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October 7, 2022 | By stephen
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Testing Security with Vulnerability Scans and Penetration Tests

Did you know that 76% of all software has at least one vulnerability? Over the last decade, we’ve seen an increased need for security due to the mass transition to a digital world. With everything kept online, it has become vital to ensure your data is safe and protected.

One of the best ways to test your company’s cybersecurity is through penetration testing and vulnerability scans. But, while vulnerability scans and penetration tests are similar, they’re not exactly the same. So, let’s delve into what they are and why they’re essential for any cybersecurity solution.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is a simulated cyberattack where professional, ethical hackers try to gain access to systems and data using the same techniques as real, malicious hackers.

This type of test is usually conducted by an external company specializing in cybersecurity solutions. The purpose of pen testing is to find vulnerabilities in your system before an actual attacker does.

What are Vulnerability Scans?

A vulnerability scan aims to identify a system’s weaknesses, whereas a penetration test exploits them. While pen tests tend to focus on specific areas, vulnerability scans are broader. They offer an overall look at the health of your security. Since these scans are automated and fast, they typically cost less than pen testing.

How Crucial are Pen Testing and Vulnerability Scanning?

Pen tests and vulnerability scans create a dynamic duo of security when used together. Both have unique benefits and downsides that make them essential for any business.

Pen tests focus on a specific system or application, providing in-depth information about that area. Vulnerability scans, on the other hand, offer a broad overview of all systems’ weaknesses.

A significant advantage of combining pen tests and vulnerability scans is that they offer active and passive protection. Vulnerability scanning is passive, meaning it identifies potential threats. Pen testing is dynamic because it takes measures to exploit vulnerabilities. So, if you want to be sure your systems are secure, you need both.

Another benefit is increasing confidence in your company. A customer data breach can be detrimental to a brand and cost them loads of dollars in lost sales. Penetration tests and vulnerability scans help to boost customer confidence. After all, if you can find and fix security vulnerabilities before an attacker does, your customers will trust that you take data protection seriously.

If you have a data breach, compliance regulations may require you to prove that you took the necessary steps to prevent one. In other words, having documentation of regular pen tests and vulnerability scans can save your business from regulatory penalties.

Be Proactive

Investing in cybersecurity is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. The best way to ensure your systems are secure is by conducting regular penetration tests and vulnerability scans. By combining the two, you create an active and passive form of protection that will keep your data — and your customers — safe.


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