How to Conduct a Successful Penetration Test

Regular penetration tests, or pentests, are crucial for organizations that handle sensitive data. They provide real-world insight into potential vulnerabilities and offer security officers the information they need to determine a plan for managing high-risk situations. Read on to find out what app owners and security officers need to know about conducting a successful pentest.

Open Communication Between Pentesters and Developers

Security officers should be confident that the pentest teams they have secured have the skills required to create and execute a successful pentest framework before hiring a specialist. Experienced pentesters know how to conduct reviews while minimizing risk. There should be open lines of communication between pentesters, security officers, and the development team so that the testers can better evaluate whether test activities have led to instabilities.

Maintain Focus

Most developers have heard of scope creep in the context of app building, but not all of them understand the role it plays in testing. Scope creep is most common when the initial framework was created using incorrect assumptions about an app’s components or failed to include essential parts of its architecture

It’s equally important to note that while experienced pentesters know how to evaluate the risks associated with a particular vulnerability, they may not always understand how the vulnerability will impact the business. If the vulnerability is pervasive, it’s especially important to maintain focus by ensuring that the testers are able to understand the app’s underlying architectural flaws instead of submitting multiple individual vulnerability submissions.

Ensure that the App’s Activity is Being Monitored

It’s often the case that pentesters must run their tests against production systems. While seasoned testers know how to avoid adversely affecting app availability, mistakes can still happen. If the app architecture has an especially brittle design or the test becomes unexpectedly intrusive, ongoing monitoring can make the difference between being alerted in time to solve the problem efficiently and creating more serious problems. Systems for monitoring both the production system and the pentest results should be put in place prior to conducting the test.

Be Prepared to Address Vulnerabilities

The purpose of a pentest is to identify potential vulnerabilities, so it’s important for app developers to be prepared to fix them once they are identified. This is much easier when the pentests are performed before the app reaches development. Ideally, app owners should allocate extra time for fixing vulnerabilities uncovered during pentests before the app reaches the production stage. Routine pentesting may also be required during the production or post-production stages. Developers should be prepared to find and implement effective security fixes as quickly as possible.

Having a framework in place for how the pentest will be performed can help to ensure that everything goes smoothly. That means not just finding a qualified team of pentesters, but ensuring that the development team is prepared to work in collaboration with them to fix the problems they uncover. It’s about creating a secure product.