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How much is application pen testing truly costing?

03.Jul.2019
Simon Roe, Product Manager Outpost24
Penetration testing
Penetration testing, or pen tests, can be a confusing subject and the costs can sometimes spiral beyond what you originally budgeted for without adding value. So, is application pen testing an effective way of keeping your critical applications protected or should you look at exploring other options?

There are security experts who insist penetration testing is essential for application security, and you leave yourself open to BIG risks if you don’t do it regularly. However, not knowing the entire end to end process can be a major stumbling block to getting the best value and, crucially, could have a big impact on your bottom line and overall business security.

Why pen test?

Penetration testing is an effective way to detect flaws in your application before they turn into a serious threat to your business as well as enabling you to better understand the applications attack surface. A pen test is where organizations set real scenarios for ‘ethical-hackers’ to attempt an attack and the results highlight where your weaknesses and vulnerabilities lie.

Pen tests can take many forms including a remote attack, physical penetration of a data center or social engineering attacks and requires highly skilled individuals to carry out. This means the level of technical knowledge and skills required are extremely high and can be a costly exercise for organizations to outsource - who are already battling with tight budgets. Also, it’s not just the financial implications you should consider but the time it takes to run from start to finish can be longer than you think – and the final report can be just as confusing as when you began, especially when passing the information to your development teams to remediate effectively. As a consequence, you may need to seek additional skilled interpretation which invariably costs you even more time and money.

Seeking value for money is the holy grail for any security leader and a key element when enrolling a new application pen testing strategy.


 

The true cost of pen testing

As we are all aware, from the 2019 Verizon report into data breaches demonstrates, web applications are the top attack vector for data breaches and with modern DevOps continuously publishing new code, the need for pen testing could be fairly often. Therefore, its important you have a trusted partner in place to conduct your pen testing and you can prove it if you’re audited for compliance purposes.

With a classic pen test costing upwards of $20,000 or more (once you’ve included your staffs time pre and post-test) it can be an eye watering experience when you receive that final bill. (Download The Economics of Pen Testing guide for web application security)

cost of pen testing


 

The next generation application security testing

Pen Testing-as-a-Service (PTaaS) could be a good option as it gives organizations the flexibility to trigger a test whenever it needs one and helps DevOps maintain its faster tempo of publishing new code.

There are solutions available that combine automation and human testing giving you the best of both worlds. Our solution is a popular option as it combines PTaaS and automated scanning, ensuring you are monitored 24x7 and potential threats are identified early to reveal just how vulnerable your company is to cyber-attacks. This next gen approach offers value and will prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands, delays to your development cycle and boost value for money.

Summary

In our experience, pen tests are a great way of checking for application vulnerabilities on and as needed basis, however, it may not be a long term and sustainable option which could be costing you more than you think. There are solutions available from trusted security experts who can manage everything for you, which are cost effective and give you time to focus on what matters most. We can create a bespoke program that fits seamlessly with your workflow and utilizes a combination of automation and human pen tests, so you feel confident you are always protected, and you sleep easier at night!

It’s worth taking a step back and re-evaluating your approach to application security.


 

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