OpenVAS vs. Nessus: Top Vulnerability Scanners Compared

OpenVAS and Nessus are two of the leaders in the vulnerability scanning market. Nessus is best for companies that want more of an off-the-shelf vulnerability scanning solution, while the open-source OpenVAS is best for organizations that want more customization and integrations.

See below to learn all about how OpenVAS and Nessus compare against each other in the vulnerability scanning category.

OpenVAS Vs. Nessus

Are you looking for more vulnerability scanning options?: Best Vulnerability Scanning Tools

OpenVAS Vs. Nessus: Portfolio

When it comes to choosing a vulnerability scanner, there are many options. Two of the most popular are OpenVAS and Nessus, but they have very different approaches.

OpenVAS is an open-source vulnerability scanner with a wide range of features. The tool was developed by the Open Vulnerability Assessment System (OpenVAS) project, which started at the end of 2002. The main goal of OpenVAS is to provide a framework for managing vulnerabilities and publishing them in an easy-to-use format.

OpenVAS is an automated tool that scans for vulnerabilities in your system and plugins. It’s designed to be used by security professionals who want to keep their systems up-to-date without manually running a slew of different scanners one after another.

The OpenVAS Security Scanner is the core of the OpenVAS platform and provides an interface to manage their scan tasks and receive feedback on the results. The OpenVAS Manager is a web-based management console for the OpenVAS Scanner and can be installed on any machine in your network or cloud infrastructure. OpenVAS Manager provides a simple and intuitive interface for managing scans and events in one place.

Nessus is a tool created in 1998 by Tenable. It allows users to scan systems for vulnerabilities and perform other security tests, including port scanning and network mapping. It also enables users to manage their vulnerability database — the vulnerability management platform (VMSP) — and monitor its performance using the Nessus Management Console (NMC).

Nessus is also an automated scanner that can scan for vulnerabilities in your system and plugins, but its focus is more on finding known vulnerabilities than detecting new ones. It’s also easier for non-security professionals to use than OpenVAS, because it doesn’t require any configuration before running a scan; users can simply download the program and start scanning.

OpenVAS Nessus
Breadth
Depth
Specialization
Overall

See more: 5 Top Vulnerability Scanning Trends

OpenVAS Vs. Nessus: Partners

OpenVAS’ partner network is best for organizations that want to tap open-source resources to improve the vulnerability scanning product, while Nessus’ partner network is best for companies that want to lean on leading tech brands to enhance the product’s functionality.

OpenVAS has various partners in the open-source community that support the project with different services, including commercial support, development, and consulting, or by providing hosting for software repositories or bug-tracking systems.

It has partnered with McAfee, AWS, Siemens energy, Splunk, and Cyberark, which bring new insights into the latest vulnerabilities and provide customers with a wider variety of coverage options.

OpenVAS Nessus
Breadth
Depth
Specialization
Global reach
Overall

OpenVAS Vs. Nessus: Use Cases

OpenVAS uses a community-driven development process, which means anyone who wants to contribute can submit patches and fixes for bugs or new features. Anyone can download and run OpenVAS on their computer, but users must register with the project before they can contribute code changes back into the core product.

OpenVAS was created by a community of security professionals who wanted to ensure anyone could access the product without paying for it. This means there are no licensing fees or other costs associated with using OpenVAS.

Nessus is designed specifically for organizations with large networks, so they can identify vulnerabilities across multiple systems at once. The biggest drawback of using Nessus is that it requires a license fee.

Nessus offers more than just vulnerability scanning; it also has other security tools, like an intrusion detection system (IDS) and intrusion prevention system (IPS) alerts, and firewall rule sets. The price of these additional features varies depending on what type of subscription plan you choose when purchasing an annual license agreement from Tenable.

OpenVAS Nessus
Breadth
Depth
Specialization
Overall

See more: Why Vulnerability Scanning is Important

OpenVAS Vs. Nessus: User Reviews

We’ve compiled a list of the overall user review scores for both products from several review websites. Nessus has an edge over OpenVAS here:

OpenVAS Nessus
Gartner Peer Reviews 4.3 out of 5 4.5 out of 5
Capterra 4.7 out of 5
TrustRadius 7.8 out of 10 8.7 out of 10
G2 4.4 out of 5 4.5 out of 5
Overall

OpenVAS Vs. Nessus: Pricing

OpenVAS is free for anyone who wants to use it and can be downloaded from the OpenVAS website. It’s also open-source, meaning you can modify it if you want to. This makes it easy for people to start using the software without having to pay any money upfront.

Comparatively, Nessus isn’t free. Nessus professional costs $3,390 for a single one-year license, according to the company’s website.

OpenVAS Nessus
Pricing

Bottom Line: OpenVAS Vs. Nessus: Overall

Both OpenVAS and Nessus are excellent vulnerability scanners, but it’s important to remember that both of these tools have comparative strengths and weaknesses as noted in the categories above.

For example, if you’re looking for a complete vulnerability management solution that includes vulnerability assessment, patch management, and compliance monitoring capabilities, then OpenVAS may be right for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a tool that finds vulnerabilities in particular software types, like Windows servers, then Nessus may be better suited for your needs.

Knowing about these two strong options can help you decide which tool is right for you.

OpenVAS Nessus
Portfolio
Partners
Use cases
User reviews
Pricing
Overall

See more: Simple Guide to Vulnerability Scanning Best Practices

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