Mythbusting penetration testing
September 28, 2023
Mythbusting: The top 4 common misconceptions in pentesting
At our recent webinar, co-hosted with our partner Grey Matter, we discussed some of the common myths and pentesting misconceptions that we've heard from across the industry. Not all penetration tests are created equal, but they can and should be your secret weapon in your IT or security toolbox, and our panel shared their advice for choosing services and vendors that provide real value and meaningful change.

You can watch the full recording on demand now.    

Myth #1 Automated pentests provide the same quality of results as manual testing. ​

Heavily automated pentests or indeed vulnerability scans are often prone to false positives and generate a lot of noise for administrative and defensive teams to sift through, detracting from more realistic attack vectors that can only really be found with human involvement.

Conclusion – Nothing can replicate the human ingenuity and creativity found in manual penetration testing! If your motivation is to genuinely find vulnerabilities, as a threat actor might, manual testing has clear benefits over heavily automated testing.  

Myth #2 Pentests are just expensive vulnerability scans.​

While both pentests and vulnerability scans have their place in a security strategy, pentests are run by skilled offensive security experts that genuinely simulate attacks and threat actors to truly uncover weaknesses bespoke to your organisation.

Conclusion – Vulnerability scans can often be run by your internal team to find the low hanging fruit, but to truly keep yourself honest and accountable, external validation by skilled pentesters can be hugely valuable.  

Myth #3 Pentest reports are just there to tick a box.​

A high-quality findings reports should be bespoke to your organisation, provide targeted and concise security advice, and provide actionable steps to take around remediations. It should put findings in the context of the wider business and include an executive summary for non-technical board members or stakeholders.

Conclusion – Pentest reports should go so much further than compliance or ticking a box. A tailored, practical, and digestible report can be your secret weapon in producing a roadmap and sharing learnings with your team.  

Myth #4 One annual pentest is enough to inform a comprehensive security strategy.

Pentests provide a point in time simulation, and only have limited value if they take a ‘whack a mole’ approach. Instead, they should feed into the wider security strategy, and accurate scoping is key to understanding your risk profile and your engagement schedule alongside other related services.

Conclusion – A good pentest partner will work with you to understand the risks that are keeping you (and the board) up at night, in order to provide an accurate and bespoke scope for your organisation, that also maximises the value from your budget.

How can we help you?  

  • At Secure Impact, our mission is to set a new industry standard in the delivery of cyber security services to meaningfully improve the security maturity of organisations.  
  • Security teams have real challenges which likely won’t be solved with ‘silver bullet’ products, automated scans, or generic reports. Our intelligent penetration tests are bespoke to your risk profile, and geared to creating cost effective and valuable security outcomes for your specific organisation.
  • Our reports are tailored and accessible, providing you with the insight and roadmap to make both immediate and longer-term changes to improve your security maturity.
  • Our GIAC certified team are the best of the best in the industry and will work with your team to create actionable shared learnings.
    Let's change pentesting together!

If you’d like to discuss your pentesting needs, please get in touch with the Secure Impact team or your Grey Matter account manager.

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