Resources pertaining to key features of Adlumin’s Progressive Penetration Testing.

Penetration Testing as a Service vs. PenTesting

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

Penetration testing is a vital part of cybersecurity strategies for organizations, helping them identify vulnerabilities in their systems, networks, and applications. Organizations have relied on traditional penetration testing methods, where a team of experts conducts the tests on-site. However, with the rise of technology and cloud-based services, a new approach has emerged – Penetration Testing as a Service or PTaaS.   

This blog discusses the differences between conventional penetration testing and penetration testing as a service, comparing each method. By understanding the differences, organizations can make informed decisions when choosing the right approach for their security needs. 

What is Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS)? And how is it different? 

Penetration testing as a service is a revolutionary cybersecurity approach that is gaining popularity. Unlike traditional penetration testing methods, penetration testing as a service takes advantage of the cloud and offers on-demand accessibility, making the entire process more efficient and seamless.  

With penetration testing as a service, organizations can securely access the testing platform through the cloud, eliminating the need for manual setup and configuration of testing environments. This significantly speeds up the testing process and allows for greater scalability since the necessary resources can be easily allocated as needed. 

Additionally, penetration testing as a service employs automation and machine learning technologies to enhance the testing process. These technologies can assist with scanning for vulnerabilities, analyzing results, and even suggesting remediation steps. As a result, it can offer more accurate and comprehensive testing, saving time and effort for organizations. 

To further investigate what solution is best for your organization, let’s explore the differences:  

Who conducts the penetration test? 

Penetration Testing:  

Penetration tests are typically conducted by specialized cybersecurity professionals known as ethical hackers or penetration testers. These individuals have extensive knowledge and experience in identifying and exploiting security vulnerabilities. They follow a systematic approach to test the effectiveness of an organization’s security controls and identify areas where improvements are needed.  

Penetration Testing as a Service: 

Many organizations choose to engage in external penetration testing services provided by third-part services, such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR) providers. These providers have specialized expertise and access to advanced tools and techniques that can comprehensively assess an organization’s security posture. 

How long does a penetration test take? 

Penetration Testing:  

The duration of a penetration test can vary depending on the availability of resources and information, the test’s scope, or the target system’s complexity. On average, a penetration test can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete.   

Penetration Testing as a Service:

With penetration testing as a service, the testing is run based on your convenience or when your team wants to schedule them. Moving penetration tests to ‘as a service’ eliminates needing someone to manually set up pen tests. Instead, they can be scheduled to run on a regular basis or when you want, allowing for consistent assessments and updates. This means the duration can be longer than a one-time conventional test, but it provides more comprehensive and up-to-date security coverage. 

Will there be communication between an organization and the penetration testers? 

Penetration Testing:

During a penetration test, the communication between the penetration testers and the internal team can vary based on the policies and procedures of the organization. In some cases, there may be little to no interaction between the two groups, with the penetration testers working independently and providing updates only to a designated point of contact, such as a project manager. 

Penetration Testing as a Service: 

Two options are offered: the organization runs the tests independently, or an MDR provider manages the tests through a Progressive Penetration Testing Program  

Utilizing an MDR provider allows for seamless and direct communication between internal teams and penetration testers throughout the project, resulting in a more streamlined process. By eliminating unnecessary mediators, the exchange of information becomes more efficient and effective. 

The close collaboration enables any friction or misunderstanding to be promptly addressed, clarified, and resolved during the penetration test. This not only ensures a smoother workflow but also allows for quicker resolution of any issues. 

Additionally, it provides a valuable opportunity for the organization’s employees to enhance their skills by working alongside penetration testers. By actively participating in the penetration testing process, they can gain valuable insights and knowledge, ultimately improving their capabilities in cybersecurity. 

When can I see the results? 

Penetration Testing:  

One of the significant limitations of traditional penetration tests is the delayed communication of results. Typically, the findings are only conveyed at the end of the tests. Consequently, potentially crucial vulnerabilities may remain unaddressed for extended periods, ranging from days to even weeks. 

Penetration Testing as a Service:   

When a penetration tester detects a vulnerability, the platform immediately notifies the organization. This real-time alert allows internal teams to address the issue promptly, even before the penetration test is complete. Organizations can deploy patches and test them against cybercriminals without the need for another round of testing.  

This continuous reporting system, coupled with the ability to collaborate with penetration testers, enables the organization’s IT team to gain valuable insights into the remediation of vulnerabilities. 

Penetration Testing as a Service vs. PenTesting 

Penetration testing as a service offers organizations an affordable and convenient solution for assessing their cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Organizations can quickly identify and mitigate potential threats with on-demand access to human-led penetration testing combined with automation. It also provides continuous monitoring and real-time reports for faster resolution. This approach ensures higher accuracy and data analytics and makes penetration testing more accessible and cost-effective compared to traditional methods. By illuminating potential risks, penetration testing as a service enables organizations to adopt effective defenses and enhance their security posture. 

