How often should web penetration testing be conducted?

How often should web penetration testing be conducted?
Jason Gillam
Author: Jason Gillam

Web application penetration testing is an essential part of keeping your web or mobile application secure. But how often should you conduct a test? Here's a look at the factors you should consider.

Why regular web penetration testing is important

Regular web application penetration testing is an essential part of any comprehensive application security program and is critical in keeping user data safe from cyber-attacks. By conducting regular tests, organizations can identify vulnerabilities in their web applications before attackers do – providing them with the opportunity to remediate any issues before they become large-scale problems. Regular testing also helps organizations stay compliant with industry security regulations, protecting them from legal and financial ramifications.

How often a web application should be tested, according to industry standards

OWASP recommends conducting web application penetration tests regularly to ensure the highest level of security. However, exactly how often should these tests be performed? According to industry standards, web applications should be tested at least once in each major cycle of the software development life cycle (SDLC), and OWASP further suggests testing after any significant changes are made to or impacting the application or environment. By regularly running this type of test, an organization can detect and mitigate risks quickly, helping them stay one step ahead of potential cyber threats.

What factors to consider when deciding how often to test

When considering how often you should conduct a web application penetration test, security risk, and compliance must be taken into account. It’s important to consider what kind of information the application is handling, your organization’s security policy, and any applicable legal or industry regulations. Also factor in the sensitivity of the data and its classification within your organization. By doing this, you can ensure that security risks are minimized and all necessary measures are taken to comply with security standards.

Tips for conducting an effective web penetration test

Here are some tips for setting up regular web penetration testing:

  • Implement a shift-left mindset, which is to say security decisions and testing should be conducted earlier (i.e. to the left) in project timelines.
  • Generate security requirements and validation tests as part of features (i.e. include in stories) rather than risking major course corrections later. Use these validation tests to drive scoped penetration testing activities within your SDLC.
  • Consider penetration testing in your deployment plan so that a suitable penetration test environment is available as needed.
  • Conduct full application penetration testing efforts with major feature releases, interspersed with smaller scoped penetration tests for minor changes. Provide your testers with direction on what has changed.


Web application penetration testing is an important part of any organization's security program. By understanding why web penetration testing is important, how often it should be conducted, and what to consider when deciding the frequency, organizations can ensure they are effectively protecting their assets and data. In order to get the most out of a web penetration test, there are certain tips that should be followed. Organizations that want assistance conducting an effective web application penetration test or integrating it into their SDLC can reach out to us for help. Schedule a call today to learn more about how we can work within your existing processes to improve your security posture.

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