Scaling Pentest Teams with Digital Platforms
Most organizations have at least some cybersecurity needs. As digitization, digital businesses and services, and security requirements increase, those needs continue to grow. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries, with an estimated 12-15% year-over-year growth. Most importantly for pentestesters, most organizations aren’t currently testing. Data shows that just 20% of organizations currently test annually, but needs are growing, and organizations are realizing that the cost of a breach is often significantly higher than paying for a penetration test. This leaves ample room for even the smallest pentest organization to grow, and quite rapidly.
At the same time, many pentest firms remain small. Many reach a maximum order count and can no longer meet volume. Scheduling, operational, and capacity problems are difficult to overcome with current technology. These same problems of scale haven’t affected attackers, who scale up using automation at a massive, even industrial scale. Today, security firms including pentesters must rise to meet or exceed those same standards of digitization and automation, for themselves, and to meet the scaling needs of the customer, and the answer is digital pentesting platforms.
What’s Preventing Scaling?
Most pentest firms lack proper organization or structure. Processes are scattered. Checklists are not organized. Manual work is everywhere. When order volume goes up, chaos ensues. Pentesters typically perform work across several to dozens of tools, export, and manually load into reports. With specific tools like hardware and individual experts tied to capacity, scaling also means difficulties in tracking total capacity and delivering on time, resulting in more chaos and further drops in customer satisfaction.
The result is that teams have no way to properly monitor outgoing quality. You lose track of customer experience, meaning you lose track of the customer.
And, most pentest firms still use manual processes, which require considerable time investment. Scaling beyond a certain point simply isn’t feasible without bringing on more and more people to fulfil largely manual data entry roles.
Scaling with Structure
Pentest platforms like Cyver provide the ideal solution for pentest firms that are ready to scale. While, by no means, the only criteria for scaling, Pentest platforms give teams and organizations the tools to structure an organization, automate manual work, and monitor quality output.
Processes – Processes must be organized, available, and integrated into tooling as much as possible. For Pentesters, that means integrating tooling into a single platform, so that checklists, reports, and quality checks are updated as new tooling is used. Clearly defining processes with organized checklists per penetration test or customer, organizing responsibility and ownership, and implementing resource management for hardware and software ensures that it’s easy to track what’s been done and why for every customer.
Implementing Automation – Every penetration test involves manual, repetitive work. Reporting is often considered one of the most frustrating aspects of a pentesters job, requires little skill other than Copy-Paste, and (according to the InfoSec Institute) takes as much as 40-50% of the time of the entire penetration test. Most of this process can be automated, because data can be automatedly pulled from tooling into relevant data fields. This speeds up the process, reduces time-drain for skilled employees, and improves the quality of reporting by reducing manual error (e.g., no more instances of leaving a previous client’s data in a field).
Quality Monitoring – It’s impossible to track and monitor the output of a team of people working on dozens of tools across tends of environments and machines. It’s difficult to scale without clear work visibility and monitoring because you can’t guarantee quality and likely won’t ever be able to trace errors, even severe ones. Pentest platforms simplify this process by linking pentesting checklists with tasks assigned to pentesters,, so you track what is being done, when, and who is responsible. When something does go wrong, it’s traceable.
Client Scalability – Digitization is everywhere and organizations are scaling up cybersecurity efforts to meet those needs. Many organizations work with dozens of specialty tools like next-gen anti-malware, database protection, and several security firms and vendors. This is a challenge for the vendor, because it means products have to be scalable for organizations to consume. Delivering 30+ page PDF reports managed in Excel and email is no longer good enough. You need good client overview, project pipelines, and scoping and forecasts to offer certainty, while improving quality and service.
In almost any case, the key to scaling centers around identifying points of friction and solving those. Scaling isn’t about achieving perfect structure or processes, it’s about reducing friction so that processes will work when you are 2, 5, or 10x bigger. For pentest firms, the most important solution is often a full digitization of the pentest process, with automation, oversight, and project management.
Cyver is a complete pentesting platform, complete with automation, client management, task and role management, and digital project management.