As a Penetration Testing service provider, we understand the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity threats, compliance regulations, and the daily challenges IT teams face. Penetration testing is crucial in assessing and improving an organization’s security posture across various aspects, such as network, application, device, and physical security.
Average Cost of Penetration Testing in 2024
Penetration testing (Pen Testing) costs can vary greatly depending on the project’s scope, complexity, and duration. Based on these factors, the cost of a Pen Testing engagement can be broken down as follows:
- Small-scale projects (low complexity, limited scope): $5,000 – $15,000
- Medium-scale projects (moderate complexity, broader scope): $15,000 – $40,000
- Large-scale projects (high complexity, extensive scope): $40,000 – $100,000+
The cost of pentesting can vary based on several factors such as the scope of the test, the size and complexity of the target network or application, the level of expertise of the pentester, and the time required to complete the testing. Below is a table outlining the cost of pentesting and common deliverables that can be expected:
|Type of Pentest
|$5,000 – $30,000+
|Vulnerability Assessment Report, Executive Summary, Detailed Technical Report, Remediation Recommendations, Post-Testing Support
|Web Application Pentest
|$3,000 – $20,000+
|Vulnerability Assessment Report, Executive Summary, Detailed Technical Report, Remediation Recommendations, Post-Testing Support
|Mobile Application Pentest
|$5,000 – $30,000+
|Vulnerability Assessment Report, Executive Summary, Detailed Technical Report, Remediation Recommendations, Post-Testing Support
|Wireless Network Pentest
|$5,000 – $20,000+
|Social Engineering Pentest
|$3,000 – $15,000+
|Report on the effectiveness of the test, Recommendations for improving security awareness, Remediation Recommendations
It is important to note that these figures are estimates, and the actual cost of a Pen Testing engagement will depend on each project’s unique requirements and characteristics. We offer customized pricing options and can provide a tailored quote upon request.
Detailed Penetration Testing Pricing Breakdown
. In the following section, we will provide a Detailed Penetration Testing Pricing Breakdown, dissecting the various elements that contribute to the cost of a penetration test. From the scale of the project to the type of testing and the methodologies employed, each aspect plays a pivotal role in shaping the investment necessary to uncover and mitigate potential security vulnerabilities. Understanding these factors is essential for organizations to align their security needs with the appropriate level of testing, ensuring robust protection without unwarranted expenditure.
Small-scale projects Pen Testing Pricing ($3,000 – $10,000 per scan):
Small-scale project penetration testing typically refers to security assessments that focus on a limited number of assets or a smaller, more defined environment. This could include, for example, a single website, a standalone web application, a small office network, or an API endpoint. The pricing for such projects is generally on the lower end of the penetration testing cost spectrum.
Here’s what small-scale project penetration testing pricing usually encompasses:
- Limited Scope: The test is confined to a few specific systems or applications, which reduces the time and resources needed to complete the assessment.
- Simplicity: The assets being tested are less complex, with fewer pages, functionalities, or user roles to examine. This simplicity allows for a more rapid assessment.
- Automated Scans with Manual Review: Small-scale tests often leverage automated scanning tools to identify common vulnerabilities, which are then manually reviewed by the tester to confirm their validity and explore their implications.
- Lower Risk Profile: These projects often have a lower risk profile, with less sensitive data or critical operations at stake, which can reduce the depth of testing required.
- Cost Range: The pricing for small-scale penetration tests typically ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 per scan. This cost accounts for the tools, time, and expertise needed to conduct the test, but reflects the reduced complexity and scope compared to larger projects.
- Duration: These tests are usually shorter in duration, often completed within a few days to a week, depending on the exact requirements and findings.
- Reporting: The final report for a small-scale test is generally less extensive, focusing on the identified vulnerabilities and providing straightforward remediation recommendations.
The goal of small-scale penetration testing quote is to provide an affordable option for smaller businesses or those with less extensive IT environments to identify and mitigate potential security vulnerabilities. Despite the smaller scope, these tests are still thorough enough to provide valuable insights into an organization’s security stance.
