By Naman Rastogi
As common as penetration testing is in the world of cybersecurity and compliance with data protection standards, there are many things one may forget when hiring a penetration testing service provider. Comprehensive website Penetration testing in India is usually undertaken to ensure that the system is protected along with its servers, data, and users. The procedure employs the help of authorized hackers to simulate a hacking attempt into the system in various capacities, modes, and on various platforms like web applications, individual sites, and networks.
There are usually specific objectives attached with such penetration testing procedures, such as assuming privileged access and understanding the security risks and vulnerabilities associated with the system, possibly allowing illegitimate activities like stealing of sensitive data.
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What determines an efficient penetration testing service?
The usual form of penetration testing involves a small number of researchers running tests and prodding through the network for a fixed fee. The selected third-party service provider assigns individuals with specific talents on different portions of the same task so that each tester is involved in their skilled area.
- The entire process is visible to all stakeholders
Whitehat security testing procedures, while useful and necessary, face criticism for being too complicated and technical for all involved individuals to understand the process. However, this is a myth and simply depends on your provider being open and communicative about the steps taken, both basic and unique to your organization.
Critical vulnerabilities should be identified quickly and conveyed to those involved in the testing process and information be modified and tuned for everyone’s understanding. This line of communication should involve proper transparency and visibility to all stakeholders.
- Advanced levels of manual testing
Asking for a testing methodology from your preferred third-party provider will also help guarantee their accountability and quality. Automated security testing tools, while efficient and comprehensive, still lack the ability of manual testing to reach the nooks and crannies as a gift of human thinking and adaptability.
If you’re already aware of the security standard your organization requires, like OWASP, PTES, WASC, etc, you can easily verify if the testing methodology of the provider aligns with this.
The indicators of the firm’s requirements and some specific keywords in their marketing strategies also help in identifying the style of testing such as ‘manual’, ‘deep-dive, ‘customized’, etc.
Ask for a simple report format to study what their findings include and their scope of scanning for issues and security risks. You will require some prior knowledge and awareness of the usual standards to understand if they offer basic or advanced services. There are testing firms that also offer a ratio of automated to manual testing, inclusive of other features as well, which provides a good image of the service provider you’re going for.
- Communication and reachability
An ideal service provider will initiate constant communication with the organization throughout the testing procedure for discussing issues, vulnerabilities that have been discovered during and after the testing process, and provide platforms for constant engagement and clearing concerns whenever required.
Ideally, there are systems that offer secure online project management which includes the various phases of the penetration testing procedure, the current phase of the project, and easy forms of direct communication with the different individuals in charge of different parts of the process.
The most important part of the communication strategy should be informed of vulnerabilities immediately on identification, the level of criticality, estimated impact on the business, and other information in real-time for future testing and the internal IT team of the company.
Such direct points of information will help your team in the future to recognize these vulnerabilities as they occur and take quick steps for resolving them, thus avoiding the potential impact on the business and its customers. If the testing provider allows you to remediate and retest in the initial testing period itself, you can use these details before receiving the final report to explore further.
- Assistance in remediation and retesting whenever needed
Before signing up for anything, always clarify with the provider on their services offered after the final report is delivered. Not a lot of penetration testing companies provide after-service, which is a necessary step because of the amount of work required for solving issues and dealing with their impact.
This is the actual part of the penetration testing process that requires real work, taking weeks and months based on how many issues are found and their associated complexities. At least one representative of the penetration testing provider involved in the process should be available with your IT team for assisting in this process and understanding the true impact of the findings.
In this manner, you can use this list to be a starting point in your hunt for an ideal penetration testing service provider. Often, the kind of security experts you hire can make a huge difference in the long run.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links.)