Ultimately, the choice between penetration testing and penetration testing as a service depends on an organization’s unique needs and financial resources. Traditional penetration testing may be ideal for certain tasks, but it is crucial to assess the areas where assistance is needed and select the most appropriate option to meet the organization’s security requirements. 

Stay Informed

Subscribe to Adlumin’s blog series and gain access to actionable advice and step-by-step guides from cybersecurity experts.

How Adlumin’s Progressive Penetration Testing Helped a Financial Institution Immediately Identify Vulnerabilities

Discover how Adlumin’s Security Operations Platform empowered this financial institution to take control of their security and compliance, uncover hidden cyber threats, and streamline data analysis and compliance workflows.

In this paper, you’ll learn how, using Penetration Testing, they successfully identified and remedied critical security gaps within minutes, providing actionable insights to safeguard against potential breaches.
Curious about the potential benefits of Penetration Testing for your financial institution? Download this paper today.

Penetration Testing for Enterprises FAQ

By: Brittany Demendi, Corporate Communications Manager

How and when did penetration testing begin?

The concept of penetration testing, commonly known as ‘pentesting’ or ‘ethical hacking,’ first started around the 1960s, when cybersecurity experts informed the government that its computer communications lines were not as secure as they thought. To further investigate, the government brought in what they called “Tiger Teams,” named after special military teams, according to Infosec Institute, to hack their own network. Most government systems failed fast, however, they learned two things: first, that they could be accessed, and second, penetration testing was a valuable technique to identify any weak points in networks, systems, hardware, and software that needed to be further developed, thought out, and studied.

Is penetration testing considered a “luxury” tactic?

If penetration testing has been around since the 1960s, why is it a relatively new practice organizations implement into their security plan? It is estimated, by Infosec Institute, that $6.4 billion is spent on security checks and tools each year, with penetration tools not even skimming that surface. It is also considered to be only about a decade old, formally established in 2009. In addition, it mainly comes down to the lack of proper resources.

Penetration can be expensive trying to source in-house. Yes, there are penetration testers out there, but when our country is hitting an all-time high of open cybersecurity jobs, it can be tough to find the right experts to facilitate a penetration test properly, effectively, and consistently.

What is the difference between pentesting and scanning for vulnerabilities?

Vulnerability scanning, and penetration testing are sometimes mistaken as the same type of service. One of the main issues many organizations have is whether they will utilize or purchase one when they really need both to have the best proactive protection. A vulnerability scan is a high-level automated test that looks for vulnerabilities. It is a more passive approach to vulnerability management.

As it is possible to take vulnerability scanning to the next level with Continuous Vulnerability Management, it is still essential to add penetration testing in the mix because they work hand-in-hand. Continuous Vulnerability Management is continuous, while penetration testing is customized with various deployment options. Both programs play a critical role in building a healthy cybersecurity plan.

Do I need pentesting in my cybersecurity strategy?

Penetration testing allows organizations to evaluate the overall security posture of their IT infrastructure. An organization may have a robust security plan and strategy in place in one area but could be lacking in another. A successful cyberattack can be detrimental to most organizations, which means, no organization should wait for a real-world attack before utilizing its offense. Penetration testing exposes holes within every security layer, allowing cybersecurity experts to proactively act on shortcomings before they become a liability. Testing is focused on finding out how cybercriminals can get in.

This technique should not be a one-and-done type of effort. It is most efficient if it is a part of an ongoing vigilance. It is best to look for every possible open door into a network rather than finding one way in and calling it a day. Whenever there are security patch updates, which is a part of vulnerability scanning and patching as a service, or new applications used by employees, unknown risks open the door for cybercriminals. The most proactive way to slam those doors shut is to uncover any new security weaknesses by working on the offensive side of the game.

In addition to proactive cybersecurity protection, here are a few more reasons penetration testing is becoming a non-negotiable aspect of security plans:

  • Checking the box of compliance standards: penetration testing allows organizations to maintain industry standards and compliance regulations.
  • Improve security posture: penetration testing helps prioritize and address vulnerabilities with actionable results.
  • Hunting real-world vulnerabilities: weak endpoints are exposed in an organization’s computer system.

How do I perform a penetration test?

Penetration testing involves identifying an exploit, designing an attack, and performing a simulation of that attack to determine the best strategies to overcome a digital adversary. The nature of the exploit will often determine the resources that will be required to mitigate the risk. It combines manual and active attempts by pen testers to hack networks alongside automated tools that scan 24×7 for vulnerabilities.

Together, this is thought to offer a broader security review and has since evolved into cybersecurity services. This approach allows organizations of all sizes that may not be able to expand their IT team internally to a wide array of penetration tools and services like a Progressive Penetration Testing Program with experts to manage them.

In general though, penetration testing can be offered affordably, all while providing the utmost security protection. Specifically, Progressive Penetration Testing simulates different vantage points to see if any critical data can be accessed. In addition, documentation is provided and explained for each vulnerability, evidence, impact, recommendation, and observed instance.

