Network penetration testing, or pen-testing, is essential for any organization that’s serious about IT security. With so many potential threats lurking just outside of your network, it’s not enough to set up a firewall and hope for the best. However, depending on your specific needs, network penetration testing costs can quickly add up.
What’s Involved in Network Penetration Testing?
Comprehensive network penetration testing involves a variety of network security testing methodologies. From basic network pen-testing to cloud computing, mobile, and hardware penetration testing, some organizations have a lot to assess. As a result, the actual cost of network pen-testing varies greatly. It depends on numerous factors, including the amount and variety of tests you require, the frequency of tests, and any necessary follow-up actions.
To determine what kind of penetration testing is right for your organization and how you can begin calculating expected costs, you’ll need to consider:
- The most significant factors to consider when determining your network penetration testing costs
- Additional services that add to your overall costs while increasing your protection
- Secondary factors to consider when calculating your total costs
Factors for Determining Network Penetration Testing Costs
One of the most significant factors determining network penetration testing costs revolves around the required amount of service. Basic or pen-testing, which is generally focused on your firewall or network as a whole, is the most affordable option available. Although additional pen testing services will increase your overall costs, most companies offer a discount for bundling multiple services together.
Some of the most common penetration tests performed today include:
- External penetration testing – Sometimes known as network penetration testing or firewall penetration testing, this is the most basic form of pen-testing today. It’s useful when evaluating your environment’s holistic cyberdefenses for existing vulnerabilities that require patch deployment or more substantial remediation.
- Internal penetration testing – Although most attacks originate from outside your network, some may successfully breach cyberdefenses, and certain threats can stage internal attacks, too. Internal pen-testing will evaluate your environmental controls as if a malicious actor has already bypassed perimeter protections.
- Cloud computing penetration testing – This type of testing is essential for any organization that maintains a presence within the cloud and integrates with cloud services or storage. Since there are unique vulnerabilities that aren’t found anywhere else, cloud computing pen-testing requires a specialized approach and considerations.
- Hardware penetration testing – While most organizations go to great lengths to safeguard their software systems, a comparatively few take such precautions with their hardware systems. However, there are plenty of hardware vulnerabilities that malicious actors can exploit, so it’s important to secure this facet of your network, too.
- Mobile penetration testing – Given the prevalence of BYOD (i.e., bring-your-own-device policies) and remote work environments, mobile penetration testing is becoming more popular than ever before. It’s a must-have for any organization that utilizes the modern, mobile workforce.
- Compliance penetration testing – The increasing reliance on data has led governmental entities and other institutions to establish rules, regulations, and standards regarding the use of digital information. Make sure your organization follows applicable laws and adheres to framework specifications with compliance penetration testing.
Discovering which services are essential and less so is the key to minimizing your network penetration testing costs. At the very least, most companies should use a combination of external and internal penetration testing to cover both sides of their network.
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Black or White Box Testing?
In addition to determining what a given pen-tests focus is, you’ll also need to consider how much information to provide the testers. Pen-test methodologies can generally be divided into three categories based on tester knowledge:
- Black box – Testers are not provided with supplemental information about your organization’s cybersecurity or environment architecture.
- White box – Testers are provided with “insider information” about your organization’s cybersecurity or environment architecture to perform a more rigorous assessment and evaluate controls preventing malicious actors who have already gained insight or access.
- Grey box – Testers are provided with some “insider information” about your organization’s cybersecurity or environment architecture.
Secondary Costs to Consider
Although the majority of your network penetration testing costs are determined by the exact services and tests you require, there are some secondary or auxiliary costs to consider as well.
- Lost bandwidth – Your in-house team will likely need to aid testers. It will definitely need to evaluate test results and perform any remediation needs identified, which will reduce their bandwidth for their other, ongoing tasks and responsibilities. However, the costs pen-testing can avoid can be immeasurable. If your network is taken offline as a result of a materializing attack, it can be tough to translate your losses into a dollar amount.
- Implementation costs – Some discovered vulnerabilities may merely require patch deployment. However, if pen-testing reveals that significant remediations are necessary to strengthen your cybersecurity architecture, you may need to consider substantial implementations or outsourced services to address the discovered challenges or compliance gaps.
Unexpected secondary costs can be minimized, if not avoided altogether, through consistent and comprehensive network penetration testing.
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Now that you have a better idea of network penetration testing costs for your organization, it’s time to take the next step and secure your entire network. As a cybersecurity and compliance expert, RSI Security provides comprehensive pen-testing services and remediation guidance.
For more information on network penetration testing, or to receive a specific price quote that covers your organizational needs, contact RSI Security today.