Application Security

Security Audit vs. Pentesting: The Key Differences and How to Choose the Right One

Security Audit vs. Pentesting: The Key Differences and How to Choose the Right One
Written by ga_dahmani
Security Audit vs. Pentesting: The Key Differences and How to Choose the Right One

In the world of cybersecurity, there are two types of audits that companies can perform: a security audit and a penetration test. These terms may sound familiar to you, but you may not be sure what they mean or how to choose between them. In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences between these two services, as well as the pros and cons of each. We’ll also give you some tips on how to decide which type is right for your business!

What is security audit?

A security audit is a process that examines the security of an organization’s systems and networks. The goal of a security audit is to identify vulnerabilities and recommend solutions. Security audits can be performed internally or by external experts.

Some of the best tools for security auditing include:

  • Neso – a vulnerability scanner that allows you to get a security posture assessment for many devices, including mobile and cloud. It also provides information about misconfigurations or vulnerabilities in operating systems, services, and applications.
  • IBM Application Scan: This tool tests web applications for major OWASP risks, such as cross-site scripting (XSS), insecure direct object references, and SQL injection, among others. This tool works with both native mobile apps and hybrid/web apps running on pre-production infrastructures such as desktop emulators, simulators, or real hardware. The real benefit here is being able to test your enterprise application against attacks of this nature before it goes into production!

The security audit can be performed internally by employees within your company who have knowledge of your business processes and security needs. It can also be done externally by hiring an external consultant who specializes in this type of work.

What is Pentesting?

Pentesting, also known as penetration testing, is the practice of attacking computer systems in order to find security weaknesses. Pentesters use a variety of methods, including exploit codes, to try to break into systems. Pentesters simulate real-world attacks to determine how well your system would hold up against them.

It is performed against mission critical systems that are used on a daily basis rather than just being tested periodically or when deemed necessary. With penetration testing, you’re specifically looking for pain points that could lead to major compromises if left unresolved. This could include looking for login credentials stored in source code, default passwords, or accounts left active after an employee leaves the company, among other things, anything that makes it easy for cybercriminals to take advantage of them! Some examples of tools frequently used in penetration testing include:

  • nmap – a network scanning and security auditing tool that can be used to identify hosts and services on a network, as well as vulnerabilities.
  • Astra Pentest – an application security testing solution that allows developers and pen-testers to find vulnerabilities in web applications, iOS, Android, networks, etc.
  • Metasploit – a tool for developing exploit code. It provides the user with an interface where they can enter information about their target environment (such as the operating system) to see if there are any exploits that can be used.

Key differences between security auditing and pentesting?

The key difference between security auditing and penetration testing is that audits are proactive while penetration testing is reactive. Audits are designed to find vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers. Pentests are designed to test the security of your systems after you have implemented the necessary changes identified in security audits.

Advantages and disadvantages of security auditing


Internal audits can be carried out on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly) depending on the needs of the company; an audit is usually cheaper than hiring external pentesters; There is no risk to customers if their personal information or other sensitive data were compromised during testing as everything is simulated! Security auditing provides organizations with metrics that indicate how well they are protecting critical assets such as customer credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc., contributing to the overall awareness of the organization about cyber threats.


Some companies may not feel comfortable opening up to external security auditors; Pentesting is not effective if an organization does not have a good understanding of where its vulnerabilities lie.

Pros and cons of Pentesting


Pentesters use real-world attacks to identify areas of vulnerability, making them more accurate than mock audits; Penetration tests can be completed much faster than large-scale internal or external audits and provide immediate feedback on the current status of your network/systems security post-implementation changes. With penetration testing, you get direct access to an application’s code (if needed) with no limits on what testers can do or see; this allows them to find potential flaws that may go unnoticed by human eyes due to lack of time, resources, etc.; Petesting can be completed after a security audit to test for vulnerabilities that an organization missed during the initial test.


Pentesters use real-world attacks, which means they have a higher chance of compromising your system(s); Penetration testing can be expensive (although generally not as expensive as hiring outside experts) due to the amount of time it takes; If testers can access one or more systems, there is also a risk to customers whose personal information was compromised during testing, even if it is a simulation! When you hire third parties as pentesters, there is always some degree of uncertainty about their true intentions and skill level. You never really know if these people will responsibly report vulnerabilities or sell them to the highest bidder.

How to choose between security audits and pentests?

When it comes time to choose between security auditing and penetration testing, it’s important to consider your organization’s specific needs and vulnerabilities. If you’re looking for a preventative measure to help identify potential weaknesses before hackers can exploit them, then security audits are the way to go. However, if you’re looking for more immediate feedback on the current security status of your systems or want to test how well your recent changes have withstood real-world attacks, penetration testing is the best option. In the end, it’s important to remember that both security auditing and pentesting are valuable tools in an organization’s cybersecurity arsenal; it just depends on what you are trying to achieve. You may need to know some of the best penetration testing tools which are Astra Pentest, NMAP, Metasploit, WireShark, Burp Suite, Nessus.


Security auditing and penetration testing are essential in helping organizations protect their critical data. Security auditing is a preventative measure that helps identify potential weaknesses before they can be exploited by hackers, while pentesting provides immediate feedback on the current status of your systems’ security post-implementation changes. Choose the right tool for the job and your data will be safe!


Author Bio: Ankit Pahuja is a marketing leader and evangelist at Astra Security. Since her adulthood (literally, she was 20 years old), she began to find vulnerabilities in websites and network infrastructures. Starting his career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns allows him to make “marketing engineering” a reality. Actively working in the cybersecurity space for over 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketer. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has given several talks at top companies, startups, and startups. and online events.

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