Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing are often confused. Many security firms provide both, and the distinctions between them are often muddled.
Looking at how the real work in the test is done is the greatest way to tell the difference between these two options. An automated vulnerability assessment is one in which a technology performs all of the work and delivers a report at the end. Penetration testing, on the other hand, is a manual procedure that relies on a penetration tester’s knowledge and experience to find weaknesses in an organization’s information systems.