Penetration Testing. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Why PTaaS Over Traditional Penetration Testing

CISOs demand faster and more affordable risk remediation

Seemant Sehgal, CEO, BreachLock

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Nov. 9, 2022

With the rise in digital transformation and innovation, threat actors are on the hunt. Take ransomware as an example. In 2021, ransomware attacks increased by 13 percent, surpassing the last five years combined, as ransomware-as-a-service has proliferated on the dark web.

Companies are dealing with unmanaged attack surfaces — in part due to security debt incurred back in 2020, as the pandemic forced businesses online and workers to remote offices. Many companies are still recovering financially from investing in new business-as-usual requirements, as touchless payments, online delivery, and remote work are now the norm. To combat the lag in security, new compliance mandates are in motion to help set new security standards for today’s modern digital businesses.

These changes have added more work for DevOps remediation tasks. Meanwhile, security and technology leaders must accelerate risk remediation — it’s one of the last levers that can significantly mitigate cybersecurity risk nowadays.

The Root Causes for Remediation Delays

There are three key challenges causing systemic delays in rapid remediation:

  • Developers are not trained to secure code in the CI/CD pipeline.
  • Security Analysts are alert-fatigued and flooded with hundreds of daily alerts from out-of-tune, out-of-the-box security tools. Investigating and triaging false positives with DevOps is a waste of their limited time and increases the risk of missing actual threats.
  • DevOps Engineers can’t mitigate vulnerabilities fast enough, thanks to the same false positive and duplicative alerts the SOC is dealing with, in addition to scan-sensitive, difficult-to-patch legacy systems, zero-day exploits with POCs online, and increasing internal demand for compliant systems.

Why are these challenges not solved yet? When surveyed, security practitioners’ answers are the same: there aren’t enough resources, time, or experienced staff to get these mission-critical jobs done.

Technology leaders that enable DevOps for rapid remediation can help stop preventable incidents before they impact security operations. When integrated with a penetration testing service, DevOps can take immediate, impactful actions on remediation findings in the initial pentesting report. Taking it one step further, CTOs have a new option to reduce their TCO with a penetration testing as a service (PTaaS) provider. A trusted PTaaS provider integrates DevOps within the penetration testing lifecycle — enabling rapid remediation during the actual pentesting engagement. With PTaaS, technology leaders can measurably improve security outcomes and meet their compliance requirements at the same time (HIPAA, PCI-DSS, CCPA, GDPR, SOC 2 Type 2).

The PTaaS Approach to Rapid Remediation

It’s no coincidence that the demand for penetration testers has increased lately, starting back in 2020. With the recent shift to touchless payments, fast delivery, and remote work, companies now run business operations in cloud-native, multi-cloud, and hybrid environments. The demand for penetration testing services has increased and is projected to continue for many years to come.

At the same time, the workforce gap is widening globally. Cybersecurity Ventures reveals an alarming gap of 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally, with approximately 700,000 open roles in North America alone. The 2022 (ISC)² Workforce Study highlighted 70 percent of surveyed cybersecurity professionals think their organization does not have enough cybersecurity employees. The workforce gap has made it difficult — and expensive — to attract, hire, and retain certified ethical hackers and DevOps engineers. Mission-critical staffing for penetration testing and rapid risk remediation has become “Mission Impossible.”

Regardless of the staffing constraints, CISOs understand that time is of the essence to stop a preventable breach from occurring. In this year’s annual Penetration Testing Intelligence Report, BreachLock researchers revealed it takes an average of 46 days to remediate critical findings, including vulnerabilities like authentication bypass and hard coded credentials (two vulns that need rapid remediation before an attacker finds them). Further calling out the need for rapid remediation, recent research on ransomware attacks showed that new TTPs can encrypt networks in four short days. Improving remediation speed is no longer an optional consideration for DevOps and security operations — it’s a pivotal risk management strategy.

In today’s era where zero-day vulnerabilities are published online with step-by-step PoCs, and ransomware-as-a-service and initial access brokers offer footholds on high value targets via dark web auctions, CTOs and CISOs that prioritize rapid remediation in 2023 will significantly improve security outcomes and measurably reduce overall security risks.

