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Penetration Test FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

This article provides answers to common questions about penetration tests.


Penetration Test FAQs

If you are new to the business of conducting penetration tests then you probably have a lot of questions about it. We have provided our concise answers to some of the most common questions below:

FAQs about Penetration Tests behavior:

  • question: What is a Penetration Test? answer: A penetration test is an adversarial assessment of a system's security controls by a qualified expert. See our full article for a more detailed description.

  • question: How much does a Penetration Test cost? answer: The cost of a Penetration Test typically ranges from $10,000 to $45,000 (USD). There are several factors that contribute to the cost, and some testing will fall outside of this range.

  • question: What are the risks of a Penetration Test? answer: The largest risks of a Penetration Test include system outages and data loss. In general, these risks can be lowered significantly by employing qualified experts.

  • question: How long does it take to do a Penetration Test? answer: With some exceptions, the active testing window for most penetration tests varies from three to ten days depending on the scope of the test. The total time of the engagement including pre-engagement activities and reporting will typically run somewhere between 2.5 to 4 weeks.

  • question: Why does the price of Penetration Testing vary so much? answer: Penetration Test pricing is normally estimated by effort at a given resource rate. Different companies have various rates and various methods of scoping the effort. See our full article for a better understanding of factors that influence the price of a Penetration Test.

  • question: Why are Penetration Tests necessary? answer: A Penetration Test by a qualified expert is by far the most practical, thorough and accurate assessment of security controls in most situations. It is therefore one of the best methods of assessing your security.

  • question: How often do I need a Penetration Test? answer: In most cases a penetration test is necessary annually or whenever there is a significant change to the system or application. Specific requirements may vary according to certain regulations and internal policies.

  • question: Can I do my own Penetration Test? answer: You can perform your own penetration tests if you have hired qualified experts, however there are some regulations that require a third-party penetration test.

  • question: Can I use a bug bounty program in place of a Penetration Test? answer: Although a bug bounty program may be beneficial to organizations with mature security programs, it cannot replace a penetration test engagement. There are several important differences between bug bounties and penetration tests.


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We hope you found these helpful. Please contact us if you have additional questions.

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