Continuous Pentesting and Its Many Names

Brian Judd

Are you looking for a pentest? A continuous pentest? Or maybe attack surface management? We’ll never have a shortage of new terminology (and acronyms) to learn and understand. When evaluating security vendors and comparing their solutions, it’s critical that everyone is on the same page and speaking the same language. This article starts to shed light on several key terms in hopes of offering clarity and understanding. So, let’s call this Part 1 of the continuous pentest cybersecurity glossary. 

Here are the terms you should know: 

1. Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) 

Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) refers to the ongoing process of identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks associated with potential threats to an organization's assets and infrastructure. CTEM involves continuous monitoring and analysis of various attack vectors and vulnerabilities to maintain an up-to-date understanding of the threat landscape. This proactive approach enables organizations to swiftly respond to emerging threats and fortify their defenses. 

2. Attack Surface Management (ASM) 

Attack Surface Management (ASM) encompasses the process of identifying and monitoring all potential entry points (attack surfaces) that malicious actors could use to infiltrate an organization's networks or systems. ASM solutions help organizations gain visibility into their digital footprint, assess associated risks, and implement effective controls to reduce the attack surface and enhance their overall security posture. Most ASM platforms are cloud-based and only provide visibility into public-facing assets, making them External Attack Surface Management (EASM) solutions. 

3. Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) 

Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) focuses specifically on managing the attack surface of an organization’s external and internal digital assets. This includes devices, endpoints, applications, and cloud resources. CAASM solutions usually receive information through API integrations allowing them to provide detailed insights into asset vulnerabilities and exposure levels. CAASM’s goal is to enable and support proactive risk mitigation and threat response strategies. 

4. Continuous Attack Surface Management (CASM) 

Continuous Attack Surface Management (CASM) extends the principles of ASM and CAASM by emphasizing continuous monitoring and assessment of the attack surface. CASM solutions leverage automation and real-time threat intelligence to detect changes in the attack surface, prioritize risk areas, and facilitate rapid incident response and remediation efforts. CASM® is also the trademarked name of SynerComm’s flagship platform used to support their Continuous Penetration Testing subscriptions. 

5. Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS) 

Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS) is a subscription-based model that provides organizations with on-demand penetration testing capabilities. Penetration testing involves simulating real-world cyber-attacks to evaluate the security posture of systems, networks, and applications. PTaaS offerings allow businesses to conduct regular, but certainly not comprehensive, penetration tests without the need for dedicated in-house resources. PTaaS can support continuous security assessments and the timely remediation of vulnerabilities. 

6. Continuous Penetration Testing (CPT) 

Continuous Penetration Testing (CPT) involves the regular and automated execution of penetration tests to evaluate the security posture of an organization's infrastructure and applications. Unlike traditional penetration testing, which is conducted periodically, CPT provides continuous insights into evolving security risks and helps organizations proactively address vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by adversaries. 

SynerComm's Continuous Penetration Testing Services 

SynerComm's Continuous Penetration Testing services integrate elements of CTEM, PTaaS, ASM, and CAASM, with a team of knowledgeable penetration testers, to deliver comprehensive security assessments that are tailored to the evolving needs of modern businesses. Penetration testing can’t (or shouldn’t) be fully automated. SynerComm’s strategy is to automate everything that can be done safely and then rely on experienced penetration testers to do the rest. This includes dozens of monthly and quarterly, pentester performed, “pentest playbooks” plus “emergency playbooks” for new and unexpected threats that emerge. By combining best in class penetration testing with proactive threat exposure management, on-demand penetration testing capabilities, comprehensive attack surface monitoring, and continuous risk assessment, SynerComm enables organizations to stay ahead of emerging threats and safeguard their digital assets effectively. 

SynerComm's Continuous Penetration Test approach emphasizes: 

  • Experienced OSCP Certified Penetration Testers: Like a skilled surgeon, the tools are useless without the expertise to use them. SynerComm earned their reputation as a pentest industry leader by retaining and enabling a collaborative and experienced pentest team. Capable pentesters are essential for CPT to work. 
  • Validated Findings: EASM and CAASM solutions offer many ways to view, sort, and filter potential risks and vulnerabilities; the depth and detail of their data can appear almost endless. Once a vulnerability is identified, a SynerComm penetration tester will test to see whether it’s exploitable. Only after validation by a pentester, do fFindings get written and users get notified. 
  • Proactive Risk Management: Continuous monitoring and assessment of the attack surface allows teams to identify and mitigate potential threats before they can be exploited. SynerComm automates dozens of scanners and pentest tools referred to as CASM Engine® scanners. 
  • On-Demand Penetration Testing: CPT provides subscription-based penetration testing services that enable organizations to conduct regular security assessments and validate the effectiveness of their defenses. 
  • Comprehensive Attack Surface Visibility: Detailed insights into digital assets and associated vulnerabilities, allowing organizations to prioritize remediation efforts and optimize resource allocation. 

SynerComm's Continuous Penetration Testing services combine the benefits of human-led pentesting with their in-house developed CASM platform.  Providing modern attack surface management to experienced pentesters allows SynerComm to deliver proactive threat management and continuous risk mitigation capabilities.

[Note: While the definitions provided are based on common industry understanding, specific sources for these terms may vary.]

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