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Is Penetration Testing Worth It? Maximizing the ROI on Penetration Testing as a Service

May 27, 2021
| by:
Alex Hewko
Calculating the ROI on Penetration Testing as a Service

“Is penetration testing worth it for me?”

It’s one of the most common questions we get.

It’s a fair question. After all, you already have a team of security experts. Your developers are writing secure code. You’re using agile methodology to fix small problems before they become big problems.

There are even plenty of free security tools out there for developers to use.

So, why would you even need pentesting?

Our preferred response?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. And fortunately, pentesting does a few things that other security assessments cannot.

Some Types of Penetration Testing

What to consider as you calculate the true ROI on Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS).
What Penetration Testing Accomplishes

The complex nature of digital business operations today means that it’s all but impossible to create perfect defense tactics. Hackers know this. As such, they bank on your staff being too busy or too inexperienced to be aware of all the threats out there.

Most of the time, they’re right. In 2020, the global average cyber breach cost a business $3.86 million. However, in the US, this cost skyrocketed to an average $8.64 million per business. On top, they took upward of 280 days to uncover.

Penetration tests create a clear sense of how well your system or software would stand up to an actual cybersecurity incident. They’re a step up from a roleplaying scenario in that an actual attack is simulated. The pentest is carried out by professionals who will use their findings to help improve your overall cybersecurity strategy.

This is a key reason why penetration tests are worth it. They give you a look at your own cybersecurity from a criminal’s perspective. No other assessment, simulation, or roleplaying exercise can deliver that.

The Difference Between Traditional Pentests and PTaaS

In agile methodology, there’s a saying to “Fail early, fail often.” 

The idea behind it isn’t that you should be striving for failure, but rather that controlled failure means an opportunity to evolve.

How do we control failure?

First, by making small changes constantly. Then, confirming that the changes work, and then moving to the next change. Small failures are easier to overcome than big ones.

Imagine spending months working on a software update. Then, you release it and spend the next year working out bugs. Finally, you learn that a security vulnerability introduced by the first patch you released was actually exploited two days after it went live.

We’ve seen it happen. That initial penetration test you performed prior to release wouldn’t have done a thing to stop it. One-off penetration tests don’t support future updates. They only look for bugs in the current version of the system.

In contrast, PTaaS tests your build each time you make a change to your software or system. It leverages automation for certain tasks. And in addition, it provides professional insight into the architecture of your system to test the parts that must be tested. In turn, you’ll enjoy targeted retesting (in addition to quarterly deep assessments) that is precise and effective every single time.


How PTaaS Can Help Companies Save Big

When calculating the ROI on PTaaS, your guiding question needs to be about how often your system or software changes.

Traditional pentests are fantastic for legacy software and monolithic applications that don’t require constant updates. This is similar to many office servers and computer networks. However, if you’re using DevOps to power your software development, they can only go so far.

Here are five reasons Penetration Testing as a Service is worth the investment:
  1. Early Flaws Get the Fix

Just like the early birds gets the worm, finding security flaws before hackers do is the biggest reason companies participate in pentesting and PTaaS.

Every software update or patch is an opportunity for a new vulnerability to slip into the mix. But finding and closing those vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them will save you from paying for:

  • Fines. Each industry has specific standards for data protection and respective fines for those that don’t follow procedure.
  • Lost business. Approximately 81 percent of consumers will stop doing business with you after a breach.
  • Ransoms. If you’re hit with ransomware, you may face extortion demands ranging into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 2020, it was estimated that Canada had more than 4,000 ransomware demands with a minimum cost estimate of US$164,772,274.
  • Forced upgrades. After a breach, investing in that costly antivirus subscription you didn’t want to get in the first place will become unavoidable.
  • Remediation services. You may find yourself in over your head with cleaning up after an attack. You’ll need the help of professionals. Good ones are worth their weight in gold, and they know it.
  1. Staying on Schedule is Easier 

The tech world moves quickly, and you’ve got deadlines. Whether you must push out that update by tomorrow morning or seize an advantage in the market this afternoon, you don’t have time to stop and double-check that everything is secure.

Yet, you must always deliver secure software.

PTaaS helps you stay on schedule and guarantee security. This service happens right alongside your DevOps pipeline. When you push out an update, it triggers certain automated processes to begin the retesting phase.

Once finished, you get a detailed report that highlights any issues so you can fix them before pushing the update live. There’s no triage, no harassing developers with debugging, and no need to put things on hold. PTaaS works with your DevOps team and their testing processes.

We call it continuous retesting. It’s pentesting for those moving at the speed of DevOps, and PTaaS includes unlimited retesting.

  1. A Competitive Advantage Means More Business

Does the idea of taking 280 days to uncover a data breach make you terrified? It’s a reality for even the largest tech companies. Consider that in 2019 over a half billion people learned in April 2021 that their Facebook account info was leaked on the dark web two years earlier. 

Facebook is a special case in that it’s so big, this won’t destroy the company. Smaller businesses, however, don’t enjoy that same privilege.

Like the public, the tech industry doesn’t have a lot of tolerance for companies that can’t protect their data. As a result, we’ve seen the use of PTaaS become a competitive advantage.

As you calculate whether investing in PTaaS is worth it for your organization, take a look at what your competitors are doing. You may just find that being able to emphasize security is exactly the edge that shifts the odds in your favor.

  1. Better Security Cultures Breed Better Security Practices

Human error has always been a major source of cybersecurity breaches. As tech develops, human error as a source of breaches is growing. According to the Ponemon Institute, insider threats have increased by 47 percent since 2018. Most of those threats fall under “negligence.”

That means people are making mistakes that give hackers an opening into your organization.

The good news is that implementing security practices like PTaaS can actually help combat the likelihood of human error. By emphasizing security in the design of your operations, you help breed a security culture. Your team will be incentivized to perform with security in mind knowing their work will have to pass a security test. For best results, we recommend security training, too.

Security becomes expensive when you treat it as an afterthought. Building PTaaS into your DevOps the first time around and you’ll no longer have to worry about surprise breach incidents or associated bills.

  1. Expert Oversight Means No Costly Experimenting

Implementing new technology is tricky if you aren’t perfectly fluent in all your software options. Being unsure can lead to analysis paralysis and unnecessary purchases that cost you time and money. In the process, your business operations or your DevOps pipeline gets held up because you’re experimenting with solutions that simply aren’t the right fit.

When you go with a PTaaS service, that problem is solved.

Rather than investing in costly infrastructure or software that might not be what you need, professionals look over your system and implement solutions they know will work. You pay for a subscription, and specialists do all the heavy lifting.

See how Titus integrates PTaaS into their DevOps team.

Check Your Security Early and Often with PTaaS

Realizing the true ROI of Penetration Testing as a Service isn’t always straightforward. Understandably, that’s because the savings are found by not spending millions on a cybersecurity breach. Instead, the investment goes towards protection and security, at a fraction of the cost.

Get in the habit now of checking your software early and often. With PTaaS, you don’t need to wait for appointments or remediation tasks to complete. By leveraging automation and focused specialists, you’ll enjoy hacker-like security testing and insights from an outside perspective that makes your system better secured.

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About the Author

Alex Hewko
Alex is the Marketing Manager here at Software Secured. She enjoys writing to learn about cybersecurity, leadership, and technology in sales & marketing processes. She shares her insights from a background in international marketing and information technology. From launching global marketing campaigns in the tech and CE industry, to completing a Master's research project on humanizing remote B2B selling processes, Alex is passionate about storytelling and educating audiences on topics that haven't yet been talked about.
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