Vulnerability scanning is a common practice for companies to verify and strengthen their security controls, and due to its popularity, you’ve heard at one time or another that it can replace penetration testing. . And while vulnerability scanning and penetration testing may appear to identify vulnerabilities, they are actually two separate and distinct processes.

It’s common for organizations to feel pressured to cut costs by swapping their pen testers for scanners.

Although this temptation may be understandable, it is also not advisable to give in. Penetration testing and vulnerability scanning are key to maintaining and maintaining a strong security posture.

To that end, let’s quickly cover what a hybrid pen test model that uses scanners looks like, and the benefits of combining the two to maximize coverage and security for your web application.

Pen testing with scanners – isn’t that just cheating?

Traditionally, most companies have tested their network and application security through penetration testing; Penetration testing can theoretically be performed by red teams internal to an organization, but is usually outsourced to contractors in practice.

External contractors typically offer penetration testing and perform their services without institutional knowledge of an organization’s applications and systems.

Manual penetration testing is very effective in assessing and identifying a company’s exploitable weakness in the application through simulated attacks. Penetration testing – provided they are well framed – can focus on the risk of an operational system and ensure best security practices.

However, penetration testing performed by experienced ethical hackers can also be very expensive, so much so that companies may invest in penetration testing but limit the scope and therefore end up with results. which do not illustrate all the security weaknesses to be resolved.

On top of that, penetration testing is a time-consuming process and leaves gaps between tests for attackers who are still active. This is where analytics tools come in.

Scanning tools are a high-level assessment that finds and reports known vulnerabilities and non-exploitable misconfigurations. Because it is automated and easy to configure, more of these analytics tools are likely to also become more widely and readily available, as the size of the machine learning market continues to grow.

So, simply put, pen testing with scanners is NOT cheating. It’s just a way for companies to compensate for expensive manual tests that can realistically only be run once in a while during events like red team vs. blue team drills and the fact that human intelligence cannot be replaced by automated application analysis.

Why Application Security Teams Should Combine Scanning Tools and Manual Testing

Penetration testing has multiple advantages over automated vulnerability scanning: it includes annual testers like those at Outpost24 WHO guarantee zero false positives and can take advantage of attack vectors that an actual threat actor would use.

Unfortunately, penetration testing is also nearly impossible to scale and accelerate easily, and it’s typically unable to provide a high-level perspective of system security, as it only focuses on highly sensitive threats. priorities.

A direct comparison of penetration testing with automated analysis tools only relates to Dynamic Application Security Testing, or DAST, tools because static security testing tools require access to source code, which is not generally not available to penetration testers.

Automated tests are therefore attractive because they are fast and inexpensive tools, and a company can use them much more often than manual penetration tests. They also enable large-scale security test automation since companies can integrate them into development and testing.

The wrong side? Automated scans cannot locate logical errors in the same way as manual pen testers, and they typically flag false positives which may outweigh the benefits of large-scale automated security testing.

Penetration testing as a service

Data security is an increasingly important area of ​​focus, and organizations that take the security of their information seriously must constantly run automated scans.

As you now know, however, automated analysis tools cannot replace the logical thinking and experience of a real human; you need to couple automated scanners with manual pen tests to identify vulnerabilities you would otherwise never detect.

With Application Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS), you can combine automated scans with manual penetration testing for real-time security vulnerability and logical error identification.

Because traditional penetration testing can be time-consuming and allow glaring security vulnerabilities to remain exposed for long periods of time, with strictly one-time results, enterprises must rely on PTaaS to gain insight in time. real security vulnerabilities.

PTaaS, unlike conventional penetration testing, allows companies to collaborate directly with penetration testers and is ideal for organizations looking for cost-effective and easily scalable methods with which they can audit and protect their digital assets.

Sponsored and written by Outpost24


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