Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) are two types of vulnerability testing methodology. The tests have different strengths and are often combined to achieve a more complete vulnerability analysis. In short, Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessments perform two different tasks, usually with different results, within the same area of focus.
Vulnerability assessment tools discover which vulnerabilities are present, but they do not differentiate between flaws that can be exploited to cause damage and those that cannot. Vulnerability scanners alert companies to the pre- existing flaws in their code and where they are located. Penetration tests attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities in a system to determine whether unauthorized access or other malicious activity is possible and identify which flaws pose a threat to the application. Penetration tests find exploitable flaws and measure the severity of each. A penetration test is meant to show how damaging a flaw could be in a real attack rather than find every flaw in a system. Together, penetration testing and vulnerability assessment tools provide a detailed picture of the flaws that exist in an application and the risks associated with those flaws.