Penetration Testing Customers
Penetration testing and its importance for your organization
Penetration testing is an important piece of defending your organization against vulnerabilities that may not be readily found through automated means. It targets those more nuanced risks that your network scan may not be adept at picking up - typically more easily found by a resourceful hacker who thinks outside the box. Organizations in industries with stringent compliance requirements often find their staff spending a good portion of their time checking boxes and documenting compliance for various parts of their operation. While they're busy checking boxes, they may easily miss something that a penetration test could likely identify. A given industry's compliance standards may necessitate penetration testing. If your organization has these industry compliance requirements, you must establish the right resourcing strategy for the testing process. Do you hire a staff dedicated to this function? Do you outsource a bug bounty approach and bring in multiple 3rd parties? What are the key things to consider?
Preparing for penetration tests
When you begin to plan for bringing in penetration testers, think about what you need to achieve and how to get the greatest impact for your organization and its customers. Identify the scenarios you think are most relevant for your organization, what the scope of the tests will be, and when you will perform the tests. Plan for the required sign-offs needed for the pen testers to access key assets whose controls will be tested and who in your organization will provide those sign-offs. Ultimately, consider the primary objective you're looking to achieve with the penetration tests and solicit details from each potential resource option on how they could most effectively help you meet that outcome.
A diverse audience of potential helpers
Whether you're looking to bring in an individual or an agency for your testing, the breadth of skills and practical experience required for different industries and technologies is incredibly diverse. An agency whose sole focus is pen testing usually can cover a broad technical and business scenario landscape, however they may need to be more specialized to achieve good results for your organization's particular needs. You will want to review a previous sample vulnerability report from prospective agencies to ensure the details and recommendations are at the right level of detail for your staff to perform the remediation actions. If the recommendations look too generic, it's not necessarily going to help provide the right context for your staff to mitigate vulnerabilities identified during a test. Going with a cheaper, less-skilled agency may provide a much cleaner report at the end and a stamp on your compliance checklist, but can you honestly feel good about your security posture if the chosen agency has identified few, if any, vulnerabilities? It may be more work, but getting skilled resources to perform what is already considered a high-risk and high-impact practice will serve you better in the long run.
Penetration testing service providers and specialists
If you've done your homework, you can effectively narrow down your search to focus on those agencies and individuals that are likely to uncover those hard-to-find vulnerabilities given your industry, technical footprint, and test plan. Agencies can staff up and carry more testers than you'd likely be able to hire in a short period. Agencies are good options for ongoing and recurring penetration testing needs. They may introduce different testers with each engagement, and a fresh set of eyes is always helpful to avoid bias and increase transparency. Building out your staff to include a team of penetration testers may also be a good option. Building upon an existing team or starting a new team of pen testers as dedicated resources will require hiring an individual to lead that team and establish its strategy. Hiring individuals for more permanent pen test staffing scenarios also comes with its unique challenges.
Elite's profiles for agencies and individuals allow each potential resource to showcase technical skills, business acumen, industry knowledge, and relevant certifications. Use it to your advantage when looking for the right pen testing resources.
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