
It can provide valuable information that cybersecurity teams can use to improve an organization's security posture.
If you’re thinking about conducting a pentest, there are a few things to keep in mind. To begin with, define the scope of your test clearly and concisely. Second, determine who will be responsible for conducting the test and who will be responsible for reviewing the results. And finally, make sure you have adequate resources in place to support the trial.
Conducting a pentest can be a valuable exercise for any organization. By taking time to understand your scope, identify the right team, and allocate the necessary resources, you can ensure that your pentest is successful.
Vulnerability Assessment Scan Vs. Penetration Test
If you've already had a vulnerability assessment, you may wonder why you would need a pentest. After all, aren't both just ways to find out if your system is secure?
While a vulnerability assessment and a pentest may have some similarities, there are some key differences, too.
A vulnerability assessment is typically a less invasive and more automated process that looks for known vulnerabilities. A pentest, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive security test that includes trying to exploit vulnerabilities to see if they can use them to gain access to systems or data.
A pentest can give you a complete picture of your system's security and help you identify any potential weak points that hackers could exploit. If you're concerned about your system's security, a pentest is an excellent way to get a thorough evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses.
It’s important to note that our methodology is not penetration testing vs. vulnerability assessment. We conduct a vulnerability assessment as part of our penetration testing as a first step to identifying those obvious vulnerabilities. A vulnerability assessment is conducted within the penetration testing and is a small subset of the work executed within a penetration test.
We do not recommend only opting for a vulnerability assessment scan since a vulnerability scan only scratches the surface of how a hacker can access your data. To truly uncover gaps and weaknesses a penetration test that includes a vulnerability assessment is always recommended.