Bridging the Gap Between Point-in-Time Penetration Tests
“So, let’s say we fix all of the vulnerabilities that the pentest discovers… How do we know tomorrow that we’re not vulnerable to something new?”~Customer
Having been part of the penetration testing industry for over 15 years, I’ve been challenged by many clients with this very question. The fact is that they are right, a penetration test is a point-in-time assessment and new vulnerabilities are discovered every day. We hope that our patch and vulnerability management processes along with our defensive controls (firewalls, etc.) keep our systems secure. Over the past 5 years, we’ve experienced a rise in the number of clients moving towards quarterly penetration testing and seeing the value of rotating through different penetration testers.
In 2017, SynerComm’s penetration testers decided to put their heads together to develop an even better solution. (Honestly, one of our top guys had been nudging me for two years with an idea already…) We agreed that nothing replaces the need for regular human-led penetration testing. As of today, no amount of automation or AI can come close to replicating the intuition and capabilities of an actual penetration tester. That said, if we can be confident that nothing (ok, very little) has changed since the last penetration test, we can be significantly more confident that new vulnerabilities are not present. Building on this idea, the continuous pentest was born.
Continuous pentesting combines the best of both worlds by using automation to continually monitor for changes, and human pentesters to react to those changes quickly. Computers are great at monitoring IP addresses, services, websites, and DNS. They can also monitor breaches and data dumps for names, email addresses, and passwords. What makes continuous pentesting successful, is taking actions based on changes and using orchestration to determine if additional scans can be run and if a pentester should be alerted.
There is no replacement for the validation provided by a thorough, skilled, and human-led penetration test. External and internal pentests with social engineering demonstrate precisely how a determined and skilled intruder could breach your company’s systems and data. Continuous Penetration Testing focuses on public systems and online exposures and should always follow a full, human-led, external penetration test. Partner with SynerComm and we’ll keep an eye on your perimeter security year-round.