A penetration testing report documents the vulnerabilities found in a network, website, or application during a Pentest. But there is a lot more to it. The article tells you what an ideal Pentest Report looks like.
A penetration test report provides an in-depth analysis of the vulnerabilities found in the test. It shows the level of threat and the steps to fix the vulnerabilities. A pentest report is the main document that guides the remediation efforts of an organization.
It’s imperative that a penetration testing report is actionable, especially in today’s cyber threat landscape.
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) helps organizations outsmart today’s hackers and hacking groups. The purpose of VAPT is to warn business owners about the potential security loopholes and vulnerabilities present in their networks and internet-facing assets like applications, APIs, databases, and devices.
If these security flaws are exploited by hackers then it can cause a huge loss to a running online business. A compromised business application might end up losing reputation, revenue, and even customers.
The most critical feature of an ideal VAPT service provider is its efficiency in providing a comprehensive and effective penetration testing report.
Without an effective penetration test report, the whole process of penetration testing goes in vain as it will be impossible for an organization to work on the discovered vulnerabilities. Therefore, a penetration testing report becomes very important in gauging the current security level of your application & network and deciding on the subsequent steps.
But what does an ideal VAPT or Pentesting report consist of? We have compiled a few factors that make a penetration testing report effective and powerful. We have also added a sample VAPT report to help you form a wholesome idea.
What is a Penetration Testing Report or VAPT Report?
A Penetration Testing report is a document that contains a detailed analysis of the vulnerabilities uncovered during the security test. It records the vulnerabilities, the threat they pose, and possible remedial steps.
The Pentest Report gives you a complete overview of vulnerabilities with a POC (Proof of Concept) and remediation to fix those vulnerabilities on priority. A good penetration test report also gives a score against each found issue and how much it can impact your application/website.
Download Sample Penetration Testing Report (Pentesting Report in PDF Format)
We have designed a sample pentest report to give you an idea of how vulnerabilities are reported along with their impact score. As mentioned earlier, the sample report comes with a detailed PoC (Proof of Concept) which our security experts create using screenshots, videos, and code, to make it easier for your developers to reproduce vulnerabilities.
Importance of Penetration Testing Report for Business
As we discussed earlier, a cyber attack can not only pose a serious security issue but also has a severe impact on your business and its reputation.
The worst part is, that the possibility of attracting malicious threat actors on the internet does not depend upon the size of your organization. While the smaller organizations are perceived to be easier to hack, the gold mines of data possessed by large enterprises make them attractive prey. So, irrespective of the nature of an organization, VAPT is the must-have security measure that every organization should adopt.
But, what is the business implication of a Penetration Test Report apart from the security aspects? There are plenty. But, we will discuss our top three:
1. Adherence to Security Benchmarks
Depending upon the country of your operation, there are a number of security benchmarks that your organization needs to adhere to. For instance, businesses operating in the European Union countries must abide by the GDPR or General Data Protection Regulations.
Similarly, businesses that collect and/or process payment card data must comply with the PCI-DSS regulations. A penetration testing report plays a significant part in making your compliance ready.
2. Building trust
The pentest report has an indirect yet vital relationship with trust. An actionable pentest report prompts you to action and helps you prioritize fixes and secure your website. Once you have done that, a rescan confirms that you are truly secure, and a certificate is assigned.
It shows your clients that you are proactive about securing your assets and their data. Hence, it helps you boost trust and build a reputation.
3. Comprehensive Evaluation
VAPT Report can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation profile of your network, applications, or website. For the higher management, a penetration test report acts as a single piece of document that they need to act upon and tackle the business risks.
How to Create a Powerful Penetration Testing Report?
A pentest report should be thorough yet easy to interpret. It should contain simple and effective summaries, details of test cases, and risk analysis data. It should prompt an organization to action while also helping with accurate resource allocation.
1. Detailed outline of uncovered vulnerabilities
The first and most important component of an ideal pentesting report is an outline of all the vulnerabilities uncovered in VAPT and documentation on the basis of findings. Regardless of where the vulnerability lies in the application, a proper birds-eye view of the vulnerabilities gives your security and executive team a clear idea of the situation and the path ahead.
A too-technical or detailed approach will leave you and your team perplexed. In a good penetration testing report, you should also expect to see an explanation of where these vulnerabilities lie and how an attacker can manipulate them, preferably in laymen’s language.
2. Executive summary & CVSS score
Not all stakeholders are security professionals. Keeping this in mind you must provide an executive summary of the pentesting report for the decision-makers. The executive summary does not cover technical details or terminology but the overview of the major findings is explained in layman’s terms. The executive summary should be short, crisp, and well-formatted.
3. Assessment of the business impact
The next important component you should expect in a VAPT report is a detailed outline of the impact of the uncovered vulnerabilities on your business. By default, the numerical scoring assigned is mapped around Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS).
However, these scores often fail to take into account the severity of the vulnerabilities. Therefore, a pentester should employ more sophisticated ways to assign the scores. For example, a scoring system that assigns both comparable scores (low/medium/high/critical) and an explanation regarding the extent of severity each vulnerability possesses for the business, will bring the desired precision.
4. Insight into exploitation difficulty
It is also important to mention the time period for which the pentester was exploiting the website unnoticed. The report should document how difficult it was to exploit the security loopholes. If it was easy for the pentester, it can be far easier for a hacker. It will also help you understand what you were doing wrong before, and rectify them.
