Should I Perform An In-house Or Third Party Penetration Test?

Modern organizations are constantly striving to secure their networks and infrastructure. Across the world, the information security field has turned into a constant tussle between hackers and cybersecurity professionals. The threat of cyberattacks is constantly growing. And, cybercriminals are carrying out newer, more complex forms of attacks. On the other hand, information security professionals are trying to ensure that their organization remains well-protected despite the changing threat dynamics.

In this landscape, selecting between an in-house penetration test and a third-party penetration test is becoming increasingly complex.

Third Party Penetration Testing Expertise:

The most crucial factor between an in-house penetration test against a third-party penetration test is the level of expertise of an organization’s internal security team.

Conducting penetration testing is a complex process. It requires specialist knowledge and skill set. Often, general IT teams are not trained or equipped to carry out penetration testing at par with specialist testers. To effectively conduct penetration testing, third-party penetration testers also utilize special tools, methodologies and software stacks. A general information security professional may not have access to these critical resources. Additionally, third-party penetration tests are conducted by specialist penetration testers with extensive experience and knowledge.

An in-house penetration testing also requires considerable monitoring and management oversight compared to a third-party penetration test. Thus, if your organization does not have the necessary expertise to conduct penetration testing, it is critical to utilize a third-party penetration test from a specialist cybersecurity firm.

Overall Cost:

For every cybersecurity program, it’s necessary to keep the expected costs of each component in mind.

Depending on the size of your organization and the scope of testing required, penetration testing costs can vary widely. For a small to medium organization, the cost of training and managing an in-house penetration test can add up to an exorbitant sum. The in-house team would also require special tools, software and additional resources to perform. Thus, choosing a third-party penetration test would be a better option. When employing a third-party penetration test, an organization only bears the service costs charged by the vendor.

For larger organizations, the initial costs of establishing an in-house penetration testing team may be high. However, depending on the scope and frequency of testing, it is likely to be a more cost-effective option in the long run.

Integration and Scalability:

An in-house penetration testing is more likely to be familiar with the organization’s application and network architecture. Therefore, the in-house team will be able to better integrate with the organization and its management. In several testing scenarios, the tester needs an in-depth understanding of the organization’s systems and architecture. In these cases, third-party penetration testers will first need to spend considerable time familiarizing themselves with the organization’s inner workings.

On the flip side, the internal penetration testing team may not be able to adopt the fresh perspective of an external hacker. An external penetration testing team will be able to do so with ease.

When it comes to dynamic testing needs, the scaling capacity of in-house penetration testing is limited. But, in third-party penetration tests, the specialist cybersecurity firm can rapidly scale up personnel and resources to suit your testing needs.

Vendor vetting and Testing Time:

Before employing an external penetration tester, an organization will need to conduct due diligence to ensure that its sensitive data and information will be protected by the third-party. Further vetting may also be required to ensure that the third party will be capable of meeting your testing requirements. An in-house penetration testing team will present lower hassle and security concerns in this regard.

The penetration testing process is complex and multi-tiered. A third-party penetration test may take longer than in-house penetration testing due to the additional increase in complexity. An in-house team will have better integration and familiarity with the organization’s digital systems and testing needs.

To ensure that your cybersecurity program is robust and effective, conducting regular penetration testing is paramount. It can help your organization proactively patch up existing weaknesses in your infrastructure chain. To gain the best possible results for your organization, choose between an in-house or a third-party penetration test after considering all the factors at play.

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