The security risks associated with digital transformation in the cloud must be managed proactively to achieve a fortified security posture. Due to the complexity with Governance Risk & Compliance mandates and frameworks, which include pentesting and offensive security requirements, DevOps and SOC workstreams are the key to managing rapid risk mitigation tasks.

There is a better way.

Traditional Pentesting Siloes and Delays Remediation

Old school penetration testing is slow, expensive, and unpredictable. From large consultant firms, expensive scope creep, and unnecessary manual techniques, enterprise teams in charge of red teaming and bulk testing cannot get results from traditional solutions in the marketplace today. In addition, these central teams are receiving an overwhelming number of reports on vulnerability management, static code analysis, dynamic code testing, cloud controls, compliance reporting, and more. It can take weeks to get a single test done properly while dealing with unpredictable hackers-for-hire, false positives in findings, and unclear remediation guidance.

What is Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS)?

Before we move on, let us ensure that we’re on the same page regarding PTaaS. Normally, a company would have to hire an internal team or pay for services from an outside firm to undergo periodic testing. Penetration Testing as a Service, also known as PTaaS, automates and streamlines the penetration testing process by outsourcing it to a vendor with the proper capabilities, which include automation, artificial intelligence for scanning, and gathering digital forensics evidence. Certified ethical hackers review automated findings, remove false positives, and provide remediation guidance within the window of the penetration testing lifecycle.

With the right PTaaS provider, DevOps is brought in for rapid remediation early, before the final penetration testing report is delivered. This saves organizations time and money on compliance-related DevOps remediation, freeing up funds to reallocate to other priority initiatives that will help secure the business (e.g., migrating patch-sensitive legacy systems) and prevent threats that would ultimately impact security operations.

What are the Benefits of PTaaS over traditional penetration testing?

By consolidating penetration testing services with one PTaaS vendor, the central Cloud Engineering team can focus on mitigating identified risks instead of conducting the tests themselves. This saves time and energy that would be wasted otherwise. PTaaS also offers remediation within the penetration testing lifecycle, which provides DevOps teams access to remediation guidance and expert customer support to quickly address any initial vulnerabilities that are identified.

Not only does PTaaS allow for faster risk remediation, but it is also more affordable and provides access to greater expertise and resources. Switching to PTaaS can improve your risk remediation by 50 percent or higher. It is an excellent solution for any organization looking to enhance its security posture.

The days of traditional penetration testing are numbered because a superior solution has arrived — penetration testing as a service. PTaaS is an affordable and time-saving way for companies to keep their security vulnerabilities in check. In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, PTaaS allows organizations to stay ahead of threats and continuously monitor and remediate vulnerabilities.

Advanced Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS) with BreachLock

BreachLock is an innovative penetration testing company that provides streamlined, consistent findings and integrates remediation into the penetration testing lifecycle. Our certified ethical experts validate and guide your remediation every step of the way to ensure you meet all requirements. With BreachLock as your PTaaS provider, you can rest assured that your test with BreachLock will help you mitigate risks associated with preventable breaches. Curious to see how it works? Learn more with a discovery call with BreachLock’s PTaaS experts.

Seemant Sehgal is the founder and CEO at BreachLock

Sponsored by BreachLock

Affordable, Smarter and Scalable Cyber Security Testing

BreachLock™ offers a SaaS platform that enables our clients to request and receive a comprehensive penetration test with a few clicks.

Our unique approach makes use of manual as well as automated vulnerability discovery methods aligned with industry best practices.

We execute in-depth manual penetration testing and provide you with both offline and online reports. We retest your fixes and certify you for executing a Penetration Test. This is followed up with monthly automated scanning delivered via the BreachLock platform. Throughout this process, you have access to the platform and our security experts who will help you find, fix, and prevent the next cyber breach.

Find out why penetration testing with BreachLock™ is the leading choice for startups, SMBs, and enterprises around the world.

BreachLock has offices in The Netherlands, London, New York City, and Wilmington, Del.