In a nutshell, vulnerability assessment is a procedure wherein an application, appliance, or specialist identifies, quantifies, ranks, and prioritizes the different vulnerabilities of a given platform, program, system, or network. The best vulnerability assessment tools available are capable of evaluating networks containing fifty to two hundred thousand nodes. They could even do detailed examination for coding flaws and system weaknesses that equal or even surpass the reports provided by run-of-the-mill penetration testing programs.
In Depth Inspection
A competently executed vulnerability assessment process normally allows users to do in-depth inspection such that each and every last security scan will find new services and equipment by default and include them into the assessment queue. The assessment program or device will then analyze every last node based on its recorded behavior, known attributes, and other reactions to your system's prompts. In just a couple of hours' time (provided that there is no interruption of the scan or any occurrence of network downtime), a dependable vulnerability assessment process should produce comprehensive reports that identify and specify your network or system's programming bugs and security deficiencies.
Zero Day Threats
In contrast, conducting a vulnerability assessment scan in a manual manner care of a security expert has its respective pros and cons when compared to vulnerability assessment scans via a hardware or software medium. On one hand, these professionals will typically need exorbitant fees and they're generally not recommended for ordinary, everyday network security problems. On the other hand, they're the perfect men for the job when it comes to taking care of unknown, zero-day threats fresh off a hacker's computer. At present, no application or application-run appliance is capable of real-time judgment of unknown security flaws.
Besides, it makes a lot of sense for white hat hackers (security researchers who are well-versed in constructive hacking) to go head-to-head against black hat hackers (cyber criminals who hack for their own purposes without any regard for other computer users) when it comes to identifying and assessing the different system weaknesses, bugs, glitches, security holes, and vulnerabilities in a given machine. It's just that it's much more practical to depend on a vulnerability assessment gadget or program for minor threats, especially considering the fact that these tools are regularly updated by the very same IT security professionals anyway.