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Penetration Testing: Pricing and Procedure

Farhan Malik

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If you’ve decided to conduct a penetration test for your company’s web & network infrastructure and its security barriers, you are probably already thinking about penetration testing prices, especially if you’re a small or medium organization. However, let it not be the only factor that determines your decision on the type and kind of penetration testing you prefer.

Penetration tests are designed to find out the vulnerabilities in your system, simulated within the limits of your requirements, the specific industry, certification standards, the possible vulnerabilities that pop up, to name a few conditions. Since it combines both manual expertise and automated techniques, there will be a team of security experts trained in this field who will carry out the simulated hacking scenario suited for your company’s requirements and modify it along the way to find out the maximum number of issues to be resolved. Checkout the sample penetration testing & VAPT report features to get an idea what tests are conducted & how patching steps are shared.

Eventually, the goal of every penetration testing process is to find out the security risks, test out the impact of those on your business, work out possible remedies, and re-evaluate to determine success of resolution and overall changes in the system.

To make it simpler, here are a couple of pointers that makes penetration testing a must:

  1. A penetration test will check the current state of cybersecurity in your organization, especially if you’re small or medium. Identify if the handling of sensitive data for your customers, resources and other information are well protected with the current security measures. A penetration test will help you test your security system’s tenacity. It will also detect all other hidden vulnerabilities in your organization’s infrastructure as per the defined scope of the test.
  2. When deciding the cost-value ratio of a penetration test, think of the impact it will bring to your business’ decision making. Other immediate utilities from such a testing procedure may come in the form of necessary certifications (like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, etc.) and customer satisfaction.

Now that you know the importance of penetration testing in India, it is time to choose the correct service and plan.

When choosing a trusted and reputed third-party penetration testing service provider, look at what they provide for the mentioned price range and compare with other service providers. Are they providing the best services in the market, in terms of satisfied customer reviews or in terms of how long they’ve been in the market? Remember to ask them the important questions – retesting after remediation, warranty possibilities, scope of their services, etc.

Also, make sure you’re not compromising on the quality of the testing process by choosing the cheapest plan or provider.

After all these questions, you’ll be forced to arrive at an answer that will mostly speak in favour of a penetration testing procedure.

So, what’s the number?

There is no exact penetration test pricing. The numbers vary a great deal because of the sheer number of complexities involved at every step. But there’s a basic range you can expect prices to fall within, which is $300 – $3000, and if you’re looking for the best, highest quality of testing, conducted by very experienced and well trained security professionals, then you’re looking at a minimum price range of $10000 – $30000.

This decision is, and should be, influenced by parameters like size of the firm, ideal priorities of the testing, how advanced the system is (that is, hardware, devices connected, systems, internal and external servers, networks, IP addresses, applications, etc), the methods used for conducting the test (automated, manual, or both, other tools and practices, fast or slow methods depending on the quality and comprehensiveness required), scope of the test (how extensive you want it to be and the goals to be achieved, spending time on certain aspects of the network that requires more security, etc).

What’s the usual frequency for penetration tests?

In case you’re wondering how much of a constant cost would penetration testing add to your budget, you would need to understand the kind of network that your organization has and the security objectives it wishes to uphold. At this point, since there’s a fair idea of what penetration tests are, their purpose, the different kinds of testing procedures, the various elements of the process that add to the costing structure, and the pointers that must be brought up with your third-party testing partner, you should also be aware of how frequent this entire testing procedure should be.

Apart from a minimum regularity of once a year, penetration testing should also be done when major changes or modifications are made to the network, new network infrastructural elements are added, significant upgrades are implemented, new locations of the company are established, modifies any policies for end-users, installs security patches, etc. Factors that are more subjective to your particular situation include the kind of clients, the certifications you require for added consumer trust and protection, and if your system is placed in a different location and its security measures are taken care of by third-parties.

There are different aspects that one needs to keep in mind when proceeding with penetration testing procedures, the cost only being one of them.