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Penetration testing is an essential methodology used to discover and remediate vulnerabilities and reduce risks from cyber-attacks and cybercrime. Regular penetration testing is recommended and, in some industries, is required for certification and regulatory compliance. Penetration testing is most effective when it can be automated, and the analysis is performed by experts periodically.

1 Introduction / Executive Summary

Organizations are under constant threat from cyber-attacks. With the business shifting to digital services and becoming dependent on IT services to operate reliably and securely, they need to strengthen their cyber resilience. This requires, amongst several other measures, implementing proactive cybersecurity approaches that help the organizations to measure and rate their state of cybersecurity resilience. This includes the discovery and documentation of exploitable vulnerabilities across the attack surface, so that they can take targeted measures to remediate and close gaps.

One element of such proactive cybersecurity approaches is penetration testing. Nowadays, penetration testing typically is a combination of manual and automated testing, performed by pen testers against the IT infrastructure of the organization. Penetration testing is shifting from occasional tests towards continual testing approaches.

There are several benefits of running penetration tests, beyond just fulfilling the regulatory and other compliance requirements. For instance, penetration testing is a key tool for identifying vulnerabilities in the organization’s IT infrastructure, across all layers. A good penetration test provides actionable information for strengthening cybersecurity posture. Additionally, penetration tests can help organizations understand the potential impact of critical zero-day vulnerabilities when they appear, such as log4j.

The biggest challenge today lies in the fact that there is a huge shortage of cybersecurity talent and skills on the market. Few organizations can staff their own teams to do rigorous and comprehensive penetration testing on their own. They require partners and automation to succeed. Diversity also adds value; having ethical hackers with different backgrounds and experience can better represent the full range of potential attacker behavior.

Penetration testing is evolving, and organizations must redefine the approaches they take. Synack, with their network of highly qualified security researchers around the globe, their own automated tools, and their on-demand platform, offers a mature and comprehensive way of pen testing.

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