Penetration testing is now routinely performed by security-conscious companies. A plethora of pentesting services is available, providing pentesting management platforms for a wide variety of purposes, such as bolstering security, lowering risks, or satisfying regulatory mandates.
But how can you choose a trustworthy pentesting management platform? When looking for a platform provider, what factors should you take into account? How confident are you that it will do the penetration testing to your specifications and in a timely fashion?
We compiled seven guidelines that may help you select the right pentest management platform. Let’s take a look at these best practices.
1. Set the Parameters for the Type of Pentest You Need
Before selecting a pentesting management platform, determine the type of technical testing you need. Will you be performing web application, mobile application, or network/infrastructure pentests? Each type requires specific tools, knowledge, and expertise, which influence costs. Ensure that your chosen vendor can conduct the appropriate pentest for your needs. After defining the scope, specify your desired testing mode—black box, gray box, or white box, each with varying levels of knowledge about the tested environment.
Choosing a penetration testing company that is well-versed in these different testing methods is vital. It can guide you in selecting the most suitable type and method for your goals and budget. Typically, a pentesting company’s scoping questionnaire will gather sufficient information to propose a customized pentest tailored to your situation.
2. Evaluate the Abilities of the Pentesting Team
When assessing a pentesting management platform, examine the qualifications and experience of the individual pentesters you will engage. A competent pentesting team should possess a blend of expertise and practical experiences. Look for credentials like university degrees in information security, ethical hacking certifications, or continuing education courses. Recognized certifications include CEH, LPT, GXPN, and OSCP. Moreover, SANS Institute offers numerous penetration testing courses to sharpen ethical hacking skills, demonstrating the team’s technical knowledge and commitment to staying updated on modern techniques.
Equally important is the team’s experience in various industries, company types, and pentesting projects. Ensure the pentesters have relevant experience in your sector and the specific types of exercise you require, including red team exercises. A diverse background makes it easier for the team to adapt to your unique context and perform a comprehensive pentest using proven methodologies. Request for a copy of their recent pentest summaries to gauge their experience and suitability for your organization.
3. Ask for Useful References
Before initiating a pentest, request 2–3 references from your chosen pentesting management platform, preferably from organizations with the same size or industry as yours. Contact these references to validate the company’s professionalism, expertise, and value. That should provide insights that sales proposals or resumes may not reveal.
During the conversation, inquire about their satisfaction with the pentest, their experience working with the company, the team’s performance, whether the project was completed on time and within budget, the quality of the pentest report, and if they would work with the company again. This information can prove invaluable when selecting the most suitable pentesting platform vendor.
4. Learn the Steps Taken to Protect Your Data
Before engaging a pentesting management platform to access your confidential data, ensuring they can securely handle and store the information throughout the entire process is crucial. Obtain detailed explanations about their data-handling practices, including transmission, storage, erasure, retention period, and the company’s security history. Addressing these data security concerns can be a determining factor when selecting a trustworthy pentesting partner.
5. Inquire about Liability Insurance
Inquire about the availability of liability insurance from any prospective pentesting management platform provider before signing the contract. Protecting your company from any legal action is a top priority, and liability insurance may help you do that. Suppose the pentesting firm’s testing and infiltration operations harm your environment, for instance. A liability insurance policy will cover the repair costs. Since their business is all about information security and risk management, penetration testing firms should have insurance to back up their validity claims.
6. Request for a Sample Report
A pentest’s primary outcome is a report that outlines the test findings, applicable countermeasures, and security recommendations. Acquiring a sample pentest report can aid in understanding the final deliverable and inform decision-making. A high-quality report should feature an executive summary detailing the client’s overall security posture and urgent concerns, a technical review explaining the methodologies and results, a ranked list of vulnerabilities and exploits, recommendations for asset protection, and appendices containing relevant supplementary data.
The pentesting report should cater to the needs of different stakeholders. Technical IT teams will be keen on understanding the vulnerabilities and exploits and receiving step-by-step remediation suggestions. Meanwhile, C-level executives and IT directors may focus on the executive summary to gain an overview of the firm’s cybersecurity posture and risk exposure.
7. Examine the Team’s Project Management Competencies
When selecting a pentesting management platform provider, evaluate their project management capabilities. Inquire about their processes, methodologies, and adherence to the Project Management Institute (PMI) guidelines. Assess the qualifications and experience of the assigned project managers, including their familiarity with similar projects and credentials like a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Strong project management ensures a smooth, on-schedule, and budget-compliant pentest, with quality deliverables.
When choosing a pentesting management platform, consider factors beyond cost. Evaluate the vendor’s methodology, deliverables, data security practices, and project management capabilities. Check the credentials and experience of the pentesters and seek references to gauge their professionalism and relevance. Plus, you can establish a rapport with the vendor’s key resources to foster a trusting and mutually beneficial long-term partnership.
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