Large organizations with dedicated security teams typically have pen testing groups that methodically address their infrastructure components and applications. Smaller companies don’t always have that luxury. A lack of testing can put their environment at risk from sophisticated cyberthreats.
Penetration testing as a service (PTaaS) enables organizations of any size to reap the benefits of targeted vulnerability assessments. While it is similar to traditional pen testing, PTaaS exhibits some differences that may make it even more valuable for improving cybersecurity.
What is Pen Testing as a Service?
PTaaS is a cloud service in which IT professionals are provided with the resources necessary to perform continuous penetration tests and act upon their results to reduce security vulnerabilities. The objective of PTaaS is for companies to develop vulnerability management programs to identify, prioritize, and remediate cyberthreats before they can impact their environment.
PTaaS provides organizations with a flexible and agile method of performing on-demand pen testing. A PTaaS offering enables customers to leverage the skill of the provider’s pen testers to discover security vulnerabilities that pose risks to the infrastructure and data resources.
Customers typically can follow the progress of tests and view their results through a centralized dashboard. For comparison, data can be displayed before, during, and after a test. Vendors usually supply resources to assist in identifying vulnerabilities and determining effective remediations. This includes a knowledge base to assist in-house testers in remediating identified vulnerabilities and may also provide assistance from the individuals who performed the tests.
Benefits of Pen Testing as a Service
Multiple benefits are possible when using a PTaaS solution.
- Accelerated testing results and remediation - Traditional pen testing methods provided vulnerability assessments at the conclusion of the testing period. A PTaaS solution provides real-time access to testing data so vulnerabilities can be addressed promptly. Data related to a vulnerability can be monitored over time to evaluate remediation results.
- Flexible purchasing options - Vendors offer manual, automated, and hybrid PTaaS solutions that can be purchased through subscriptions or as on-demand services.
- Comprehensive reporting - The reporting capabilities of PTaaS solutions consolidate findings from multiple sources and can be tailored to meet organizational needs such as demonstrating compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS.
Challenges of Employing a PTaaS Solution
Companies looking to use a PTaaS solution need to be aware of a few of its limitations and challenges.
- It may not be suitable for complex environments that require extensive expertise regarding specific domain technology.
- The solution may offer limited customization options that do not align with the testing requirements of specific systems.
- The ability to run additional testing cycles can identify new vulnerabilities before the previously found issues have been successfully addressed, putting more strain on security teams.
Multiple vendors such as NetSPI and BreachLock offer PTaaS solutions that may be right for your business. Companies should take a close look at what PTaaS has to offer. PTaaS is another tool to be deployed in the never-ending attempt to maintain a secure IT environment.