5. Technical risks briefing
The vulnerability risk rating (or CVSS score) is a straightforward way to indicate the severity of a vulnerability. It provides a quick understanding of the vulnerabilities at just a glance.
However, when it comes to eradicating those vulnerabilities, just a rating or score won’t be substantial. Thus, when drafting a penetration testing report you must provide an explanation of the highlighted vulnerabilities and technical risks. This briefing when coupled with contextualization adds even more weight to the report.
Without remedial advice, a pentest report is just a document containing a list of vulnerabilities. Without proper remediation or suggestions for mitigation, your website or network will continue to stay unsafe. Some VAPT service providers do not include the remediation steps in their reports, stay away from them!
Instead, look for a VAPT service provider that provides proper remediation steps along with the list of vulnerabilities in the pentesting report. Remediation advice varies for different vulnerabilities.
For example, for some vulnerabilities, only installing a security patch will be enough whereas for others intervention of a development team might be required to rectify code vulnerabilities. In either situation, remediation steps provided by the VAPT service company come in handy.
Related blog – 10 Best Penetration testing Companies of 2022
7. Strategic Recommendations
Strategic recommendations are often overlooked by most VAPT service providers. But they are crucial and can define your organization’s outlook on security and shape your security strategies.
Security is not just a destination, but a journey. In the absence of a defined security strategy, one-time security fixes can only do so much to protect your organization. Strategic recommendations from security experts will prove to be invaluable for your business, hence, look for a service provider that will give strategic recommendations to improve the working and security of your business.
Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) Report by Astra
Since one security loophole can bring your entire business to its knees, you should strive to get your application and network assessed for vulnerabilities. Astra security experts can help your business uncover every existing security issue and make your app & network flawless.
Key Highlights in Astra’s Penetration Testing Report
Astra’s Penetration Testing Report has the following key features:
- Industry Standard Security Testing: Astra’s security engineers carry out industry-standard security testing with over 3000+ tests that follow OWASP, SANS, ISO, and CREST guidelines and compliance requirements to test complex applications and networks thoroughly.
- Detailed Vulnerability Analysis: Astra’s Security Scan dashboard and pentest report display a detailed analysis of vulnerabilities including the impact, severity, CVSS score, affected parameters, and steps to reproduce each vulnerability with video Proof of Concepts (PoCs). Thanks to a new set of features, you can integrate your pentest project with GitLab & GitHub, and automatically start a vulnerability scan with every feature update.
- Steps to Fix Vulnerabilities: For every identified flaw, the pentesting report consists of security measures to prevent such flaws in the future and it also displays remediation steps to fix each vulnerability. Astra’s pentest dashboard allows you to view and connect with the person handling a certain vulnerability.
- Graphical Representation of the Complete Pentest Scan: The penetration testing report provided by Astra is crafted carefully keeping each customer in mind. The report guarantees that your dev and security groups can rapidly and safely associate with pentest discoveries and resolve them easily.
- Easy to access: The pentest report can be downloaded easily from Astra’s main VAPT dashboard. You can either download the report in the format of PDF or Email.
Related blog – Introducing our new Security Scan Platform
The features mentioned in the report can be categorized by the type of issue identified, and the type of testing methodology carried out as shown in the sample from Astra’s penetration testing dashboard.
The COVID-19 era has drastically changed how businesses operate online. During this time, we have seen more mature and advanced hackers targeting a large number of businesses worldwide. To ensure the safety of your business against potential threats, it is crucial that you perform VAPT periodically.
At Astra Security, we have helped hundreds of businesses identify and fix their vulnerabilities with our VAPT service. If you want our security experts to look into your web app, mobile app, or network and detect all underlying vulnerabilities for you, check out Astra’s VAPT services today.
1. What is a Pentesting Report?
A Pentesting report is a document that records the list of vulnerabilities found during a penetration test. An ideal Pentest report includes risk scores for each vulnerability and suggestions for remediation. Find more about Pentest reports.
2. How much does penetration testing cost?
The cost for penetration testing ranges between $349 and $1499 per scan for websites. For SAAS or web applications it ranges between $700 and $4999 per scan, depending on your requirements.
3. Why choose Astra for Penetration testing?
Astra simplifies Penetration testing for businesses. Apart from the 1250+ tests, the dynamic dashboard helps you visualize the vulnerabilities along with their risk scores. With video POCs, detailed suggestions for remediation, and on call assistance from our security engineers, the job becomes way easier for your developers.
4. Do I also get rescans after a vulnerability is fixed?
Yes, you get 1-3 rescans based on the type of Pentesting and the plan you opt for. You can avail these rescans within 30 days from the initial scan completion even after the vulnerabilities are fixed.
This post is part of a series on penetration testing, you can also check out other articles below.
Chapter 1. What is Penetration Testing
Chapter 2. Different Types of Penetration Testing?
Chapter 3. Top 5 Penetration Testing Methodology to Follow in 2022
Chapter 4. Ten Best Penetration Testing Companies and Providers
Chapter 5. Best Penetration Testing Tools Pros Use – Top List
Chapter 6. A Super Easy Guide on Penetration Testing Compliance
Chapter 7. Average Penetration Testing Cost in 2022
Chapter 8. Penetration Testing Services – Top Rated
Chapter 9. Penetration Testing Report