The biggest headache for any business today is cybersecurity; modern technology has improved business workflows, but it can also be the most vulnerable to catastrophic losses brought on by cyberattacks. As a result, cybersecurity experts must deal with active tasks every day to counter new cyber threats and compliance regulations.
Penetration testing, which professional service providers typically carry out, is one of the useful tools businesses utilize to get a general assessment of their cybersecurity status; however, like any other service, it comes at a price, which can occasionally be quite high.
There is no default price for penetration testing because every company is a unique case and its systems are different than the others. This article spotlights the leading factors affecting the cost of penetration testing.
Determining Factors of Penetration Testing Cost
Pen testing costs can range from $5K to $150K depending on many factors:
1. Size and Complexity
A company’s size refers to how big it is in terms of departments and employees. Pen testing involves testing all the company systems directly proportional to their organizational complexity and scale.
Complexity depends on how the company environment and network devices are varied. The more applications, devices, and systems to be tested, the higher penetration testing costs. Also, complex computer systems, networks, applications, and IP addresses will increase pen test costs.
The scope is closely related to the company’s size and complexity and plays a huge role in pen testing costs. It prioritizes tested elements, as the cybersecurity specialist will pay more attention and spend more testing time on the high-priority systems and applications. Testing scope is critical in controlling the penetration testing cost, as more time means more expenses.
Don’t prioritize testing elements yourself if you’re not a cybersecurity professional; sometimes, C-suite executives mistake prioritizing their systems based on their business functionality, not cybersecurity requirements.
Cybersecurity specialists use different methodologies and tools to perform pen testing, each with its own cost. More expensive tools and comprehensive tests can effectively get high-quality results but cost more.
A thorough penetration test is preferred if it’s done for the first time. You can later eliminate some tests to save costs, but you must consult a cybersecurity expert before making such a decision.
4. Experience and Skills
Like any service, the skills and experience of service providers vary, and experience comes with the competence necessary to do the test without breaking the system. So, it’s important to determine the required experience level before hiring any cybersecurity professional.
It’s advisable for small businesses with simple network systems to hire medium-level professionals to cut test costs instead of canceling the penetration test entirely due to its high costs.
5. Special Expenses
The costs of pen testing may include additional expenses, depending on the circumstances and service providers. While most pen tests are conducted offsite (remotely), testing on-site may be necessary for large and complex environments in some cases. It raises the test cost, especially if the service provider is located out of state, so travel expenses will also be added.
Additionally, if the pen testing requires additional time outside of regular business hours or even on the weekends, that will be considered and will raise the testing fee. Service providers also use standard equipment for each type of pen testing; however, special equipment is needed in some cases, such as setting up a lab or device, which will incur an additional cost.
The main objective of penetration testing is to uncover vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the organization’s cybersecurity. Those problems must be addressed and remediated instantly, and the remediation results must be retested to evaluate their success. So, the remediation re-testing will increase the testing budget. However, it’s critical to conduct the retest and consider it when planning pen testing.
Test dimension is the potential attack surface to consider when setting up the testing scope. It depends on the pen testing type. For example, some boundaries, such as APIs and microservices, would define application test breadth.
These boundaries could not be included in the test scope because some firms use an automated scoping approach that depends on statistics such as the number of dynamic pages in a web application.
When choosing a company, ensure to select professional firms that dive deep into determining the breadth since they usually analyze more context about the purpose and functionality of the system.
The vital and most important step is remediation. Some professional firms provide pen testing and remediation strategy or advice, which can add extra cost. Still, it is worth it, especially for organizations that don’t have a skilled IT team. Just conducting the penetration test and having a vulnerability report without proper remediation procedures will be useless.
Even after you start profiting, running a business will still be expensive, and keeping the workflow optimal will require ongoing work. Pen testing is one of cybersecurity’s most costly yet essential components, and it has recently risen to the top of the list of business expenses.
The price of pen testing varies depending on the organization. However, the fundamental elements that influence the test cost are listed in this article, including size, scope, type, etc., so when looking for pen testing services, providers accurately specify those elements to receive suitable quotes.