OpenVAS vs Nessus Vulnerability Scanners: Comparison Guide

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With the ever-evolving and ongoing technological improvements, businesses continue to increase their operational effectiveness to compete in the market. However, as infrastructure changes, there seems to be a tendency for new security flaws and vulnerabilities to appear. Eventually, this could risk exposing confidential company data and raising other dangers like data breaches.

As a result, businesses spend money on vulnerability scanning technologies to find faults in their network infrastructure, reduce risks and assess their level of security readiness. In addition to proactively checking your company’s environment, these highly specialized software solutions can detect and fix security flaws. 

Nessus and OpenVAS are two solid vulnerability scanners that include a variety of functions for evaluating business network security. While the Nessus tool provides insight into your internet-connected attack surface, OpenVAS’s network security auditing is frequently used too.

Nessus: Best for businesses seeking a comprehensive vulnerability scanning tool – particularly for expert security auditing.

OpenVAS: Best for organizations having a low-cost budget. It’s completely free and can run more than 50,000 vulnerability tests. 

Here, we have examined both vulnerability scanning solutions so that you may choose the one that best suits your business requirements. 

Read more about the importance of vulnerability scanning.

Nessus vs. OpenVAS at a glance

  Nessus OpenVAS
Best for pricing Starts at $5,888.20 per year Open source, free
Best for core features Asset Profiling, Security Audit, Vulnerability Analysis, Sensitive Data Recovery Web interface, vulnerability scanning, asset discovery, risk management, policy management, asset tagging
Best for ease of use Setup administration and brilliant design document Setting up scanning process is user-friendly and highly configurable
Best for accuracy, reliability and scalability Intricate Server Security Enables a multitude of internet and industrial protocols and supports both authenticated and unauthenticated testing
Best for support 24/7 technical support through an array of easy options like chat, community, and via phone. Community forum for active communication and expansion and a separate security response team for bugs

Nessus vs. OpenVAS: Portfolio

Nessus is potentially one of the foremost dependable vulnerability assessment tools available in the market today. It looks for open ports and finds active services, providing details on possible security holes. Tenable’s web-based application includes a variety of plugins that can operate on several platforms, including iPhone XS Max, Windows and Linux.

For quite a long time, Tenable has collaborated with the security community. The company regularly emphasizes product innovation and keeps Nessus optimized to improve its functionalities in response to customer feedback. System administrators can benefit from informational notifications. 

OpenVAS is a comprehensive vulnerability scanner. Its strengths encompass unauthenticated and authenticated testing, numerous high-level and low-level internet and industrial protocols, efficiency tweaking for large-scale scanning, and a potent internal programming language to construct any kind of vulnerability test.

The tests for identifying vulnerabilities are obtained by the scanner from a feed that boasts a rich history and receives constant updates. OpenVAS facilitates vulnerability assessments for unauthenticated and authenticated testing, and unlimited evaluations of various IT infrastructures.

  Nessus OpenVAS

Nessus vs. OpenVAS: Partners

Nessus, developed by leading security experts from Tenable, offers thorough coverage of vulnerabilities to lower risk spanning business processes and operations. Top companies like Dell, Nucleus, GitHub, VMware, Apple, Blackberry, Cisco, Datadog and Slack have also partnered to develop and deliver cutting-edge solutions to customer problems. The Cyber Exposure Technology Ecosystem comprises partners like Splunk, BeyondTrust, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Security, Microsoft, Siemens Energy and others.

On the contrary, OpenVAS has a long list of worldwide reseller and distributive partners. It includes ADN, Bechtle, Com-Sys, WBS, KHIPU Networks Limited, DATAKOM, Michael Wessel, Root Sektor, indevis and more. 

  Nessus OpenVAS
Global reach  

Nessus vs. OpenVAS: Use Cases

Nessus goes much further than conventional assets and is regarded as the global gold standard in vulnerability assessment. Additionally, it operates on a safe cloud infrastructure. Nessus primarily provides two solution categories, Nessus Professional and Nessus Expert. The Professional range is best for security practitioners, while the Expert level works effectively for programmers and SMBs. They both provide limitless IT evaluations, configuration evaluations, customizable reports and community assistance. 

Alongside, Nessus provides 72,000 CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures), which is remarkable. It offers scanning precision that is superior to Six Sigma. There are new vulnerability scans regularly available as of now. Constructed scan templates made for significant vulnerabilities and available. Live Results detect vulnerabilities based on recent scan data to provide real-time visibility. Besides, over 700 compliance and customization templates are available without additional fees.

Due to the community-driven development methodology used by OpenVAS, it is available for download and use for all. However, to submit code changes to the main product, users must first sign up for the project.

