Vulnerability scans and penetration tests (or pen tests) are two common terms that are used in cybersecurity, and sometimes it can be confusing to differentiate between the two terms. So let’s look at what each term means and what the differences are.

A vulnerability scan takes a look at your network, identifies potential vulnerabilities, and provides a report of these vulnerabilities to your IT team. These vulnerabilities are merely identified, but they are not backed up by actual testing, so it’s possible that there could be falsely identified vulnerabilities that don’t actually exist on your network. Vulnerability scans can usually be performed by automated tools, which allows them to provide the scans relatively quickly and over a large network.

A penetration test not only identifies vulnerabilities on your network, but it attempts to verify these vulnerabilities by attacking and exploiting your network. It’s a much more in-depth look at your network, and it typically needs to be performed by an actual IT technician. This means it can be a more lengthy process, and it does require a someone with a strong skill set to perform.

Additionally, there are differences in how often these two processes should be performed and under what circumstances. Vulnerability scans should be done monthly, and also anytime new equipment or hardware is installed or updated. Penetration tests should be performed annually, at the very least, and anytime a threat is suspected. While it is possible to automate your vulnerability scans and call in a professional only for your penetration testing, it’s smarter to utilize the same person or IT company to handle both. By doing that, you are creating a more streamlined approach to securing your network, and eliminating many of the false positives that can occur when you automate these processes.

To learn more about how your business can benefit from vulnerability scans and penetration testing, contact the cybersecurity experts at TAG Solutions today and let us help you get you on the path to a safe and secure network.