Security is an essential part of any business. There are multiple ways to compromise a system. That is why, one needs to ensure the application of high-quality modern technologies. Those can be SSL certificates, firewalls, physical machinery protection, and many others. However, to create a beneficial combination of required technologies for your business, your project will require constant performance and security monitoring. Penetration testing has shown itself as the best way of discovering any potential dangers. In this article, we will talk about the definition of pen tests, how much does a penetration test cost, advantages, and disadvantages. We will also include practical recommendations as well as case studies. The latter ones will show particular uses of methods and can serve as examples of the benefits and losses experienced by companies.
Penetration testing is a process of discovering possible vulnerabilities within a system, application, website, etc. It aims at protecting the system from unauthorized access, reveal possible weaknesses of the network infrastructure, or improve the configuration of an application. Those might be the backdoors in the code as well as some issues in the UI. The latter ones might lead a user to access sensitive information or accidentally damage the system. About 69% of organizations in the U.S. do not believe their anti-virus and firewalls can protect them from the attacks anymore. That is why, the security test cost is a price to pay to defend yourself.
Needless to say, a weak security system can result in financial and reputational losses for a company. Ponemon has carried out a research among over 400 companies globally: the results have shown that an average cost of stolen records has gone down. However, the attacks became more massive. The average organizational costs for breaches have reached almost $7.5 million in the U.S. and almost $5 million in the Middle East. That is why, any potential issues should be eliminated as soon as possible. Perhaps, nobody will be more suitable to spot them than a specialist who typically performs a penetration test. Nowadays, the specialized software is available for the job. Still, there is no doubt that no software can perform the check better than a high-skilled professional.
The importance of hiring a pen tester is based on the fact that a living person can perform an investigation based on the previous experience. In 2017 the attacks were performed every 40 seconds, and, by the end of 2019, the frequency is predicted to rise to every 14 seconds. The losses of companies due to cyber attacks have reached about $5 billion by 2017 (increasing from $325 million in 2015). In 2019, the expected losses are $21.5 billion. Poor security is the reason behind all of these attacks. Medical and financial industries are the ones suffering the most from the attacks. They measure $380 and $245 per capita respectively.
Any security breach that occurs can drastically affect your company, its income, reputation, and customers’ trust. In reality, what you are paying for is your insurance in your business security. A poorly-performed pen can cost you everything you worked hard to create. In September 2017, the news of Equifax breach has spread over the net, revealing that the sensitive information of almost 150 million people has been exposed. The losses are said to have reached $275 million in 2017 and are predicted to reach $439 million by the end of 2018. Only $125 million of that amount will be covered by the insurance.
43 percent of the attacks are performed on small business. Out of those , 62% are phishing and social engineering attacks. Web-based attacks make up for 64% of all attacks. 59% of companies experience malware attacks. The calculation of losses due to attacks depend on several factors, which include the damaged data, reputation, machinery, loss of customers, and partners. The total damage inflicted on companies worldwide has reached $100 billion. The number of the attacks increases every year, and the targets include big corporations as well as small businesses and individuals.
An average cost of a penetration test can vary from $4,000 to $100,000. When done correctly, it’s worth every penny. Mainly, because you are getting a specialist or a team of specialists who will work on finding any possible way your system can be affected. Later, you receive a recommendation regarding the discovered vulnerabilities and, when necessary, continuous system support. Another factor that affects penetration testing costs is the regularity with which you perform it. As many other assessments, pen tests are necessary on a regular basis, to ensure you comply with all the standards and no new issues appear. Depending on the complexity of your system and the frequency of updates, the recommended testing regularity is once or twice per year.
On the one hand, software automated performance checks are performed. Yet, the quality of such tests is generally not sufficient. On average, the software will cost you around $1,000-$2,000. Still, it is impossible to advise on the priority of holes discovered in the system which have to be taken care of first. This is something that only a professional can advise on. This point is essential as your company might end up spending thousands on fixing something that is not critical .
Due to the uprising risks, many companies are looking for efficient ways to protect themselves. The specialists say that $1 trillion will be spent on cybersecurity between 2017 and 2021. Only 38% of the companies claim they are prepared for the upcoming attacks. Hence, penetration tests are a way to protect yourself. Below we list the information on the types of testing.
Application testing. Web applications are quite complex. Hence, they have many possibilities for vulnerability investigation including internal and external testing. The difference from a regular vulnerability test is the exploitation of possible weak spots in the system. In most cases, the pen testing price can vary between $2,000 and $8,000 and more. The final decision will depend on the number of roles in the application and the aim of the testing.
We have already mentioned, that a penetration test can include many options. Every company that provides the service adjusts the penetration testing pricing depending on a few factors:
The tools can be divided into several categories:
The tools might create a lot of data to be processed by a specialist; thus, should be customized to fit the requirements of a certain company.
A pen test should be performed by a certified specialist with experience in the field. This is extremely important as it can influence not only the results of a test but also the potential breaches of the system in future. A highly-skilled developer performing a test will help with distinguishing the weaknesses as well as with fixing and preventing them in future. Besides, there is also a danger of damaging the system during the test. This is way less likely with a specialist.
There is no one answer that determines how much does penetration testing cost as the number of variables in each situation is different. Most companies that have a fixed price for a pen test will not help you to improve your security due to limitations of the testing tools used.
The decision of how much to charge for pen testing depends strictly on the contractor. Yet, this is the case when a few thousands can save your company millions and the hassle of reinstating your reputation. Discussing the terms and the scope of work in advance will also give you more clarity. At Hacken, we take security extremely seriously, and all the checks are performed according to the highest standards. If you have any questions about the topic or need a consultation, feel free to contact our Team!