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Penetration Testing vs Vulnerability Scanning—Benefits & Limitations

Today, cyber attacks have increased dramatically and have also become more complex, resulting in companies opting for advanced cyber security solutions. Not only that, many companies have also turned to modern cyber security tools like vulnerability scanning and penetration testing. 
However, many organisations don’t understand how these systems function or which one is more suitable for them. In fact, some assume that they are two different cyber security methods that fulfil the same objective, but that is far from the truth.
In reality, while these practices may seem to target potential vulnerabilities, the methods that they use and the results that they yield are much more distinct.
At Redpalm, to help you learn more about these cyber security methods, we’ve directly compared a penetration test vs a vulnerability scan to see which is better for your company. 
Let’s get started!

What is Vulnerability Scanning?

Vulnerability scanning is the act of searching for potential vulnerabilities in your network devices, like routers and other applications, firewalls, and servers. Through this scan, your IT team can conduct high-level tests to search for known virus threats in your system and get rid of them. 
This is why, at Redpalm, we always recommend that you perform vulnerability scans on your system both internally and externally, to expose any flaws that cyber criminals can use for a successful attack

Pros and Cons of Vulnerability Scanning 


When it comes to your IT system, there are thousands of known vulnerabilities that can cause cyber attacks. However, with the help of vulnerability scanning, it becomes easier for your IT team to detect threats within a complex network
That is not all, there are several other pros to using vulnerability scanning:

  • You can perform quick, high-level tests with a broad scope.
  • It can automatically be run by your system weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.
  • It helps to create an established security record.
  • It’s affordable for companies.


Vulnerability scanning offers vital insights into known vulnerabilities, but it’s not designed to be a complete cyber security solution. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the limitations of a vulnerability scan to avoid having false confidence in your level of security.
The cons of vulnerability scanning include: 

  • It is limited to known vulnerabilities, meaning other vulnerabilities can exist in your system.
  • It is designed solely for reporting, meaning it can’t protect you without the assistance of a professional.
  • The scan results depend on the quality of the scanner.
  • You may need an analyst to check the results of the scan. 

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is the process of finding new vulnerabilities from a test that’s carried out by a security professional. It simulates a cyber attack against your network and attempts to breach system applications, servers, and devices to discover potential vulnerabilities. 
This form of testing is more invasive when compared to vulnerability scanning and is always performed by a human. Moreover, these tests offer targeted solutions for any specific vulnerabilities detected in the system.  
All in all, penetration testing is useful for any organisation that is looking to create and maintain an effective cyber security posture by eliminating any vulnerabilities in real-time.

Pros and Cons of Pen Testing


Hackers are always looking for new ways to breach organisational networks to get their hands on sensitive data. As a result, pen-testing offers you a better insight into how your network might react to possible ransomware threats
Some other benefits of pen testing include:

  • It helps to identify a wide range of vulnerabilities.
  • It helps to assess the damages of attacks on businesses.
  • You don’t need to perform penetration testing frequently.
  • It can determine if you need better cybersecurity measures for your business.


Penetration testing helps to find weaknesses in your network and tries to exploit them. However, since these tests can only be carried out by a human, it is impossible to simulate every possible cyber attack. 
Here are some other limitations of penetration testing:

  • It can be expensive to conduct a penetration test.
  • These tests have a targeted nature and tend to have a narrow scope.
  • The effectiveness of the test depends on the skills of the tester.
  • You can’t carry out these tests with automation. 

Choose Redpalm for Effective Cyber Security Solutions!

When it comes to examining a penetration test vs vulnerability scan, both help your business to find weaknesses that could lead to a successful attack. However, if you don’t have the required resources to conduct these scans/tests, you can get in touch with the IT team at Redpalm.
Our experts have several years of experience strengthening the security systems and IT infrastructures of several businesses. In other words, we can ensure that your business and personal information will be in safe hands, away from the reach of cybercriminals.
We also offer other solutions, like managed IT services, business continuity and disaster recovery, unified endpoint management, and more, to ensure your business is protected from outside threats at all times.
To learn more about how we can help, contact us today!