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Exploring the Importance of Using a Third-Party Penetration Testing Company

John Price
Chief Executive Officer
January 6, 2023
4 minutes

Penetration testing is proving to be an increasingly crucial tool in the current cybersecurity landscape. For organizations, receiving actionable input on exploitable vulnerabilities is very beneficial in thwarting cyber attacks. By simulating real-life cyber attacks, organizations can understand their weaknesses and patch them up before it is too late.

From networks to applications to social engineering tests, penetration testing enables organizations to specifically test for exploitable vulnerabilities at each juncture of their digital infrastructure. Whereas a vulnerability assessment is a broad assessment in the entire organizational chain, a penetration test gives a highly detailed actionable report about the exploitable vulnerabilities, the potential severity of the said vulnerabilities, and the insight to patch them up. It is a seemingly simple process. If done in a timely and effective manner, it can save organizations from potentially devastating cyberattacks.

Motivated by several reasons such as better cost efficiency and the shortage of skilled personnel, organizations are selecting to outsource many of their security functions to MSSPs. Penetration testing is no different. Outsourcing penetration testing functions to a third-party penetration testing company also brings with it many advantages.

Here are the four main advantages of using a third-party penetration testing company:

Cost-effective:

Using a third-party penetration testing company would be a more cost-effective option for many organizations. Hiring, training, and building an internal penetration testing team presents increased costs at many steps. These personnel, tools, and infrastructure costs will all add up to a considerable sum. For many organizations that do not require an in-house penetration testing team, outsourcing to a third-party penetration testing company presents a better alternative.

Employing a third-party penetration testing company means that the organization only bears the cost of the service. Increased cybersecurity spending is evident across industry lines. To ensure that all the bases are effectively covered, organizations constantly try to balance their spending across their program. Using third-party penetration testing companies will result in lower costs. These cost savings can then be directly utilized to strengthen other parts of your cybersecurity program. Thus, outsourcing penetration testing provides organizations to ensure a resilient cybersecurity program without cutting corners.

Skill and Experience:

Third-party penetration testing companies are better-equipped to handle penetration testing challenges than a regular firm. Often, organizations may not have the leadership oversight or cybersecurity expertise to conduct penetration testing effectively. Skill and experience will affect the quality of insights from the penetration tests.

A third-party penetration testing company will possess specialist penetration testers, procedures, and systems that make it better suited to the task. Specialist penetration testers will possess robust, cross-organizational experience. They will also be more skilled at testing for exploits compared to regular information security professionals. Moreover, specialist testers are exposed to a wide range of industry best practices, standards, and benchmarks which will enable them to better assess the target organization.

External perspective:

The tester has to adopt the view of an external hacker to conduct a penetration test effectively. This perspective will help best simulate an actual attack. A third-party penetration testing company can adopt this approach easily compared to an internal penetration tester. An internal tester could have been exposed or acclimated to the organization’s infrastructure and may not have a clear perspective. Or, in other cases, they might be limited by internal binds or restrictions. An external penetration tester faces no such limitations.

Flexibility.

Before conducting the actual penetration test, the third-party penetration testing company has no access knowledge about the client organization’s internal networks and systems. The client organization has complete flexibility in this regard. They can provide as much or as little information to ensure that the test suits their requirements. Be it a black box or a white box or a grey box test.

Also, depending on their changing organization needs, the scale and scope of penetration tests can be easily scaled up or reduced. Outsourcing penetration testing to a third party enables rapid scaling, whereas an internal team or tester will be limited by their current capability and may be unable to scale quickly.

Thus, utilizing a third-party penetration testing company can be an immensely beneficial option for organizations. It can help organizations meet their security goals at a lower cost and more ease without compromising security.

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