In the wake of soaring cyber attacks, penetration testing services have acquired remarkable prominence worldwide. Business owners, stakeholders, IT risk managers, CIOs and developers, who have recognized the importance of having a water-tight security plan, have stepped to the front-line and quickly implemented and recommended penetration testing services.
Yet, to decide upon a penetration testing service provider is a confounding process for many organizations. Security testing in India varies upon the type of application or network & the certification you need as per the government or regulatory authority. There are all sorts of penetration testing services available for businesses to secure their online assets such as website pentesting, mobile pentesting, network pentesting and so on.
Not all services cater to all requirements or testing scope. Also, not all provide the desired results. For example, a service may only be doing automated tests, another only manual, some may be providing certificates, some may not.
Hence, it is extremely important to put down your requirements before you even start looking for a penetration testing service. You should also be clear on your goals before you opt for a penetration test. What do you really want to achieve with the test?
In most cases the goals are one (or a few) of the many things given below:
- Vulnerability discovery and patching
- Security certificate
- Compliance needs
- Formulation of a security plan, etc.
As you would have guessed by the title, this post’s aim is to help you make the right choice for a penetration testing service. Here we’ll discuss what makes for an outstanding penetration testing service provider and how to decide the perfect fit for your business. So, dig in more.
5 traits of an outstanding penetration testing service provider
Before we get to listing the traits, it should not be ignored by any means that there’s a disclaimer too. These traits are:
- They are certified professionals
We are talking about your business’ security here. Crucial data, processes and systems are at risk. Hence, it is very important to verify if the person who will be carrying out the pen-testing job is qualified enough to do that job. Although it is a given for a security company to have certified professionals, it is good practice to confirm anyway.
Ethical hacking certificates such as – CEH, OSCP, LPT, etc. are accepted worldwide as standard professional certificates. If the individual possesses a few of them, it should be fine.
- Customer reviews are positive for the service
It almost seems like an obvious trait but it still gets ignored many times. Confirming that the service is valid and delivering expected results from someone who has taken the service before is always a recommendation.
Make sure you go to certain trusted review platforms and verify if the pentesting service provider is as good as presented. In case, you can’t find a listing for the service on any review platform, consider it a red flag. Usually, people also talk about their experiences with a service on other social media platforms such as Reddit, Quora, Facebook, so make sure to check those, too.
Swipe the card only when you are 100 percent sure of the service.
- They have a documented methodology and transparent process
Security companies normally have their processes and methodology documented. Study their method to ensure your requirements and the service’s offering are compatible. You can either find the methodology on the pentesting service provider’s website or you can explicitly ask for it. This will also help you get a gist of the type of tests that will be performed in the process.
- They provide detailed reports with fixes and recommendations
Check if the pentesting service provider provides detailed reports with information regarding the vulnerabilities found, risks attached to them, and their quick fixes. Always make sure that the reports provided are not yawn-inducing and incomprehensible chunks of data. Reports should be easy to understand and follow through for checking the progress.
Almost all viable services offer sample pentesting reports. If you can’t find it on their website, ask them to send one. Besides PDF and text-based reports, selenium scripts (scripts to reproduce the vulnerability) are also a great differentiator for an outstanding penetration testing service.
It is always recommended to choose a penetration testing service provider that offers a centralized dashboard where you get reports on vulnerabilities and other findings on a periodic basis to reduce the time of waiting for a full testing report. It will also help your developers in lining up and fixing up bugs that are reported parallelly.
- They have active customer support
When opting for a service online, it is extremely important to check their customer support system. The type of support they offer (chat, email, call), number of hours they are available, average revert time and so on. In case of panicky situations, the company’s support is all you’ve got to get a clear answer, solution or reassurance maybe. You can again utilize customers’ reviews to get a truthful picture of the service’s support.
For the sake of generality, we have not addressed more specific questions that as a business owner you might have. By all means, clear out your queries with the provider beforehand.
Why choose professionals?
When it comes to taking services from security professionals (pen-testers), make sure they follow a straight-forward process of pentesting within a few and clarified steps and use specifically designed automated and manual tests to cover all bases when it comes to the security of the website.
The security service provider should also provide an intuitive VAPT dashboard that offers real-time vulnerability reporting and direct collaboration with experts, with materials such as PDF reports, selenium scripts and video POC for the concerned developers to grasp the vulnerability details.
Therefore, conduct adequate research before finalizing your desired penetrating testing partner, as it can make a world of difference for your application in the long run.