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Pentesting Testing as a Service (PTaaS): A Complete Guide

Updated on: August 6, 2022

Pentesting Testing as a Service (PTaaS): A Complete Guide

Article Summary

The distinction between traditional penetration testing and penetration testing as a service (PTaaS) often goes unacknowledged. This article sheds light on various aspects of penetration testing service and the advantages it brings for the businesses.

What is Pentesting as a Service?

Penetration Testing as a Service or PTaaS is an agile security methodology where your system is tested and scanned constantly by automated vulnerability scanners as well as manual pentesters so that you do not miss any vulnerability that might surface with a new update and stay informed and protected from newly discovered vulnerabilities.

Deploying penetration testing as a service ensures real-time testing, early feedback on the smallest of changes, and easy access to security professionals. So, let us say, you are all set to launch a bunch of new features, the code is ready, the developers are excited to watch their work go live, and you know how much your customers will enjoy the updates. At this point, you get notified about a security loophole incurred by one of the code changes along with some guidelines to fix it. 

Your developers get the chance to fix the vulnerability before the updates go live without offering malicious actors the chance to exploit those vulnerabilities and steal sensitive data or cause some harm.                  

What is Penetration testing?

Penetration Testing is the process of simulating a hack under certain rules of engagement in order to discover, exploit, assess, and fix vulnerabilities and security loopholes that exist in a website, application, device, or network.

This is how it works

Penetration Testing is a planned event. Security engineers try to discover and exploit vulnerabilities in your system while ensuring zero harm or downtime. It involves a few steps.

  1. The security engineers plan the pentest with you to determine the scope of the pentest
  2. Gather information about your system just the way a hacker would do.
  3. Run scans to discover probable vulnerabilities.
  4. Exploit certain vulnerabilities to assess the threat posed by them.
  5. Prepare a Pentest report that documents the vulnerabilities, their risk scores.
  6. Help your developers fix the vulnerabilities.

Penetration Testing is a great addition to your cyber security strategy. It gives you a fair idea of the current security posture, helps you secure the loose ends, and achieve compliance with security regulations. The problem with this approach is that the Pentest report becomes obsolete, the moment you add a feature, launch an update. While you rest assured with a perfect VAPT report, hackers find a window into your system.

Read also: Complete Guide on Website Penetration Testing | Penetration Testing Quote

The Primary Differences Between Standard Pentesting and Penetration Testing as a Service

Standard Penetration TestingPenetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS)
Point in time assessment. Becomes obsolete quickly in a DevOps environment.It is a constant service designed to cope with the pace of a DevOps environment.
It is infrequent, hence, often leaves room for attackers to exploit new vulnerabilities.Offers immediate information of new vulnerabilities, helps you take early measures.  
Offers you access to security engineers during the Pentest and the rescans.Offers you access to security engineers at all times.
Functions like an additional measure of security.Integrates perfectly into the software development lifecycle.
Does not work too well with a constantly moving security posture.Specifically designed to monitor and a constantly moving security posture.
Standard Pentesting vs Penetration Testing as a Service

Make your Website / Web Application the safest place on the Internet.

With our detailed and specially curated SaaS security checklist.

The three-step process deployed by the Penetration Testing Service Platform

A PTaaS platform usually deploys a three-step procedure to ensure security for your systems.

1. A baseline assessment

The pentesters provide a detailed report of your current security posture – how the security measures in place would fare in case of an attack. This also comes with recommendations for enhanced security measures.

2. Regular assessments

The Penetration Testing Service provider runs quarterly or half yearly tests to identify any new vulnerabilities that might have surfaced. This helps you keep track of your organization’s security.

3. Continuous retesting

This is where Penetration Testing as a Service goes an extra mile. It runs tests every time a new feature is updated or every time there is a code change, so that any new vulnerability is immediately addressed to.

What Should You Expect from a Penetration Testing as a Service Platform?