Medium-scale projects Pen Testing Pricing ($5,000 – $25,000 per scan):
Medium-scale project penetration testing refers to a more comprehensive security assessment than small-scale testing, targeting a broader array of assets. The pricing for medium-scale penetration testing projects reflects the increased scope and complexity compared to smaller projects. These projects often include multiple web applications, APIs, or a mid-sized corporate network. The price varies based on the number of distinct applications, the variety of technologies in use, and the need to test different user roles and interactions. The upper range of this bracket would cover applications with complex business logic, multiple user types, and higher security needs, like e-commerce sites or client management systems.
Here’s what medium-scale project penetration testing pricing typically involves:
- Broader Scope: The test encompasses several systems or applications, possibly across different environments (e.g., staging and production) or technologies (e.g., web, mobile, and API).
- Increased Complexity: The assets under test are more complex, with a variety of functionalities, user roles, and data flows to examine, which requires a more nuanced and detailed testing approach.
- Manual and Automated Testing: Medium-scale tests often combine automated scanning tools with extensive manual testing to explore and exploit vulnerabilities in depth, which requires more time and expertise from the testers.
- Higher Risk Profile: These projects usually involve a higher risk due to the increased amount of sensitive data or critical business functions they support, necessitating a more thorough testing process to ensure all potential security issues are identified.
- Cost Range: The pricing for medium-scale penetration tests typically ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 per scan. This cost reflects the need for a more detailed assessment by skilled professionals using a combination of advanced tools and manual techniques.
- Duration: The duration of medium-scale tests can vary significantly, often taking several weeks to complete, as they require a careful review of more complex systems and the potential interactions between them.
- Reporting: The final report for a medium-scale test is more detailed, providing a comprehensive analysis of the security posture, including an in-depth review of vulnerabilities, their potential impact, and prioritized recommendations for remediation.
Large-scale projects Pen Testing Pricing ($10,000 – $50,000+ per scan):
Large-scale project penetration testing is an extensive and detailed security assessment designed for substantial and complex digital environments. This type of testing is typically required for large organizations with a significant online presence, multiple interconnected systems, or a vast network infrastructure, multiple applications, and complex infrastructures, often for large organizations or enterprises. The penetration testing cost accounts for the need to test a wide array of components, such as multiple subdomains, a variety of server types, intricate network configurations, and comprehensive security policies.
Here’s what large-scale project penetration testing pricing generally includes:
- Extensive Scope: The test covers a wide range of assets, such as numerous web applications, enterprise networks, cloud infrastructures, and mobile applications, often across global operations.
- High Complexity: The environments and systems in question are sophisticated, with advanced technology stacks, custom applications, and complex integrations that require specialized knowledge to test effectively.
- Depth of Testing: Large-scale testing goes beyond surface-level vulnerabilities, delving into business logic, advanced persistent threats (APTs), and intricate attack scenarios that could be exploited by skilled adversaries.
- Risk and Impact: Given the potential for significant impact on operations, reputation, and compliance, the testing must be exhaustive, often involving multiple types of penetration tests (network, application, physical security, social engineering, etc.).
- Cost Range: The pricing for large-scale penetration tests typically starts at $10,000 and can exceed $50,000. The “+” indicates that for environments with exceptional complexity or specific regulatory requirements, the cost can be substantially higher.
- Duration: These tests are usually the most time-consuming, potentially spanning several months, due to the need to thoroughly assess each component of the organization’s digital landscape and the careful coordination required to avoid operational disruptions.
- Expertise: Large-scale tests demand a team of highly skilled penetration testers, often with niche expertise, to cover all aspects of the organization’s environment.
- Reporting and Remediation Support: The final report is highly detailed, offering a deep dive into each finding. It often includes strategic remediation plans, risk assessment, and sometimes even post-remediation testing to validate the efficacy of the fixes applied.
- Customization: Large-scale testing is typically highly customized to the organization’s specific needs, regulatory environment, and business goals, which can also influence the cost.
What is the cost of Pen Testing based on Type of Penetration Testing?
The cost of penetration testing is not a monolithic figure but is instead nuanced, varying according to the type of test conducted. Pricing of penetration testing—be it network, web application, mobile application, wireless network, or social engineering—addresses a specific segment of an organization’s security landscape. In the upcoming section, we will explore the cost associated with each type of penetration testing, providing insights into the financial considerations that accompany the quest to fortify digital defenses against the ever-evolving threats of the cyber world.
