While many organisations recognise the importance of penetration testing, security managers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of much more regular assessments.
In this blog post, we outline what continuous penetration testing is, how it works and how it can help improve your cyber security.
What is continuous penetration testing?
A penetration test is an ethical cyber security assessment that enables organisations to enhance their security. Pen tests cover many different types of assessments. Technical environments are continually evolving, with new vulnerabilities constantly emerging and attackers varying their approaches to exploit them. While periodic pen tests provide a snapshot of an organisation’s application or network, continuous pen testing can add to their impact by giving regular insight into potential vulnerabilities.
Alongside annual pen testing, it allows companies to effectively identify, exploit and eliminate weaknesses in their on-premises and remote IT environments.
How does continuous pen testing work?
As the name suggests, continuous penetration testing is a series of regular assessments undertaken in response to changes in a network or in the threat landscape. They are completed through a combination of automated processes and manual interventions.
A baseline is first gained through a full penetration test. Continuous pen testing is then executed in a cycle that should include identifying assets, defining scope and expectations, the testing process itself, remediation, retesting and validation, and tracking new vulnerabilities. This cycle is then repeated. Apart from monitoring for change, the system monitors existing results for vulnerabilities that then require testing.
The benefits of continuous penetration testing
Enhance visibility of your day-to-day security status
Constantly assessing for vulnerabilities ensures that you have a better perspective on your security status at any one time.
Stay ahead of attacker TTPs
With the volume and sophistication of tools constantly changing, continuous penetration testing allows you to keep up with emerging vulnerabilities and reduce exposure times.
Meet regulatory compliance more effectively
Organisations are under pressure to comply with a huge range of compliance standards and regulations relating to information security. In many cases, penetration testing is required – either specified directly within the standard or implied by a need to build audit or assessment processes to mitigate cyber risk. Continuous pen testing can help companies achieve this by providing more up-to-date and specific evidence at a specific point in time.
By allowing organisations to identify and address security issues on an ongoing basis, continuous penetration testing makes managing security costs and related budgeting easier. Cutting down on the time spent on unplanned work also ensures that your IT operations run more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Combining the advantages
While continuous pen testing offers a host of benefits, it should not replace an organisation’s existing annual or quarterly pen testing schedule. The best results are gained through a combination of both approaches, with the two types of tests complementing each other. Continuous penetration testing helps to reduce the volume and severity of issues identified by annual pen tests, giving you a more complete picture of your security posture.
How Kroll can help
To enhance your organisation’s security, it is important to not only continually identify vulnerabilities but also take action to address them. Our penetration testing service supplies clear remediation advice to help better protect your systems. Our team of CREST STAR, CRT, CCT INF and CCT APP accredited pen testers can be trusted to provide comprehensive testing programmes to meet your business needs.
All our award-winning pen test services include complete post-test care, actionable outputs, prioritised remediation guidance and strategic security advice to help you make long-term improvements to your cyber security posture.