What is Pentest Report? Here’s A Walk-through

what is pentest report
We are giving you walk-through on what is pentest report, why every organisation must take it seriously, and what constitutes an outstanding report.

A penetration test (which can also go by the terms ‘pen test’, ‘pentest’, or ethical hacking), is defined as an authorised simulated cyber attack on a computer system, which is done to evaluate the security of that system. A full risk assessment is completed when both vulnerabilities and strengths are identified.

Sadly, some organisations treat pentesting as merely one compliance requirement and are not mindful about the insights provided in the pentest report. This sort of mindset will fail to deliver the much-needed security improvements organisations must undertake.

The nature of pentesting is a sensitive one, in that this service has access to an organisation’s most sensitive information. Thus, in Singapore, a Cybersecurity Act has been set up to outline all licensing conditions and guidelines before cyber security service providers are allowed to legally operate in the country.

Also Read: The Importance of Penetration Testing for Businesses

What is Pentest Report and Why is it Important?

Penetration test reports are crucial and provide you with the structured detailed of the pentest conducted after the engagement has been completed.

And mind you, it’s not enough that the cybersecurity service provider generates a pentest report. It’s also crucial for this report to contain actionable guidance for the organisation to drive tangible security improvements.

what is pentest report
It’s not enough to ask what is pentest report; organisations must ask what makes an outstanding pentest report.

What is Pentest Report – Key Qualities of an Outstanding One

Executive Summary

Like any other report, this section serves as a high-level view of both risk and business impact that’s quite easy to understand. The key is to make this part of the report understandable even to non-technical readers.

When applicable, it is also recommended to add visual aspects to this section. This will make it easier for the service provider to get complex points across clearly.

Technical Risks Should be Made Understandable

What organisations usually receive in a pentest report is a rating system to measure risk. However, a better version of this section should be one where the pentester gives a detailed explanation of these risks. Why? The client’s IT department must make quick decisions based on the risks outlined.

Understandably, they must justify any actions they proceed with, and a detailed explanation will help them cut to the chase. This is especially helpful when the IT team need to explain the risks to non-IT personnel.

What is Pentest Report if Vulnerability is Not Explained?

This is another vital component of a pentest report, where the service provider explains the potential impact of vulnerabilities. There are two ways risks can be broken down: likelihood and potential impact.

Organisations must understand that an assessment report isn’t only for the IT staff. Key stakeholders in the company must understand for themselves how a vulnerability would directly affect their organisation.

Therefore, an excellent assessment report must factor both the likelihood and potential impact of an exploitation into the overall risk.

Also Read: 6 Simple Tips on Cyber Safety at Home

Finally, a Range of Vulnerability Remediation Options

An outstanding report should not contain a generic section of actionable steps; rather, it should be customised according to the client’s specific needs and pain points.

Organisations must look for pentest providers that will provide them with detailed guidance on how they can resolve each identified issue as part of the reporting process.

Bottom line

After knowing ‘what is pentest report’, organisations must also take into consideration the quality of reports generated after a pentesting service has been completed. Besides outlining the results of the risk assessment, the recommended actionable steps must be clear enough for non-technical personnel to understand.

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