Network penetration pen testing price ($5,000 – $30,000+ per scan)
This type of testing focuses on identifying vulnerabilities within the network infrastructure, such as servers, firewalls, routers, and switches. The lower end of the spectrum would cover smaller networks with a limited number of devices and standard configurations. The higher end would involve complex corporate networks with multiple segments, custom configurations, and high-security zones, such as DMZs, requiring more sophisticated testing approaches.
Web application pen testing price ($3,000 – $20,000+ per scan):
This involves testing web-based applications for vulnerabilities that could be exploited via the internet. Simple web applications with a few forms or login pages may fall towards the lower end of the price range. More complex web applications, such as those handling sensitive financial transactions or personal data, would require more rigorous testing methodologies, pushing the cost towards the higher end.
Mobile application pen testing price ($5,000 – $30,000+ per scan):
Mobile app testing is specialized due to the unique platforms (iOS, Android) and the need to test on different devices and operating systems. Basic apps with limited functionality may cost less, while apps with complex interactions, multiple integrations, and those that handle sensitive data would be more expensive to test.
Wireless network pen testing price ($5,000 – $20,000+ per scan):
The cost of network pen testing focuses on wireless devices and infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi networks. The pricing quote reflects the need to test for vulnerabilities that could allow unauthorized access or eavesdropping on wireless communications.
Social engineering pen testing price ($3,000 – $15,000+ per scan):
This tests the human element of security, assessing how individuals within the organization respond to attempts to breach security protocols through deception. Costs vary depending on the scale of the campaign (number of employees targeted) and the complexity of the scenarios (phishing, vishing, physical intrusion tests).
In the intricate world of cybersecurity, penetration testing is a multifaceted exercise, tailored to mimic various types of cyberattacks. In the section that follows, we will dissect the costs associated with each penetration testing style, shedding light on why they differ and what each style entails in terms of depth, complexity, and the nature of the insights they provide. This understanding is crucial for organizations to make informed decisions about the type of penetration testing that best suits their security needs and budgetary constraints.
White Box Pen Testing Price ($500 – $2,000 per scan):
Testers have full knowledge of the environment, including source code, infrastructure details, and documentation. This allows for a more focused and efficient test, as the tester can directly target potential areas of weakness.
Black Box Pen Testing Price ($7,000 – $38,000 per scan):
Testers have no prior knowledge of the system and must discover vulnerabilities from an outsider’s perspective. This requires a significant amount of reconnaissance to understand how the systems operate, which is time-consuming and thus more costly.
Gray Box Pen Testing Price (Cost between White Box and Black Box testing):
Testers have partial knowledge of the system, which may include limited access to documentation or code. This approach is more cost-effective than black box testing but still requires a significant amount of work to identify vulnerabilities.
What are the key Factors Influencing Penetration Test Cost?
Scope of Penetration Testing
The scope refers to the breadth and depth of the penetration test. It includes the number of systems, networks, and applications to be tested. A larger scope means more targets, which requires more time for testing and analysis. For instance, a single web application might take less time compared to a suite of applications, leading to a lower cost.
Complexity of Pen Testing Environment
Environments with a multitude of interconnected systems, legacy platforms, or custom-built applications are inherently more complex to test. Such environments may require specialized knowledge or tools to navigate and test effectively, which can increase the cost. Complexity also arises from the need to avoid disrupting normal business operations during testing.
Pen Testing Methodology
The methodology can significantly impact cost due to the varying levels of information provided to the testers and the associated time investment.
White Box Pen Testing
Costs less because testers have complete information, reducing the time needed to understand the system. Also known as “crystal box” or “clear box” testing, White Box Penetration Testing involves providing the tester with full knowledge of the target systems, including source code, architecture diagrams, and other documentation.
As testers have extensive knowledge of the system, they can quickly identify potential vulnerabilities and focus their efforts on specific areas, reducing the overall testing time. However, White Box testing may require more specialized skills, such as source code analysis and an in-depth understanding of the target system’s architecture, which can impact pricing.
