Penetration testing as a service (PTaaS) is a hybrid solution that combines automation with human assessments to test for vulnerabilities that could be missed by legacy scanning tools.
This plays a vital role in helping organisations mitigate cyber risk by shutting down vulnerabilities before they can be exploited maliciously. In this blog article, we outline what PTaaS is and how it can help you advance your cyber resilience.
What is penetration testing as a service (PTaaS)?
PTaaS is a form of penetration testing that brings together manual and human testing on a cloud delivery platform to enable IT professionals to complete point-in-time and continuous penetration tests. It allows businesses to develop robust vulnerability management programs so that they can accelerate the process of identifying and addressing vulnerabilities and better prioritise and remediate security threats.
Pentesting as a service is defined as a hybrid security solution because it integrates automation and human assessment, leveraging advanced vulnerability management and analytics. As with traditional penetration testing, the human side of PTaaS entails the skilled application of tools, techniques and procedures leveraged by threat actors in order to locate hidden vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing as a service enables organisations to perform penetration testing on a much more frequent basis, for example, after each code change in an application development cycle. PTaaS can help you identify a wide range of security weaknesses across different areas of your organisation’s infrastructure, including web and mobile apps, networks and APIs.
Some PTaaS providers offer real-time data visualisation options, as well as resources to help organisations better understand individual vulnerabilities and verify the effectiveness of their remediation approach.
The benefits of PTaaS
With the right approach and specialist support, penetration testing as a service can add value to your organisation’s security strategy in a number of ways:
Continuous security management: Unlike traditional point-in-time assessments, a significant advantage of PTaaS is that it is ongoing, allowing your organisation to complete new tests, retests or even feature-specific tests as you go along.
Constant access to security experts: With pentesting as a service, your security team can establish constant communication channels to ensure that key security issues are addressed in good time. This means that vulnerabilities are addressed more quickly, preventing them from becoming a security threat further down the line.
Reduced costs: Because PTaaS involves the automation of many different processes, it enables organisations to optimise their existing investments and prevent their security tools from becoming obsolete.
Better adherence to industry standards: Penetration testing as a service can help your business to meet industry security standards such as SANS and OWASP more easily and comprehensively.
Faster turnaround: While a standard penetration test can take weeks, automated PTaaS can be rolled out quickly and results actioned with a faster turnaround time.
Real-time testing and remediation: Because testing takes place on demand with PTaaS, you benefit from being able to see different types of vulnerabilities in near real-time.
More control: Through pentesting as a service, you can initiate a penetration test when you need it, more clearly define your assessment scope and choose where to escalate an engagement in real time, giving you greater control over your assessment programme.
Choosing between PTaaS and traditional penetration testing
The fast-evolving nature of the cyber threat landscape means that, for most organisations, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for achieving a more robust security posture. While pentesting as a service has clear benefits, it also has some limitations.
Because while PTaaS is fast and flexible, it is not appropriate for every company and security environment, for example, for testing complex industrial control systems. Another potential pitfall of pentesting as a service is that it can’t be customised for every user or business. While an out-of-the-box service might cover common vulnerabilities, adapting it to an organisation’s unique risk profile takes time. If you have a broad-ranging or complex security environment, you may achieve better results with a bespoke pen test. For these reasons, assessing your options and seeking advice from a trusted security partner is a key first step to selecting the most suitable type of pentesting solution for your organisation.
It’s important to carefully consider the value of security that your choice of pentesting solution will deliver, alongside your likely return on investment. Regular penetration testing completed over the year may deliver better value than relying on PTaaS, thanks to the human element of pentesting which ensures that expert hackers uncover hidden vulnerabilities effectively and comprehensively.
How Kroll can help
Kroll’s team of CREST STAR, CRT, CCT INF and CCT APP accredited pen testers have the expertise to meet your unique penetration testing requirements and will work with you to build a programme that best suits the needs of your business. Our experts help organisations in a range of industries to uncover and address complex vulnerabilities across their internal and external infrastructure, wireless networks, web apps, mobile apps, network builds and configurations, and more.
As a CREST-certified company, Kroll performs testing to the highest technical, legal and ethical standards. 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 cybersecurity posture.
To learn more about how to achieve the best results from penetration testing and how our services can support your security needs, feel free to schedule a quick, obligation-free call with our experts.