Security experts came together to form the OpenVAS community because they wanted to guarantee that anyone could use the product for free. Users only need an internet connection to use OpenVAS. Therefore, there are no licensing fees or other charges involved. In terms of open-source vulnerability management, OpenVAS is undoubtedly the most popular option worldwide.

  Nessus OpenVAS

Nessus vs. OpenVAS: Ratings

As per Gartner Peer Insights, Nessus holds a 4.5-star rating. It’s referred to as one of the ideal penetration scanners for users. The only update that Nessus requires is its pricing. Several users stated that the professional version of Nessus is a little costly. Gartner gives OpenVAS a 4.3 rating. OpenVAS is free, so users have never faced problems related to costs. 

As per G2, Nessus scores 4.5 out of 5 stars, while OpenVAS gets a rating of 4.4 stars. Moving on to Capterra, which gives Nessus 4.7 stars and OpenVAS 4.1 stars.

  Nessus OpenVAS
Gartner Peer Insights 4.5/5 4.3/5
G2 4.5/5 4.4/5
Capterra 4.7/5 4.1/5

Nessus vs. OpenVAS: Recognition

Nessus has been used by tens of thousands of clients to run their businesses. There are currently more than 182,000 plugins available, and far more than 100 plugins are released each week. In addition, there are typically 0.32 faults per million scans, which is extremely low. It also provides the most comprehensive and in-depth vulnerability coverage. Moreover, Tenable, its parent company, is a 2021 Gartner Representative Vendor in Vulnerability Assessment.

Moving on to OpenVAS, it has several certifications. To name a few, it includes the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems and ISO/IEC 27001 for Information Security. Speaking of its memberships, OpenVAS has AFCEA, CIS SecureSuite, OSB Alliance and Alliance for Cyber Sicherheit. 

  Nessus OpenVAS

Nessus vs. OpenVAS: Overall

Nessus is ideally designed for security professionals. It offers a variety of capabilities, such as pre-built templates, policies, and real-time updates that further facilitate vulnerability assessments. On the other hand, OpenVAS is another fantastic scanning program that effectively scans ports and finds vulnerabilities. OpenVAS is generally ideal for firms that are seeking a vulnerability scanner but don’t wish to invest in an expensive solution. 

  Nessus OpenVAS
Use Cases  

Who Shouldn’t Use Nessus & OpenVAS Vulnerability Scanners

Although Nessus and OpenVAS are undeniably among the best products available for businesses in the market, a few drawbacks can cause you to rethink your choice.

Who Shouldn’t Use Nessus Vulnerability Scans

Nessus won’t be an ideal choice if you want a fully secure system for your network. It’s generally unable to stop attacks actively. As an alternative, it can merely pinpoint the weaknesses that cybercriminals might use. Additionally, because the solution can be pricey, small firms might not be able to afford it.

Who Shouldn’t Use OpenVAS Vulnerability Scans

OpenVAS might not be an ideal choice if you are a new firm. Although OpenVAS has an advantage over Nessus in terms of low cost, organizations would generally require skilled and experienced staff on board to extract the original value and benefits from the scanner. 

Top Three Nessus and OpenVAS Alternatives

Even though Nessus and OpenVAS seem perfect for your organization, you cannot risk one or two factors regarding security. Therefore, you might want to consider alternative solutions to Nessus and OpenVAS if you have different business requirements. 

Some alternatives include:

ManageEngine Vulnerability Manager Plus: Best for configuration audits and vulnerability assessment, besides finding remedies to the vulnerabilities. Suitable for medium to large businesses. 

IBM X-Force Red Vulnerability Management Services: Best for its ability to prioritize data, render protection to the company infrastructure and remediate vulnerabilities. Suitable for small, medium and large businesses. 

Digital Defense Frontline VM: Best for checking in where the vulnerabilities lie. It offers incredible penetration testing and patch management. Suitable for all small, medium-sized and large-scale businesses. 

Bottom Line: Nessus vs. OpenVAS Vulnerability Scans 

For scanning vulnerabilities, Nessus and OpenVAS are both extremely trustworthy choices. Since they have been in the industry for so long, they have enhanced their feature set to meet the advancing and latest market demands. In light of this, you are free to select either of the leading vulnerability scanning systems for your organization.

Learn more about top vulnerability software and tools.

Kashyap Vyas
Kashyap Vyas
Kashyap Vyas is a contributing writer to Enterprise Storage Forum. He covers a range of technical topics, including managed services, cloud computing, security, storage, business management, and product design and development. Kashyap holds a Master's Degree in Engineering and finds joy in traveling, exploring new cultures, and immersing himself in Indian classical and Sufi music. uns a consulting agency.

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