What does cheap penetration testing get you in 2024? One of the first things we are asked on scoping calls is how much is this going to cost me? The answer is never simple and there are many factors. But as we’ve come to know, you usually get what you pay for.
Vulnerability Scan vs. Penetration Test: Understanding the Difference
A vulnerability scan is an automated process that identifies potential vulnerabilities in your network or application. It’s akin to a general health check-up that flags anything abnormal without providing in-depth analysis or treatment plans. These scans can uncover known security issues but lack the context of how an attacker could exploit these weaknesses. They are an essential part of a cybersecurity regimen but should not be confused with comprehensive penetration testing.
On the other hand, a penetration test is a simulated cyber attack performed by professional security consultants who think and act like real-world attackers. It’s a thorough examination that not only finds vulnerabilities but also exploits them to understand the real-world impact. It’s like a full medical diagnostic followed by a treatment plan from a specialist, not just a general physician. This type of testing considers the unique context of your business operations and provides a detailed roadmap for remediation.
Unfortunately, some consultancy organizations will attempt to pass a vulnerability scan off as a penetration test and this is due to several reasons:
- Cost Effective – Can undercut the competition by clicking a button and copying and pasting scanner output
- Lack of Skilled Staff – The organization may not specialize in offensive security, but “offer” offensive security services
You Get What You Pay For: The Price of Comprehensive Security
Cheap penetration testing often equates to a glorified automated scan with a thin veneer of manual checking. It might check some boxes for compliance purposes but leaves your organization vulnerable to sophisticated attacks. This is because automated tools can only do so much – they can’t think creatively or adapt to complex systems’ intricacies the way a human can. Cheap services often lack:
Depth of Analysis: A lower-cost option may identify surface-level issues without digging into the deeper, more complex vulnerabilities that require expert analysis.
Bespoke Recommendations: Every organization is different. Cheap penetration tests typically offer generic advice rather than customized recommendations.
Post-Test Support: Many budget services end with the delivery of a report, offering little in the way of help with remediation or further advice.
Experienced Testers: Often, cheaper tests are conducted by less experienced staff who may not have the nuanced understanding necessary to identify subtle security issues.
Investing Wisely in Cybersecurity
Investing in a comprehensive penetration test means you are not only identifying your vulnerabilities but also understanding the potential business impact, receiving guidance on prioritizing fixes, and often, getting help with the remediation process. It’s a proactive approach to security, rather than a reactive one.
Choosing a penetration testing service should be about the value it provides, not just the sticker price. Remember, the cost of a breach often far exceeds the price of a thorough penetration test. By opting for a quality service, you are investing in the safety of your data, the trust of your customers, and the reputation of your business.
At Brackish Security, we understand the need for both affordable and effective security testing. Our team of experienced security professionals ensures that you get the best return on your investment, providing thorough testing, detailed reports, and actionable insights. We ensure that when you invest in our services, you are securing your business against the myriad threats that lurk in the digital landscape.
When considering the cost of a penetration test, ask yourself what the true cost of your peace of mind is. With a quality penetration test, you’re not just paying for a service; you’re investing in the assurance that your cybersecurity measures are as strong as they can be.