Black Box Pen Testing
More expensive due to the lack of system information, requiring testers to spend significant time probing and mapping out the system before even beginning to test for vulnerabilities.
In Black Box Penetration Testing, testers have no prior knowledge of the target systems and must discover vulnerabilities using the same methods and techniques as real-world attackers. This approach requires more time and effort as testers must first perform extensive reconnaissance and enumeration to identify potential targets and vulnerabilities.
Due to the increased time and effort, Black Box Penetration Testing can be more expensive than White Box testing. However, it provides a more realistic representation of the risks and vulnerabilities that an actual attacker might exploit.
Gray Box Pen Testing
Costs fall in the middle as testers have some information, but not all, requiring a balanced approach to both discovery and exploitation.
Organizations with advanced security measures in place may require more sophisticated penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities, which can be more costly. Testers might need to use more advanced techniques or spend more time to find and exploit vulnerabilities in a mature security environment.
Pen Testing for Compliance Requirements
Certain industries are governed by strict regulatory standards (e.g., finance, healthcare) that dictate specific security practices. Penetration tests in these contexts need to be more thorough and are often required to follow certain protocols, which can increase the cost.
Penetration Tester Expertise
The experience and skill level of the penetration testers are crucial. Highly qualified and certified professionals typically charge more for their services, but they also tend to provide more in-depth analysis and valuable insights into the security posture of an organization.
Follow-Ups and Pen Testing Reporting
After the initial test, there may be a need for retesting to ensure that identified vulnerabilities have been effectively remediated. Additionally, comprehensive reporting that provides detailed findings and recommendations is a critical part of the service and can add to the cost.
Location of Pen Testing
The geographic location of the testing team can affect the cost. For example, penetration testers based in regions with a higher cost of living or where there is a high demand for cybersecurity services may charge more.
Penetration Testing Tools and Technologies Used
Some penetration tests may require specialized tools or technologies, especially for testing cutting-edge or uncommon systems. The use of these tools, whether they are commercial products with licensing fees or custom-built solutions, can add to the overall cost.
Duration of Penetration Test
The length of time required to complete the penetration test also affects the cost. Longer engagements are needed for extensive testing of large or complex environments, which increases the cost accordingly.
What is Penetration Testing, why is it important and how does it work?
Penetration Testing, often called Pen Testing, is a proactive cybersecurity practice aimed at identifying and evaluating vulnerabilities in an organization’s computer systems, networks, applications, and physical security. It involves simulating real-world cyberattacks to assess the effectiveness of security controls, policies, and practices and determine how they can be improved.
What is the importance of Penetration Testing?
- Identify and prioritize vulnerabilities: Pen Testing uncovers weaknesses in an organization’s security posture, enabling IT teams to prioritize and address vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them.
- Validate security controls: Penetration tests help validate the effectiveness of security controls and measures in place, ensuring that they function as intended and provide the necessary protection.
- Meet compliance requirements: Many industries and regulations (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR) require organizations to undergo regular Penetration Testing to ensure compliance and maintain a strong security posture.
- Enhance security awareness: Pen Testing results can help raise awareness among employees and stakeholders about potential security risks and the importance of adhering to security best practices.
- Protect against financial and reputational damage: Identifying and addressing vulnerabilities proactively reduces the risk of security breaches, which can lead to significant financial losses, legal liabilities, and reputational damage.
How Penetration Testing Works?
Penetration Testing typically follows a structured process that consists of following six stages:
- Scoping and Planning: This initial phase involves defining the objectives, scope, and boundaries of the Pen Testing engagement, establishing communication channels and agreeing on the rules of engagement.
- Reconnaissance: In this phase, the Pen Testing team gathers information about the target systems, networks, and applications, such as IP addresses, domains, software versions, and potential vulnerabilities.
- Vulnerability Assessment: The testers analyze the gathered information to identify potential vulnerabilities using automated tools and manual techniques.
- Exploitation: The Pen Testing team attempts to exploit identified vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access, escalate privileges, or compromise target systems, simulating the actions of a real-world attacker.
- Post-Exploitation: After gaining access, testers may attempt to move laterally within the network, maintain persistence, or exfiltrate sensitive data, to evaluate the overall impact of a successful breach.
