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ISO 27001 Penetration Testing-A Comprehensive Guide 

Updated on: October 24, 2023

ISO 27001 Penetration Testing-A Comprehensive Guide 

Non-compliance to data security regulations cost businesses $4,005,116 in revenue losses in 2020. The disruption in business caused by non-compliance to security regulations is devastating. Non-compliance also indicates unchecked vulnerabilities that will lead hackers right to your sensitive assets.

Compliance with industry-relevant security standards like PCI-DSS or general security standards like ISO 27001, and SOC2, helps ensure security and avoid vulnerabilities. We will talk about ISO 27001 penetration test and other compliance regulations to explore the relationship between compliance and pentesting.

What is ISO 27001 Penetration Testing?

ISO 27001 penetration test is the process of security testing by simulating a cyberattack to find areas of non-compliance with ISO 27001 regulatory compliance and associated vulnerabilities to exploit them and understand the impact. It is implemented on assets that require ISO 27001 compliance.

ISO 27001 Pentest services are used to evaluate the security of websites, web applications, or networks.

What is ISO 27001 Compliance and Why Is It Important?

ISO 27001 compliance helps organizations establish, maintain, and improve security measures for their information assets. As a whole, it gives you a framework to implement an enterprise-wide Information Security Management System (ISMS) which helps you maintain availability, integrity, the confidentiality of information, and legal compliance.

ISO 27001 is important for any company that wants to run a business around information security to avoid hefty fines and data breaches. ISO, as you may know, stands for International Organization for Standardization.

ISO, together with IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) published a standard for information security management in 2005 and they revised it in 2013. The European update of the ISO 27001 standard was published in 2017.

What are the security areas covered by ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 has 14 domains, which cover 6 security areas:

  1. Company Security Policy
  2. Asset Management
  3. Physical and Environmental Security
  4. Access Control
  5. Incident Management
  6. Regulatory Compliance

It is one small security loophole vs your entire web application

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What Are the ISO 27001 Penetration Test Requirements?

ISO 27001 regulations do not mention penetration testing directly. It might lead you to think that penetration testing is out of the question while trying to comply with ISO 27001. But you would be wrong.

Let us take a look at ISO control A.12.6.1 of Annex A of ISO 27001:2013 (also known as Technical Vulnerability Management). It states:

Information about technical vulnerabilities of information systems being used shall be obtained in a timely fashion, the organization’s exposure to such vulnerabilities evaluated, and appropriate measures taken to address the associated risk.”

Now, only a penetration test on top of a vulnerability assessment will give you a complete gap analysis in terms of security. You cannot rely on vulnerability scanning alone when it comes to evaluating the exposure of your organization to a certain vulnerability. And that is why ISO 27001 penetration testing is necessary.

Astra Pentest Risk Grading
Image: Risk-based vulnerability management in Astra Pentest

Scope Of ISO 27001 Penetration Test

The scope of a pentest refers to setting and deciding on the assets to be tested, tests and exploits allowed to be carried out, how far the exploits can go, and more. This process is highly comprehensive and covers every aspect of a potential pentest before its conducted on a system.

Scopes ISO 27001 penetration testing for network security, website, and more are designed this way to avoid any scope creep and legal liabilities later on.

ISO 27001 Pentest scope usually involves:

  1. Location details, data assets, employee information, and technologies.
  2. Taking a count of the internal and external issues of a cyber asset.
  3. Expectations and requirements of the organization in need of the ISO 27001 pentest.

The Benefits of ISO 27001 Penetration Testing

We have already discussed the necessity of ISO 27001 penetration testing. Let us now understand what is in it for you.

  1. By conducting a penetration test and fixing the vulnerabilities you nail one of the most difficult parts of the ISO 27001 compliance audit.
  2. An ISO 27001 certification would help you build trust. It has been seen to have a direct impact on revenue.
  3. You get rid of dangerous vulnerabilities in the way of preparing for the compliance audit, it is a win-win situation for you.

One small security loophole vs your entire web application. The risk is high!

Get your web app audited & strengthen your defenses!
See Pricing
Starting from $99/month

How can Astra Security Help You with Penetration Testing Compliance?

Astra Pentest helps you target the issues required for certain compliance, be it HIPAA, PCI-DSS, ISO 27001, or OWASP. They also help you gain end-to-end compliance with SOC2, PCI DSS, and HIPAA with the help of vetted auditors.

Astra’s Pentest has come up with a new pentest compliance feature that allows you real-time visibility of the compliance requirements you pass or fail according to the vulnerability scans from within a pentest dashboard. This feature makes compliance reporting way simpler for you.

ISO 27001 penetration testing with pentest compliance
Image: Pentest Compliance Reporting with Astra’s Pentest

That aside, Astra Pentest ensures that you get the best out of your ISO 27001 penetration testing with 3000+ tests, scan behind logged-in pages, thorough remediation guidance, and support from security experts.


While compliance with security standards is not legally mandated in most cases, it is something you would want to do for the reliability, resilience, and longevity of your organization. Not only does getting an ISO 27001 compliance gives you global recognition as a secure company, but it also ensures that you have treated every security loophole in your systems to achieve a healthier security posture.


1. Which are the best ISO 27001 auditors?

ISO 27001 auditors are external auditors who help you achieve ISO 27001 compliance through analysis of data collected, regular monitoring, and reviewing of ISMS. The best ISO 27001 auditors are:
1. Sprinto
2. Drata
3. Secureframe
4. Cyberops
5. QMS International

What is the average pricing of ISO 27001 penetration testing services?

An ISO 27001 penetration test for web apps costs $99 to $399 per month. The cost of pentesting for cloud or mobile applications varies depending on the scope of the pentest. Read to find more

What is the average duration of ISO 27001 penetration testing?

On average, an ISO 27001 penetration test takes 4-10 days to completely assess an asset for non-compliance and vulnerabilities. Once the pentest vulnerability report is released the critical vulnerabilities are resolved within 1-2 days maximum.

How Frequently Should You Do ISO 27001 Penetration Testing?

The frequency of ISO 27001 penetration testing for a company is 1-2 times in a year or at the least, once. It usually depends on the size of the company, the number of employees, and industry requirements.

Is ISO 27001 penetration testing enough to gain compliance?

No, penetration testing is a part of the larger process of gaining ISO 27001 compliance.

Does ISO 27001 Require Penetration Testing?

ISO 27001 does not actually mandate penetration tests but rather a recommended practice mentioned in the ISO27001 controls A.12.6.1 which mentions that vulnerabilities should be evaluated and prioritized for mitigation.

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Kanishk Tagade

Kanishk Tagade is a B2B SaaS marketer. He is also corporate contributor at many technology magazines. Editor-in-Chief at "", his work is published in more than 50+ news platforms. Also, he is a social micro-influencer for the latest cybersecurity, digital transformation, AI/ML and IoT products.
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