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What is the End Result of a Penetration Test?

What is the End Result of a Penetration Test?
  • Discover
  • Penetration testing

6 Oct 2022

The end result of a penetration test is an insightful and detailed report. A good pentesting report must include an executive summary of findings, a breakdown of the process, and security recommendations.

Before launching a new project, you need to detect where you are weak. Pentesting will eliminate the window of opportunity for those with ill intent. That’s when penetration testing comes into play. Pentester’s job entails scrutinizing every nook and cranny of your systems. Basically, they perform a real reconnaissance that goes far beyond a regular vulnerability scan. If done consistently over time – once or twice a year – pen testing will ensure your project remains resilient despite ever-growing cyber threats. 

The end result of any test of this type is a penetration test report, a wrap-up of a multi-step process. A report allows the project owners and their technical teams to make informed decisions on addressing security threats, big and small.

The Structure of a Killer Pen Testing Report

An effective pen testing report typically includes:

  • An executive summary of the findings. This part of the report doesn’t contain any excessive technical details as it’s for the project executives. It describes any revealed vulnerabilities and suggests the optimal solutions for security enhancements.  
  • A breakdown of the whole process. This section of the pen testing report walks you through each step of the attack process. It explains how exactly “attackers” infiltrated your system environment.  For example, it might show that the attacker managed to infect your employee’s laptop with simulated malware via a seemingly legitimate update. Then, it describes the path taken to gain access to login credentials or other data.
  • Recommendations for improving the security of your systems. The most valuable part of the report with recommendations for each revealed vulnerability. It will let you build a viable strategy for mitigating existing threats. . This section should refrain from naming any specific software tools or systems as the tech landscape is changing fast.

The Value of a Strong Penetration Testing Report

As the ultimate deliverable after any penetration testing process, a pen test report has three significant benefits:

  • You will know how to move forward as you’ll be provided with a clear roadmap on how to revamp your systems to prevent ethically challenged individuals from compromising them. 
  • A pen test report from a trusted cybersecurity company will serve as a safety certificate to assure your customers that security is one of your key priorities. This will give you a clear competitive edge since cyber crimes are increasing day by day.
  • Having a  pen test report will make you compliant with most IT regulations regarding data protection. For example, GDPR and CCPA require all data holders to show that they have taken reasonable measures to prevent data loss.

The Importance of a Follow-Up

Many believe that a pentest ends immediately after the report. The system gets a check-up, and if everything turns out fine, no need for a follow-up. This isn’t how penetration tests work.

The goal of a pentest isn’t to confirm that a system is hackable. After all, any system is prone to hacks in theory. A pen test report is to explain how the system responds to specific attacks. Those who want to make their system resilient should order pen testing on a regular basis and after each major update. After all, what works today, might fail to work tomorrow.

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