security-testing | ethical-hacking

3 key factors to consider for Penetration Testing (as a Service)

Learn the key factors to consider when planning Penetration Testing as a Service. Discover how ethical hackers can help organizations comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards while improving customer confidence and trust in their products and services.

Levente MolnarMay 04, 2023 · 7 min read · Last Updated:

Planning a Penetration Testing (as a Service) PTaaS project? Here are 3 key factors to consider

To comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards, it’s crucial for organizations to implement regular security testing and vulnerability assessments. By doing so, they can not only meet these standards but also increase customers’ trust in their products and services. A strong commitment to security testing demonstrates that an organization takes security seriously and is committed to protecting its customers’ sensitive data.

As organizations strive to meet regulatory requirements and strengthen their security, they are increasingly leveraging Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS). But with so many approaches to PTaaS out there, it can be challenging to know how to get started.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Penetration Testing as a Service. Plus, we’ll highlight three key factors you should keep in mind to make sure your pentest project is a success!

What is a Penetration Test, and how does it work?

A penetration test (both traditional and PTaaS) is a simulated attack on a system or network to identify vulnerabilities and potential entry points for an attacker. It’s done by security professionals who use a variety of tools and techniques to test the security of a system.

In a PTaaS platform, ethical hackers perform penetration testing on a pre-defined scope, using a cloud-based platform, such as Hackrate, to perform the documentation. These platforms can offer a clear view of the testing process in real time, including comprehensive reports on identified vulnerabilities and recommendations for remediation.

Why was the “aaS” added?

A PTaaS platform offers a level of scalability that allows organizations to conveniently increase their test requirements as needed, much like cloud technology. Furthermore, a PTaaS platform offers an efficient way for managing security testing requirements. It removes the need to maintain an internal team of ethical hackers or to contract with individual testers on a project-by-project basis.

PTaaS is particularly important for web applications and other digital assets that are accessible from the internet, as they are constantly being targeted by attackers. Relying on the same security professionals for each periodic security test may not be sufficient as attackers are constantly targeting these assets.

What to keep in mind for a successful pentest project?

  1. Find highly experienced and skilled ethical hackers

When searching for ethical hackers to conduct security testing, it’s important to choose people with relevant certifications and a proven track record of experience.

You want someone who can effectively communicate their findings and recommendations to you in a clear and understandable manner. Hiring qualified and skilled ethical hackers is the first step for a successful security testing project that meets your objectives.

  1. More ethical hackers = more comprehensive testing

In general, the more ethical hackers that participate in a security testing project, the more comprehensive the testing will be. As each hacker brings their unique skill set, experience, and perspective to the project, they can identify a wider range of vulnerabilities more efficiently.

Being able to switch penetration testers can offer a new outlook and novel approaches to detect vulnerabilities. Typically, changing vendors is required to gain a fresh perspective in traditional pen testing. However, with PTaaS, it is possible to alternate testers within the same platform.

Having multiple ethical hackers working on a project can also help to ensure that no vulnerability remains overlooked. Each ethical hacker may have their own unique approach to testing and specialized areas of expertise, which leads to a more comprehensive and effective testing process.

  1. Monitor the activity of your ethical hackers

During any security testing project, you need to monitor what your ethical hackers are doing. To ensure proper monitoring, it’s crucial to have access to log data that provides evidence of their activities. This log data should contain all relevant information that can offer insight into the testing process.

To ensure that security testing is thorough and aligned with the agreed-upon objectives, we recommend using a tool that can monitor traffic during the testing process. This tool should provide detailed information on the traffic flowing between the ethical hacker and the target web application.

Our enterprise-level monitoring appliance, HackGATE™ was specifically designed for ethical hacking projects.

About HackGATE™

HackGATE™ is a security testing tool that features a real-time traffic logging proxy server. By using HackGATE™, you can effectively monitor all ethical hacking activities and increase the accountability of your penetration testers. The tool provides a clear understanding of their actions during the testing project.

How we can help

At Hackrate, we take security seriously. We understand that every organization is unique and has specific security needs, which is why we provide customized Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS) to ensure that your organization’s vulnerabilities are identified and addressed effectively.

Continuous vs Project-based security testing

Continuous security testing and project-based security testing are two approaches that organizations can use to ensure their security posture. Continuous testing provides ongoing visibility into the organization’s security posture, while project-based testing is carried out over a specific period (usually a few weeks or a month) with a focused effort to identify vulnerabilities, and the results are presented in a final report.

Depending on their specific needs and resources, you can choose either one or both of these approaches. Our team is here to help!

Fix project price vs Bounty pool approach

Hackrate offers two options for organizations: Fix project price and the Bounty pool approach. With the Fix project price, we determine the cost beforehand, based on the anticipated complexity and resources required for the project. On the other hand, the Bounty pool approach allows companies to incentivize ethical hackers who identify and report security vulnerabilities. The maximum amount for rewards is set by the client in collaboration with Hackrate, and an escrow bank account is used to distribute the payouts. At the conclusion of the project, any unspent funds are returned to the client.

Setting up your Elite team of ethical hackers

As we mentioned earlier, to ensure the effective identification of system vulnerabilities, it’s crucial for organizations to choose ethical hackers with diverse skills and expertise. Our team helps carefully review their qualifications, experience, and certifications to ensure that they possess the necessary skills to identify and address potential vulnerabilities when selecting participants for a security testing project. This can include setting requirements for specific levels of expertise and certifications.

Closing thoughts

Overall, PTaaS is a critical component of a comprehensive security program, as it enables organizations to detect and address vulnerabilities and improve their overall security posture. In addition, PTaaS is scalable and can provide more comprehensive testing coverage.

We hope you found this article helpful. To learn more about our customized PTaaS and how we can help you improve your organization’s security, get in touch with us!

Written by Levente Molnar
CTO & Founder of HACKRATE Ltd. Levente lives in a world of zeros and ones. He is an active bug hunter, successfully reported bugs to US DoD, Adobe, Logitech, BMW, Sony, and other big enterprises. As an IT Security Engineer, he planned, implemented, and managed various IT security solutions. He worked on international projects in Kuwait and Oman as an ethical hacker.

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