do you need to change annually?

Outpost24 Annual Pentest

You might have heard about the practice of pen test vendor rotation, or even tried it yourself. This is where organizations change their pen test providers annually to avoid complacency and maintain an objective perspective on their security posture.

Pen testing isn’t an exact science – you can never be totally sure all vulnerabilities have been found. Different vendors have different skillsets and areas of expertise, so it stands to reason that rotating between them will catch more issues in the long run.

However, is this strategy truly effective?

We’ll give you the facts on whether you really need to change pen test providers every year, and consider how continuous testing solutions, like those offered in the Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS) model, present an effective alternative.

The argument for pen testing vendor rotation

First things first, changing pen test providers annually isn’t a hard and fast rule set by regulatory bodies. It’s more of a best practice that some organizations choose to follow.

The idea is that bringing in a new team each year might help uncover vulnerabilities that a previous tester missed. The arguments for pen testing vendor rotation include:  

  • Fresh perspective: New testers may identify issues that previous ones missed.
  • Diverse techniques: Different vendors might use varied tools and methodologies, potentially uncovering unique vulnerabilities.
  • Benchmarking: Comparing findings from different vendors can help in benchmarking and improving security standards.
  • Competition: Regularly rotating vendors can lead to healthy competition, with each hoping to impress your organization and win return business in the future.

Drawbacks of rotating pen testing providers

There are also arguments against regularly rotating pen test vendors.

Some experts believe that building a long-term relationship with a single trusted vendor can actually be more beneficial. Some potential problems with rotating your pen testers include:

  • Lack of consistency: With different vendors every year, there’s a lack of consistency in testing approach and reporting style which makes it challenging to track progress over time.
  • Learning curve: Each new vendor will need time and resources to understand your organization’s infrastructure and systems, leading to a learning curve that can impact the effectiveness of testing. In contrast, long-term relationships with a single vendor allow the testers to gain in-depth knowledge of your organization’s evolving systems and security posture.
  • Internal time and resource use: The process of onboarding a new vendor every year can consume significant time and resources for your internal security teams.
  • Financial costs: Constantly changing vendors can lead to additional financial costs in terms of time and resources spent on contract negotiations, vendor management, and knowledge transfer.

PTaaS: A sustainable alternative

Rotating vendors is one way to ensure a fresh perspective and prevent complacency in pen testing. However, constantly onboarding new vendors can also be time-consuming and resource intensive.

This is where PTaaS comes in as a sustainable alternative.

PTaaS allows organizations to outsource their pen testing needs to a single provider that manages the entire process from start to finish. This eliminates the need to constantly onboard and manage multiple vendors, saving time and resources.

PTaaS providers also typically have a standardized approach to testing, making it easier to compare and analyze results.

Another benefit of PTaaS is that it offers consistent and more frequent testing timelines for enhanced security. This means that organizations can schedule regular pen tests, as opposed to annual ones, without worrying about coordinating different schedules.

Finally, PTaaS vendors typically have a larger pool of testers, who bring a diverse set of skills and perspectives to the testing process. The testing can be more in-depth and fully customized to your needs.

What’s the verdict?

While rotating pen test providers annually may bring some benefits, a continuous and comprehensive testing approach can offer you a more effective solution.

The best PTaaS solutions offer a large pool of testers, consistent methodologies, real-time insights, and scalability.

Look at a PTaaS solution for web apps

Outpost24’s PTaaS solution, SWAT, delivers continuous monitoring of internet facing web applications via a SaaS delivery model. Additional benefits include:

  • Manual testing with human analysts: Outpost24’s large team of in-house testers offer a diverse skill set and unique experience, ensuring that your applications are evaluated through a fresh perspective.
  • Consistency and depth of knowledge: With PTaaS, you benefit from consistent testing methodologies and reporting standards while gaining a deeper understanding of your application security posture over time.
  • Alignment with Agile and DevOps: Outpost24’s approach is tailored to fit seamlessly into Agile and DevOps environments, supporting continuous integration and deployment.
  • Real-time insights and rapid response: The service provides real-time insights and alerts, enabling immediate action on identified vulnerabilities, rather than waiting for a report at the end of the testing cycle.
  • Scalability and flexibility: The PTaaS model scales effortlessly with your needs, offering the flexibility that traditional pen test models often lack.
  • Cost-effective: By eliminating the need for annual vendor rotation, Outpost24’s PTaaS can be a more cost-effective solution in the long run.

Learn more about how Outpost24 can revolutionize your application security strategy.

Sponsored and written by Outpost24.

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