Pentest report automation tools vary from simple compiling tools to complete pentest management platforms and everything in between. Despite this wide variety, there are only a handful of truly viable solutions on the market, organized into categories of automatic parsing, automatic compiling, plugins, and full pentest management platforms. 

Choosing between these solutions depends on the level of required or wanted findings management, existing tooling, and budget. 

Pentest report automation tools

Automatic Compiling Tools  

Most pentesters are familiar with compiling tools. The most common of these is JasperReports, the open-source JavaScript tool used by Metasploit and others. Here, you define a report template in a JRXML file and Jasper does the rest. Hooks and scripts help you organize content. Otherwise, everything is exported into a single file using organization hooks and scripts you designed upfront. Afterwards, any edits are completely manual. 

These are convenient in that they often compile information from multiple sources. However, compiling is done once, does not create searchable or manageable files, and everything is essentially dumped into a single document. Most importantly, you likely still have to copy-paste results into your DocX template. 

Automated Reporting Software

Automated reporting software offers dedicated tooling to automate reporting. This normally includes some aspects of report template management, data compilation, and data management. Others, like Nessus, simply allow you to export reports directly. However, with results from just one tool, that reporting is rarely enough. 

Instead, tools like Serpico, Pentest-Tools, VulnReport, Dart, and Kvasir offer reporting software with various functionality. For example, Dart and Kvasir are primarily data compilation and management tools. Serpico and VulnReport are full report tools, which import XML files, manage findings, and then export to a template. Here, you normally use a DocX template, with default versions or custom upload available. 

Automated reporting software normally offers XML support to ensure compatibility with a wide array of pentest tooling. Findings management, organization, and report generation options normally roughly include findings management, a findings library, and findings templates. Some also include pentest report templates with various levels of customization.

Plugins 

Plugins and single-software tools are very common. Burp and Nessus both allow export to report templates. Tools like NamicSoft offer more advanced reporting for Nessus-only. Options like Gremwell’s Magic Tree offer automated reporting for Kali Linux. These plugins offer strong reporting solutions inside specific tools, but otherwise offer little value for a Pentester reporting on a full pentest. 

Pentest Management Platforms

Pentest management platforms offer broader management and automation tools, normally designed around the full pentest process. Here, platforms like Dradis Pro are among the oldest solutions. Dradis offers basic team management, a results portal, and collaboration tooling alongside report automation. Its report automation tooling functions similarly to Serpico, in that uploaded data is compiled into a single Word report template. Other solutions, like Cyver, deliver a more modernized approach, adding findings as tickets, full team management, findings libraries, pentest management and oversight, pentest planning, and client collaboration tooling. Pentesters upload XML and CSV files from Burp Suite, Nessus, NMap, etc., and findings are imported as tickets. The report generation tool then imports findings linked to projects to generate fully modular and customizable reports. 

Adding complete pentest management to pentest report automation simplifies the full process. This is important, because data compilation and data management are both crucial factors of report automation. You can’t fully automate without managing all the data in one place. By switching to a pentest management platform instead of just a pentest report automation tool, you bring everything needed to generate the report (methodology, pentest data, findings, client data, etc.), into the same tool. Everything you need to generate the report is already there and automating pentest reporting is as simple as clicking a button. 

Automating pentest reports makes sense for pentesters at every level. Even simple pentests spanning a few hours require considerable time to compile data into a report. Parsing and grepping are hardly anyone’s idea of reasonable time expenditure. Most importantly, by automating pentest reports, you free up pentester time. That means skilled workers are free to do more skilled work instead of spending hours copy-pasting. A machine could do that. And, it should.

Learn more about Cyver’s pentest report automation features here