With the growth in the convolution of business environments and the dynamic nature of the threat landscape, security teams are switching to automated pen testing in order for their testing to be more frequent, thorough, and simpler to perform. But automation is not a synonym for simplicity.
Automated pen testing is well used in the hands of expert pen-testers in a scoped environment, since, by definition, it swindles vulnerabilities that can cause disruption. A substitute for pen testing and automated pen testing is breach and attack simulation (BAS).
But is simpler less? To answer this question, let’s look at the practices taken into account by automated pen-testing and BAS. At a high level, they can both guide you what needs fixing, but the way they tell about it is very different as is the frequency and scope of the responses.
Penetration testing is a manual testing method that evaluates the security of an environment by swindling vulnerabilities in a system or software application. Typically, pen tests are performed once or twice a year, or even quarterly in the case of organizations with rigid security compliance standards.
Breach and Attack Simulation(BAS)
Gartner identified a new technology known as Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) in its Gartner Cool Vendor report. BAS lets organizations quantify security effectiveness by simulating hackers’ breach methods which make sure that the security work is in control as expected. This ability to assess security removes bottlenecks and provides actionable results.
Scope of Automated Penetration Testing
Scope for the test In automated pen testing is set and objectives are agreed upon. The result of the effort is a binary answer – “did the tester achieve the objective?” The value given by the pen tester is in understanding how the objective was achieved and contingent upon remediation guidance. Automated pen testing helps answer the question “can an attacker get in, and how?”
Automated pen testing is simply automating the repetitive actions of pen testers, letting them do more in less time. These tools provide a large degree of customization for skilled pen testers to adapt their efforts to the scope and objective of the test.
The tester will be able to identify some of the gaps in some security controls using automated pen-testing tools and describe which techniques were used in order to avoid other controls.
Scope of Breach and Attack Simulation
The method of BAS is different in that it tests the security structure of an organization from many aspects including infrastructure configuration, employee security awareness, and security control assessments. BAS answers the ever-occurring question of “how well do our controls and policies detect and stop attackers?”
BAS is automated and is available to various skill-level experts as it relies on analysts and developers and not the ability of the end-user of an application. It gives a report based on tests that mimic reality and they are not limited to the scope of a pen test.
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