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Considerations for outsourcing your penetration testing

19th January 2024

6 min read

Penetration testing has become a cornerstone of robust cybersecurity strategy.

It’s a critical process where experts simulate cyber attacks on your systems, networks, or applications to identify vulnerabilities before real attackers can exploit them. This proactive approach fortifies your defences and ensures compliance with various industry standards.

Outsourced pentesting offers a practical solution for businesses that may not have the in-house expertise or resources to conduct thorough penetration tests. Turning to specialised external providers gives you access to top-tier expertise and advanced tools tailored to navigate the complex web of cyber threats.

It’s a strategic decision that places the intricate and demanding task of penetration testing into the hands of seasoned professionals, allowing you to focus on your core business operations.

The decision to outsource, however, comes with its own set of considerations. It’s essential to weigh the benefits against potential challenges, like ensuring the quality of service, managing sensitive information and aligning the outsourced activities with your business objectives.

Understanding these factors will enable you to make informed decisions aligning with your business’s needs and security goals.

Benefits of outsourcing penetration testing

Outsourcing penetration testing to a specialised cybersecurity provider, like Sentrium, offers several key advantages for your business. One of the most significant benefits is gaining access to specialist expertise. Cybersecurity is an incredibly complex field, constantly evolving with new threats and technologies. Outsourced providers have teams dedicated to staying at the forefront of this landscape, bringing a level of knowledge and experience that can be challenging to maintain in-house.

Furthermore, they come equipped with advanced tools and technologies. Often sophisticated and costly, these tools are essential for thorough and effective penetration testing. By outsourcing, you can leverage these advanced tools without the need to invest in them directly, which can be a significant saving, especially for smaller businesses or those with limited IT budgets.

Cost-effectiveness is another compelling reason to consider outsourcing. Building and maintaining an in-house team with equivalent expertise and tools can be prohibitively expensive. Outsourcing transforms these fixed costs into variable costs, allowing for a more efficient allocation of resources. It also frees up your internal teams to focus on other critical aspects of your business.

Finally, outsourcing helps your business stay abreast of the latest security trends and best practices. External penetration testing firms are often better positioned to adapt quickly to new threats, ensuring that your defences are always up to date. This aspect is crucial in an environment where cyber threats are constantly evolving.

The importance of using a CREST-approved penetration testing provider

When it comes to outsourcing penetration testing, the choice of provider is crucial. Opting for a CREST-approved provider, such as Sentrium, offers significant advantages. CREST (the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers) is a globally recognised accreditation and certification body in the cybersecurity industry. It sets high standards for its members’ technical competence and ethical conduct.

CREST accreditation is a mark of quality assurance in the industry. Providers with this accreditation have undergone rigorous assessments to demonstrate their capabilities and adherence to best practices. So, when you choose a CREST-approved pentesting provider, you’re assured of their technical proficiency and professional standards.

Using a CREST-approved provider brings several benefits. Firstly, it ensures a high level of security and reliability in the services provided. You can trust that the methodologies used are industry-approved and that the testing is thorough and effective. This reassurance is invaluable, especially when dealing with sensitive data and critical systems.

Moreover, CREST standards are designed to enhance the quality and effectiveness of penetration testing services. They require providers to stay updated with the latest developments in cybersecurity, ensuring they’re equipped to identify and address emerging threats.

Choosing a CREST-approved provider aligns your business with a partner committed to the highest security testing standards, giving you peace of mind and a more robust security posture.

Challenges and considerations in outsourcing your pentesting

Outsourcing penetration testing comes with a unique set of challenges and considerations. Ensuring the quality and reliability of external services is paramount. You must vet potential providers thoroughly, checking their track record, client feedback and certifications. They must align with your security standards and business values.

Effective communication and data flow management between your business and the service provider is critical. Clear communication channels and protocols must be established to ensure a timely and accurate exchange of information. This includes defining points of contact, setting regular update schedules and establishing secure methods for data exchange.

Legal and compliance considerations are also vital. You must ensure that the outsourced service provider adheres to all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, especially those concerning data protection and privacy.

Understanding the legal implications, particularly when dealing with sensitive or personal data, is essential to safeguard your business against legal risks.

Integrating in-house and outsourced testing efforts

Integrating in-house and outsourced penetration testing efforts effectively can maximise the benefits of both approaches. Start by setting clear goals and expectations for the outsourced services. Define the testing scope, objectives and deliverables to ensure alignment with your internal security strategies.

Regularly evaluating the performance of outsourced services is crucial. Establish metrics and benchmarks to assess their effectiveness and ensure they meet the agreed deliverables. This evaluation will help in making informed decisions about future testing strategies and maintaining a robust cybersecurity stance.

The future landscape of outsourced penetration testing

Technological advances and emerging trends will shape the future of outsourced penetration testing. As cyber threats evolve, the tools and techniques used in penetration testing must also advance. Expect to see increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to identify and predict vulnerabilities more effectively. AI and ML will revolutionise outsourced penetration testing by enhancing the ability to predict and identify vulnerabilities with greater precision.

There’s also a growing trend towards more automated testing to handle the vast data and complex scenarios in modern IT environments. Automation in testing will streamline processes, handling complex data efficiently.

In addition to AI, ML and automation, other future trends in outsourced penetration testing include an increased focus on hybrid models that combine automated and manual testing. This approach allows for broader coverage and deeper analysis, avoiding some of the pitfalls with purely automated testing.

Additionally, integrating big data analytics will enhance the ability to detect patterns and anomalies across vast datasets for large organisations. There will also be a greater emphasis on compliance testing as regulations become more stringent and complex.

Outsourcing firms will likely offer more specialised services targeting specific sectors or technologies, such as blockchain or 5G networks, reflecting the diversifying IT landscape. Blockchain’s decentralised nature and 5G’s advanced network capabilities will require tailored approaches in penetration testing to ensure comprehensive security in these rapidly evolving technologies.

How can Sentrium help?

Outsourcing penetration testing is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. It’s vital to weigh the benefits, like access to specialised expertise and cost-effectiveness, against potential challenges, such as quality and managing communication.

As this field evolves, staying informed about the latest trends and advances is crucial. Your business should thoroughly assess its needs and options, ensuring that the decision to outsource aligns with your overall security strategy and business objectives.

As a CREST-approved penetration testing provider, our expert security consultants have a deep understanding of how hackers and cyber attackers operate. We use this knowledge to help businesses mitigate risks to their IT systems and networks.

We want to help you improve your security strategy to protect your brand reputation, value and property. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help.

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