- Reporting: The final phase involves documenting the findings, including the identified vulnerabilities, exploited attack vectors, and recommendations for remediation. A comprehensive report detailing the Pen Testing results and suggested improvements are delivered to the organization.
By following this structured process, Penetration Testing provides valuable insights into an organization’s security posture, enabling them to address vulnerabilities, strengthen security measures, and reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
What are the key questions before penetration testing?
it’s essential to address several key questions to ensure a smooth process, effective communication, and a successful outcome. Here are some critical questions to consider before Pen testing project engagement:
- What are the objectives of the Pen Testing engagement?
- What is the scope of the project (systems, applications, networks, etc.)?
- Are there any specific requirements, such as compliance with regulatory standards (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA)?
- What are the rules of engagement and communication protocols during the test?
- What are the timeframes and deadlines for the Pen Testing project?
- What resources, access, and information will be provided to the Pen Testing team?
- How will sensitive information and vulnerabilities be handled and reported?
In this analysis, we will break down the various factors that contribute to the overall cost of a Pen Testing engagement.
Scope and Complexity of the Project
The scope and complexity of a Pen Testing project determine the number of systems, applications, and network infrastructure components that need to be tested. This can include websites, databases, firewalls, routers, and other critical assets. The more extensive the scope, the higher the cost will be. Complexity also plays a role in pricing, as more sophisticated and customized systems require additional time and expertise to test effectively.
Pentesting And Scope
Some key questions to discuss or consider regarding the scope of a Penetration Testing service might help organizations better understand the importance of defining a clear and effective scope for their Pen Testing engagements, ensuring that the service meets their unique security needs and objectives.
- What are the organization’s main security concerns, and how should they influence the scope of the Pen Testing engagement?
- Which systems, applications, and networks are most critical to the organization’s operations, and how can they be prioritized within the scope of the Pen Testing service?
- How can the Pen Testing scope be defined to ensure compliance with relevant industry standards and regulatory requirements (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR)?
- What are the potential risks and attack vectors associated with the organization’s technology stack and how should they be addressed in the scope of the Pen Testing engagement?
- How can the organization effectively balance the need for comprehensive Pen Testing with available resources, budget, and time constraints?
- Should the Pen Testing scope include third-party components, services, or integrations, and if so, how can these be effectively assessed?
- How can the Pen Testing scope incorporate various types of Penetration Testing styles, such as White Box, Black Box, and Gray Box testing, to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the organization’s security posture?
- Are there any unique aspects of the organization’s infrastructure, such as cloud-based services, IoT devices, or remote access systems, that should be considered when defining the scope of the Pen Testing engagement?
Penetration Testing Methodology
The approach to Pen Testing is based on industry best practices and customized to meet each client’s specific needs. This may involve manual testing, automated testing, or a combination of both. Each method has advantages, and the chosen approach will impact the overall cost. Automated testing typically requires less time, while manual testing requires more specialized expertise.
Pen Testing Project Duration
The duration of the Pen Testing project is another key factor that affects the cost. Longer projects demand more resources and labour, increasing the overall price. The duration of a project may be influenced by factors such as the scope, complexity, and the client’s specific requirements.
Pen Testing Statement of Work and Reporting
Developing a detailed statement of work (SOW) and comprehensive reporting are essential aspects of the Pen Testing process. The SOW should outline the project’s objectives, scope, and methodologies, while the final report should document the findings, vulnerabilities, and recommended remediation steps. The time spent on these tasks contributes to the overall cost.
Meetings and Consultations
As part of our commitment to excellent customer service, we will hold meetings and consultations with clients throughout the Pen Testing process. This includes initial discussions to understand their requirements, regular updates during the project, and a final presentation of the findings and recommendations. The time spent on these meetings should be factored into the cost analysis.
What about White Box Penetration Testing, Black Box Penetration Testing, and Gray Box Penetration Testing pricing?
There can be variations in penetration testing pricing depending on the testing style employed. White Box, Black Box, and Gray Box Penetration Testing differ in the level of knowledge and access the testers provide, which can impact the time, effort, and resources required for the engagement.
