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Agile pen testing overview

Merging product, development and security

Agile methodologies have revolutionised the process of software development. Integrated into your software development lifecycle (SDLC), Kroll’s agile penetration testing services are designed to help teams address security risks in real time.

Instead of conducting a security assessment with a pen test towards the end of the product release cycle, Kroll’s developer-centric security consultants engage with your product engineering and project management teams to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities throughout the entire cycle. This agile approach helps to ensure that every product release, whether it is a minor bug fix or a major feature, has been vetted from a security perspective.


What is agile penetration testing?

Agile penetration testing is a continuous security assessment approach that allows companies to speed up the delivery of secure software to their customers.

Unlike traditional pen testing which has the potential to slow down product teams, when properly integrated within the SDLC, agile penetration testing can keep pace with your release schedule.

This saves your organisation the time and expense of remediating issues that could have been identified much earlier in the process. Agile pen testing is a programmatic way to unearth and remediate potential risks in an application within the existing timelines and schedules of product releases.


Agile penetration testing service benefits

Our agile pen testing service integrates into your product team’s software development lifecycle to reduce the timespan between code changes and security assessments, ensuring that your code is not released to production with unknown risks. The program is based on strong fundamentals in program planning and onboarding with teams to minimise disruption to your engineering processes.

The benefits of agile penetration testing include:

Reduction in vulnerabilities

Over time, the backlog of software vulnerabilities decreases and security posture improves.

Improved communication

Development and security teams seamlessly communicate to adapt testing to new features and priorities.

Better secure development practices

Ongoing feedback and collaboration enables developers to implement better secure development practices in new code.

Closer insurance relationships

Kroll has extensive relationships with 50+ cyber insurance brokers and carriers worldwide and exclusive benefits to insured companies.


Agile penetration testing service features

Enhancing development sprint plans to include the appropriate level of security assessment required.
Strategising “abuse cases” for every release through a rapid threat modelling exercise ahead of development.
Validating countermeasures to the abuse cases, along with exploratory threat scenarios through an agile pen testing exercise post-development.
Logging of any potential vulnerabilities directly on development platforms, such as JIRA, Azure DevOps, etc., for remediation.
Validating the applied fix (remediation) by conducting an optional retesting exercise.
Analysing vulnerability patterns, scoring, time to fix and other critical statistics and communicating program improvement.

Agile assessment lifecycle

Our agile penetration testing methodology

01. Release and sprint planning
02. Tracking and scoping
03. Sprint review
04. Agile cycle
05. Sprint retro

Release and sprint planning

The Kroll team joins release planning meetings to get contextual knowledge of applications and understand what is being developed for the upcoming testing cycle.


Track and scope

The Kroll agile pentesting team defines the scope and coverage, provides estimates and assigns resources based on requirements.


Sprint review

The broader team meets to confirm what has been developed and remediated in that sprint.


Agile cycle

Active penetration testing takes place, following the agreed framework.


Sprint retro

Identified vulnerabilities are logged and tracked and feedback and analysis is provided for future planning. The cycle then restarts with release and sprint planning.


Agile penetration testing FAQs

What is agile penetration testing?

Agile penetration testing is a series of regular assessments which allows companies to accelerate the development of secure software. It provides a structured way to find and address potential risks in an application in alignment with the existing timelines and schedules of product releases, ensuring that newly added or updated features are tested in real time, as they are added or updated. Agile pen testing is flexible and usually has a smaller scope than traditional pen testing. This is because it is focused on a specific part of an asset or a particular vulnerability across an asset.

What is the different between agile pen testing and traditional pen testing?

Agile penetration testing starts at a similar point to traditional application testing which is a comprehensive assessment of the application. However, unlike a traditional test, that assessment forms a baseline rather than stopping there until the next top-to-bottom test. As each new feature is developed, the new features and altered code are penetration tested as part of the process and can be remediated before each new version goes live. With vulnerabilities identified and remediated as part of each sprint, your software is delivered more quickly to customers while its security is more assured.

How does agile penetration testing typically work?

The specific time frames and schedule for agile penetration testing will be defined by the way in which your business structures its software development, as well as your development methodology risk profile and security priorities. An agile pen testing service starts with a traditional penetration test of the entire product, to build a strong security baseline. Once the baseline is established, timelines are set for when to test during each sprint with the tests tailored to the security needs for each update.

How can agile penetration testing benefit my organisation?

Agile penetration testing services align with the software development lifecycle, leading to a better overall product development process. With more frequent testing and remediation, developers become more aware of secure development practices and are better prepared to incorporate them into their work. Agile pen testing also helps organisations to more frequently and effectively address issues such as data that might be exposed by the new functions or guidelines or regulations that are now relevant due to the changes. It also boosts client trust by providing proof that every version of your software has been thoroughly assessed.

How can agile pen testing help improve my development ROI?

Agile penetration testing helps organisations to better manage budgets and reduce the costs of development. This is because, by identifying and remediating critical issues with software in real time, the potential costs of a bug being released to clients is removed. Longer-term, agile pen testing helps to enhance public perception of your products by significantly reducing the potential for security breaches and the need for urgent critical updates.

How do I start the agile pen testing process?

Working with an experienced and trusted agile pen testing partner can help get you started on the process more quickly and more cost-effectively than recruiting your own team. When choosing a partner, make sure to ask the right questions about how they deliver agile penetration testing. Ask the prospective provider about aspects such as the size of their team and the areas of product security their team is skilled in, project management and communication protocols, resource turnaround time, and how they define their security prioritisation during sprints.

Why Kroll

Why choose Kroll?

  • >100,000 hours of assessments per year
  • >100 security, cloud & testing certifications
  • Extensive international law enforcement experience
  • Multi award-winning pen testing services
  • A wealth of proprietary and open-source threat intel
  • >3,000 cyber investigations handled every year
Teiss Awards 2020 Winner

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