Maximizing Your Security Posture: A Timely Reminder on Pentesting Frequency

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Penetration testing, also known as pentesting, is a crucial aspect of maintaining your organization’s systems and data security. The frequency at which penetration testing should be performed depends on a variety of factors. For instance, the criticality of the protected assets, regulatory requirements, and your organization’s risk tolerance. We recommend all organizations perform pentesting regularly, at minimum once per year. Ideally, after any significant alterations to your network infrastructure. This helps ensure your network is protected against the latest threats and vulnerabilities, and that any potential risks are promptly addressed.  

Is repeated penetration testing required?

Some regulatory compliance may require frequent pentesting for certain organizations with high-value assets, such as financial institutions or healthcare providers. That’s because these organizations handle sensitive information and are at a higher risk of cyberattacks. One example is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which requires annual pentesting for credit card-accepting merchants. 

How often should an organization pentest? 

We recommend you conduct penetration testing at least annually. On the other hand, organizations with lower-risk assets may not need to conduct pentesting just as often. However, we do suggest a risk assessment to better gauge the proper frequency of a pentest. It’s important to factor in your organization’s current security measures and the potential impact of a successful attack when planning a pentest.

Our recommendation is to carry out penetration testing at least once a year. Nonetheless, organizations with lower-risks assets may not require pentesting as frequently. However, it is advisable to perform a risk assessment to determine the appropriate frequency of pentesting. Remember than when planning a pentest, it is crucial to consider your organization’s current security measures and the potential impact of a successful attack.

It’s important to note that a one-time pentest may not be sufficient to fully evaluate your system’s security. New vulnerabilities are discovered constantly and new attack vectors may appear over time. So, regular testing is necessary to stay ahead of potential threats. Especially after any substantial modifications made to the system, such as the introduction of new software or hardware.

How long does a pentest usually last?

The duration of a pentest may vary depending on the scope and complexity of your system. A simple test on a small network or app may only take a few days. While a complex test on a larger network or app can take several weeks to complete. Also, a test’s duration may depend on the type of assessment being performed. For example, a basic vulnerability assessment may take a shorter amount of time than a full-scale pentest. The latter usually requires a more comprehensive and meticulous examination of the system being tested and its defenses. Furthermore, your specific needs and the goals of your organization may factor in as well.

In addition to scheduled pentesting, we also recommended conducting regular vulnerability assessments. A vulnerability assessment is a methodical system examination to identify and prioritize vulnerabilities, typically less invasive than a pentest. These can be done more frequently to provide a more comprehensive view of your organization’s security posture.

Stay ahead of cyber threats

In short, the frequency of pentesting directly correlates on the criticality of your protected assets, your organization’s risk tolerance, and other major components. It is recommended to conduct penetration testing at least annually for high-value assets, but organizations with lower-risk assets may not need to conduct penetration testing as often. Additionally, regular vulnerability assessments should be performed to provide a more comprehensive view of an organization’s security posture. 

Protect your organization from potential cyber threats! Schedule a comprehensive penetration testing service with us. Our experts will simulate real-world attacks to identify vulnerabilities in your system and provide actionable recommendations to improve your security posture. Don’t wait for a breach to occur, contact us today.