Essential practices for successful cybersecurity strategy – Pentest and Vulnerability scanner

The pen test and the vulnerability scanner are two essential practices for the implementation of a successful security strategy. However, do you know the differences and complementarities of these two cybersecurity mechanisms?

by: Eloïse Gruber

What is a “vulnerability scanner”?

Vulnerability scanner is a software that aims to analyse your information system in order to detect vulnerabilities within your resources. It allows you to analyse different types of assets such as hardware (networks, printers, etc.), systems (Windows, Linux, MacOs, etc.) as well as applications (web applications, websites etc.). Depth and quality of analysis will largely depend on the scan “engine”. At this point, it should be taken into consideration that only handful of developers have mastered the development of the “engine”.

A scanner will identify your vulnerabilities by comparing the software version of your resource with its register of known security vulnerabilities. This register is established and maintained by aggregation of all security alerts that are being issued by national cyber defence agencies as well as by the developers themselves.

Just like a guard walking around an industrial site to ensure that all doors are closed, the vulnerability scanner will automatically ensure that a new vulnerability has been successfully identified and that one of your resources needs attention for establishing acceptable level of security.

A “vulnerability scanner” is the tireless guardian of your information system! Depending on the level of maturity of the vulnerability testing solutions, you will be able to benefit from features ranging from planning the execution of updates on your resources through the identification of your resources and their classification to allow you to make the right choices in terms of criticality and prioritization of the actions to be carried out. On the other hand, some solutions even go so far as to offer a module called “Compliance” to establish audit reports to measure the gaps between your level of cybersecurity and your Information System Security Policy – PSSI.

What is the purpose of a “pentest”?

If we take, as an example, the image of the guard who monitors the perimeter on the site entrusted to him, the pentest would be, for his part, highly trained expert team of intruders  who are trying, by all means, enter the site under surveillance and test its resistance to intrusion.

A pentest is usually conducted by a team of cyberattack experts. The duration of a pentest varies greatly depending on the complexity of the attack scenarios implemented during the audit.

The methods and tools used are identical to those used by Hackers. This approach makes it possible to establish a report on the resistance of your site in the face of very real intrusion attempts. Recommendations will of course be proposed at the end of this type of service.

A pentest is a service that will allow at a moment to have a precise vision of the level of cybersecurity in the company or organization. It will also make it possible to implement corrective and curative actions in response to identified security vulnerabilities but also by applying good practices on the part of users to raise the level of security of the site.

Complementary solutions!

To sum up, the pentest is an audit that can take several weeks to identify the “open doors” and potential risks with proposals to correct the weakness, while vulnerability scanner continuously monitors your IT assets and alerts you as soon as a flaw is identified. These two solutions (one punctual and the other permanent) are therefore complementary!

Monitoring vulnerabilities is one of modules offered by Cyberwatch solution. Vulnerability Manager provides a comprehensive and continuous view of your vulnerabilities, with detection, identification, and remediation. The solution scans different assets, such as workstations, servers, network equipment and websites. The Cyberwatch knowledge base is updated every hour thanks to reliable data sources which are listing several thousand flaws and vulnerabilities.

If you would like to learn more about how BlueFinch can help your organisation protect its sensitive data and about our Data Security Suite? Please contact and take a look at our  solutions.