Penetration testing may be a good way to detect and identify vulnerabilities in the system, but it focuses on only a few vulnerabilities at a time. If a company seeks overall protection, it needs a list of all possible vulnerabilities. Some of these won’t be tested for confirmation right away, but at least the higher-ups are informed of the possibilities, informing later decisions.
Therefore, a good penetration test assesses problems identified by a prior vulnerability assessment. If vulnerability assessment is identifying the problem in the scientific process, penetration tests are the experiments.
Requesting a vulnerability assessment means the client already knows that his IT infrastructure has security issues that can be potentially exploited; all that is needed to make well-informed decisions is a clearer picture. Afterwards, the client can request a penetration test (or any related measure) to confirm the assessment’s findings and fix the issues before malicious outsiders can take advantage of these.
Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing share some similarities; after all, they use automated testing tools to ensure that the process runs faster and more effectively. The two processes are designed to work in tandem to fix as many issues as possible and protect sensitive data from falling to the wrong hands.