Here’s a brief overview of each testing style and how it may affect pricing:
White Box Penetration Testing
Black Box Penetration Testing
Gray Box Penetration Testing
Gray Box Penetration Testing is a hybrid approach that provides testers with limited knowledge of the target systems, such as partial access to source code, architecture diagrams, or credentials.
This approach allows testers to focus on specific areas of interest while still simulating a real-world attack scenario.
The cost of Gray Box Penetration Testing can fall between the pricing of White Box and Black Box testing, depending on the level of access and knowledge provided to the testers and the project’s scope and complexity.
Ultimately, the pricing for each Penetration Testing style will depend on factors such as the project’s scope, complexity, duration, expertise, and resources required for the engagement. Discussing these factors with the Pen Testing service provider is essential to ensure the chosen approach aligns with the client’s objectives and budget.
What Systems and endpoints will be tested during pen testing?
Various systems and endpoints within the web application and the underlying infrastructure would be tested for a comprehensive Pen Testing engagement. The scope of the testing process will depend on the client’s specific needs and objectives. Here is a list of some common systems and endpoints that may be tested during a Penetration Testing engagement:
Web application components
As modern web applications become increasingly complex, encompassing various components and technologies, it is essential to understand the key elements that are tested during a Penetration Testing engagement. Let’s explore the various components of web applications that are typically assessed during Penetration Testing to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of an organization’s web application security posture.
- Frontend user interface (UI)
- Backend server and APIs
- Authentication and authorization mechanisms
- Input validation and output encoding
- Session management
- Error handling and logging
- Security Configurations
Frontend user interface (UI) Pen Testing
The frontend UI of a web application serves as the primary interaction point for users, making it a critical component to test. During Penetration Testing, the UI is examined for vulnerabilities such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), insecure direct object references, and client-side input validation issues.
Backend server and APIs
The backend server and APIs form the core of a web application’s functionality, handling business logic, data processing, and communication with databases and other services. Penetration Testing of these components aims to identify vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection, command injection, XML External Entity (XXE) attacks, and insecure API endpoints.
Authentication and authorization mechanisms
Ensuring the security of authentication and authorization mechanisms is crucial for protecting user accounts and data. Penetration Testing assesses components such as password storage, multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, and access control implementations to identify potential security weaknesses.
Input validation and output encoding
Proper input validation and output encoding are essential for preventing security vulnerabilities such as XSS and Injection attacks. During Penetration Testing, these components are scrutinized to ensure that user inputs are appropriately validated, sanitized, and encoded before processing and displaying.
Secure session management is critical for maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of user sessions. Penetration Testing evaluates session management mechanisms, including session cookies, token generation, and expiration policies, to identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
Error handling and logging
Secure error handling practices help prevent information leakage and protect the web application from security exploits. Penetration Testing analyzes error handling components to ensure that sensitive information is not disclosed through error messages or logs.
Web applications often rely on various configurations, such as server settings, Content Security Policy (CSP), and HTTP security headers. Penetration Testing assesses these configurations to identify misconfigurations that could expose the application to security risks.
Web application security features
- Security headers
- Content Security Policy (CSP)
- Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)
- Secure transport (HTTPS)
User roles and access controls:
- Privilege escalation testing
- Insecure direct object reference testing
- Role-based access control (RBAC) implementation and validation
- Testing for horizontal and vertical access controls
Network infrastructure and systems
- Firewalls and routers
- Intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS)
- Load balancers and proxies
- VPNs and remote access points
- Wireless access points
- Network segmentation and isolation
- SQL injection testing
- Database server configuration review
- Testing for insecure data storage and transmission
- Proper use of encryption at rest and in transit
Third-party components and services
- Testing for vulnerabilities in third-party libraries and plugins
- Reviewing security configurations for third-party services (e.g., cloud services, payment gateways)
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices
- Mobile applications and APIs
- Desktop applications
During the initial Pen Testing engagement scoping phase, the testing team will work with the client to define the systems and endpoints to be tested based on the client’s unique requirements and risk profile. The final scope will be documented in a detailed Statement of Work (SOW) to ensure all parties clearly understand the testing process and objectives.