When it comes to penetration testing, the quality of the assessment depends on the quality of the team performing the test. However, not all pentesting teams are created equally.
But what makes one penetration testing team superior to another?
In this article, we'll outline five important characteristics that separate mediocre penetration teams from the best.
1. Skills and Experience
Performing an in-depth assessment of an organization's network and uncovering all of the potential holes in that organization's security is a task that requires plenty of experience and a unique set of skills. No two businesses are exactly alike and there’s no script for performing these tests.
Junior penetration testers could miss less-common vulnerabilities, while senior penetration testers have a higher chance of discovering them. An experienced penetration tester may also have creative methods for gaining access to a business' network, just like an actual attacker would, which a novice tester wouldn’t think of.
When deciding whether a penetration testing company is a good fit for your organization, be sure to ask for the assessment team's backgrounds and qualifications. A great penetration testing team must have many experienced testers who can uncover all of the vulnerabilities in an organization's infrastructure, not just one or two senior staff members. Look for individuals with at least ten years of experience in a Red Team or offensive security role.
Experience is the key to getting accurate results from a penetration test and not something to compromise on.
2. Staying on Top of Trends
Every day attackers are developing new tricks and techniques to advance their criminal objectives. A great penetration testing team needs to keep up with the ever-changing trends and keep a pulse on newly emerging threats.
Knowing and understanding which technologies threat actors are likely to target next could be the difference between remediating a vulnerability or staying unaware of its existence.
Remember, cybersecurity is evolving rapidly. Cybersecurity experts must continually learn new tools, techniques, and methodologies. Those dedicated to the craft of offensive security must always be aware of current events that affect cybersecurity and data privacy.
Curious to learn about the hacking techniques coming your way in 2021? Here are the top threats to watch out for.
See how Mitnick Security helped a real client uncover vulnerabilities and improve their defenses by downloading this case study.
3. Culture and Collaboration
The average attacker isn't going to limit their attacks to standard business hours, which means a simulated attack shouldn't be designed that way either. Attackers work around the clock from all over the globe, so a successful assessment requires a team of penetration testers to do the same.
Criminals will work together, bringing in individuals with specific skill sets to own an organization's network. For instance, one attacker may focus on web exploitation while their partner attempts to perform social engineering attacks on the employees. That’s why it’s crucial for a pentesting team to work hand-in-hand too, pursuing various forms of pentesting separately but together.
When reviewing options for penetration testing services, ensure that the team of individuals are skilled in various actor vectors and methods. A successful pentesting team will employ a wide array of staff, each specializing in one or more practices and leveraging different types of pentesting (as outlined in the scope of your test).
Communication is critical in any team, but it is especially crucial when explaining vulnerabilities and security risks to an organization. Explaining very technical problems to non-technical personnel can be challenging. However, it is essential to an organization's security that executive leaders understand what problems exist in their environment.
The best pentesting team can explain the threats to an organization in a way that everyone can understand. Additionally, they provide the support needed to resolve those issues promptly.
When looking for penetration testing services, ensure that the service provider can produce an easy to read and understand post-assessment report. Here’s what the pentest report should include.
5. They Love What They Do
To some, a job or career is simply a way to make money. To others, their job is what they absolutely love to do.
Penetration tests are time-consuming and often require the assessment team to work overnight to achieve their objectives. An excellent pentesting team doesn't see it as just work or just a job; they love what they do. As such, their dedication shows through in every aspect of their assessment— from scoping to reporting.
The Best in the Biz
Finding the right team to perform a penetration test for your organization is always a tough decision. Still, by looking for the characteristics we have mentioned in this article, you will undoubtedly find yourself working with a great penetration team.
Starting to hunt for pentesting partners? Our pentesting team at Mitnick Security is revered across the world for our 100% success rate. Test your company’s security with some of the best in the biz— Kevin Mitnick, once coined “the world’s most famous hacker,” and his Global Ghost Team. Explore our Pentesting Services, today.
If you’re looking for some ways to improve your security, download our 5 1/2 Easy Steps to Avoid Cyber Threats for some high-impact changes, today.