The PTaaS model of security testing essentially adds a layer to the standard one time penetration testing service. It does have some limitations in terms of personalizing the solutions or working in very complex environments. However the benefits definitely outweigh the limitations. Here is what you should expect from PTaaS.

  • Continuous monitoring of your network
  • On demand access to Penetesters and Security Engineers
  • Fast results from human led Pentests
  • Accurate vulnerability assessment
  • Integration with the SDLC
  • Real-time alerts to report vulnerabilities
  • Minimal gap between discovery and remediation of vulnerabilities
  • Automatic rescans to verify the remediation.

The Benefits of Availing Penetration Testing Service for Your Business

The PTaaS model aligns perfectly with the present software development culture. The speed and agility afforded by DevOps adoption has to be complemented by an agile security methodology like Penetration Testing as a Service. Here are some of the most important benefits of this model.

Hacker-Like Testing in Real Time

Penetration Testing involves exploitation of vulnerabilities by emulating the hackers. It allows you to find out how your security posture appears to a hacker and how the current security measures fare when faced with a real life cyberattack. With PTaaS, the tests happen on demand and you can visualize the vulnerabilities in near real-time.

Early Feedback on Code Changes

As we have been saying, Penetration Testing Service fits perfectly into the software development lifecycle. That means, your developers get a vulnerability alert before any new code goes live. This gives you the opportunity to stay one step ahead of malicious actors.

Real-time Remediation Support

A good PTaaS platform provides you with detailed remediation support – videos and screenshots to assist developers in finding and fixing the vulnerability. This saves a lot of time as the developers do not have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what went wrong and why. 

Access to Security Engineers

Availing Penetration Testing as a Service allows your developers to get in touch with security engineers for fixing security loopholes. Security requires some special skills along with the ability to do something allegedly boring on scale. Enlisting the help of security experts makes sure that vulnerabilities do not stay unfixed, consume too much of your developers’ time, or live in the funnel forever.

Also Read: 11 Best Penetration Testing Tools & Platforms of 2022

Penetration Testing Service by Astra Security

Astra is driven by one goal – providing cyber security in its simplest form to customers. It applies equally to Astra’s Web Application Firewall and Astra Pentest

Let us see why availing Penetration Testing as a Service from Astra makes a lot of sense.

  • Astra Pentest requires minimum involvement from your end. The automated scanners can scan behind login pages without requiring you to authenticate it every time.
  • You get a dedicated dashboard which you can use to monitor the vulnerabilities, look at the recommendations, and raise an issue whenever there is a roadblock.
  • Astra has an impeccable record of responsiveness.
  • The remediation support provided by Astra contains video POCs to help your developers reproduce and fix vulnerabilities.
  • Astra’s security research team stays ahead of the curve in terms of finding new vulnerabilities. 

Conclusion

Embracing an agile development model comes with the risk of compromising security. Not integrating your security measures into the SDLC may lead to vulnerabilities remaining uncovered and eventually a hack. Penetration Testing as a Service is the way to go when it comes to adopting an agile security model. It is more affordable, more suitable for an agile environment, and faster than the standard penetration test. It affords you just the kind of relief you want from endless security threats. 

It is one small security loophole v/s your entire website or web application

Get your web app audited with Astra’s Continuous Pentest Solution

FAQs

1. What is the cost of Penetration Testing?

The cost of Penetration Testing depends upon the scope of the test, and the number of scans. It ranges between $400 and $1000 per scan for websites and between $700 and $4999 for applications.

2. What is the timeline for Pentesting?

It takes 4-10 days to complete a Pentest and half as many days to perform the rescans after the vulnerabilities are fixed.

3. Do we get free rescans?

Yes, you receive 1-3 free rescans after the vulnerabilities are fixed depending on the plan. These rescans are to be availed within 30 days of the initial scan completion.

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Saumick Basu

Saumick is a Technical Writer at Astra Security. He loves to write about technology and has deep interest in its evolution. Having written about spearheading disruptive technology like AI, and Machine Learning, and code reviews for a while, Information Security is his newfound love. He's ready to bring you along as he dives deeper.
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