Sometimes your IT teams are too close to the network to carry out effective tests, so turning to external cybersecurity experts to carry out a progressive penetration program can be the best way to monitor from different angles. Penetration tests transform into results with actionable insights for the stakeholder and decision-makers. There becomes more of an emphasis on the weak points exposed, better preparing a defense, and strengthening the offense.

For more information on progressive penetration programs, visit Or, if you are ready to get started with a demo or free trial, contact a cybersecurity expert today.

Importance of Penetration Testing in Cybersecurity

By: Brittany Demendi, Corporate Communications Manager

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also known as “pentesting” and commonly known as “ethical hacking,” is a technique used by professionals like Adlumin’s Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Team to shine a light on potential vulnerabilities. Pen testing involves identifying and testing these vulnerabilities within an organization’s network in a controlled environment. In our case, the MDR Team takes on the mindset of a cybercriminal and mimics the actions or strategies of an attack to evaluate where the weak points are. Penetration testing can also test compliance regulations to resolve any risks.

In a previous blog post, we covered the Four Critical Areas for Planning a Penetration Test. This blog will dive into the benefits of implementing a Progressive Penetration Testing Program and how it can improve overall security posture.

#1: Meet Industry Data Compliance Regulations

Every industry now requires some type of data compliance regulations and/or guidelines to ensure customer trustworthiness, protection of data, and to achieve proper security posture. Penetration binds organizations to the reality of their network health. When it comes time for compliance reporting and monitoring, penetration testing takes it to the next level by suggesting actions for remediation.

Regardless of the ever-changing industry landscape (threats and regulations), the goal is to ensure compliance. Standards like PCI DSS, NIST, HIPPA, NCUA ACET, FFIEC CAT, and others have become more than just a paperwork exercise or checkbox. Most auditors ask teams to use data-driven processes to show regulatory compliance and improve cyber-risk maturity.

# 2: Minimize Risks to Improve Cybersecurity Postures

A penetration test is one of the best ways to expose vulnerabilities and risks to a network. This ensures all systems are as secure as they can be. Adlumin’s MDR Team simulates different vantage points to see if any critical data can be accessed. Then, they can disrupt the kill chain by understanding the attack vectors leading to essential impacts.

All steps are meticulously documented so weaknesses can be exploited. A penetration test gives a baseline to work off to remediate the risk optimally and structurally. A sequence of the risks is provided, as well, to help tackle the highest risks first, then the others.

# 3: Stay Ahead of Cyber Threats and Hackers by Being Up-to-Date

Thinking ahead with the mindset of a cybercriminal sets proactive organizations apart from the ones that are only reacting to attacks. It is one thing to have an incident response plan for when an attack occurs, as this is vital for every organization regardless of industry. It is another thing to get ahead by penetrating a network as a cybercriminal would. Take advantage of programs that exist, like Progressive Penetration Testing, to see where the weak points are.

IBM states that in 2022, the average cost of a data breach will be $9.44M in the United States. Many organizations would fold if they were put in a situation like this. Thinking ahead can be the difference between an organization going under and thriving because data breaches are inevitable.

How are Penetration Testing Results Documented?

Complete results the most critical component of a test and should always be the result of a properly implemented penetration test. For example:

  1. Executive Summary report for high-level topics
  2. Pentest technical report for specific vulnerabilities and tasks
  3. Segmentation Report for understanding the types of attacks used
  4. Fix Actions report for resolving any issues uncovered

It’s essential to have comprehensive results that explain and document each vulnerability, evidence, impact, recommendation, and observed instance. Managed Detection and Response platforms plus services take the burden off already bogged-down IT teams, by implementing these tests and delivering actionable results.

The Proactive Cybersecurity Approach

With limited resources, most organizations struggle to prioritize vulnerabilities, identify exposures and weak points, and align to the larger business objectives to meet regulations of protected assets. Traditional penetration tests use limited formulaic methods and have not evolved to the constantly changing threat landscape organizations face.

Adlumin’s Progressive Penetration Testing provides real-world scenarios that are industry-specific threat assessments offering actionable recommendations. Every step is documented, providing a reverse-engineered blueprint to demonstrate how a cybercriminal can access the environment and gain access to critical systems laterally. Penetration tests ‘kill two birds with one stone’ by hitting multiple benefits that are required anyways. It just takes it a step further.

Progressive Penetration Testing Program

The Adlumin Progressive Penetration Testing Program offers comprehensive assessments tailored to each customer’s risk tolerance. By simulating different attack scenarios, from internal exploits to external threats, organizations can identify vulnerabilities and prioritize their cybersecurity efforts.

Traditional annual penetration tests no longer suffice against sophisticated cyber adversaries, as they provide only a snapshot of security health. Adlumin’s program goes beyond formulaic methodologies, addressing the evolving threat landscape with real-world scenarios and providing actionable recommendations.

Download this paper to:

Find out how to test, document and explain each vulnerability and its impact. We show how to collect, evidence, observed instances, and review remediation recommendations.