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AFTER THE PENTEST REPORT… REMEDIATION

A penetration test alone won’t secure your organization (even a good penetration testing report). It’s what you do with the penetration testing report that matters.


Without remediation, there isn’t much accomplished in the way of decreasing your security exposure.


What is a Remediation Verification Penetration Test?

Remediation fixes vulnerabilities identified during the penetration test.

cybersecurity remediation verification

How do I choose which vulnerabilities to remediate?

Your penetration testing report should provide you with something that looks like the bar chart below. Severity and difficulty help determine priority. It’s really a client's decision what they want to address first, however having all of the information and being able to see Severity, Difficulty, and Disposition of a finding is super helpful in prioritizing remediation efforts.


Retest

It’s often the case that stakeholders including business, audit, and compliance want verification that whatever you tried to fix was fixed. The Remediation retest answers: “Did we fix it?”. You’ll want to make sure that your pentest team, your penetration testers, or some other third party does the verification especially if you’re trying to comply with PCI or some other industry compliance requirements.

Update the Deliverables

graph of risk ranked vulnerabilities

Following the completion of the remediation test, all detailed penetration test reports should be updated to reflect your remediation efforts and the retest results. The dispositions of the Vulnerabilities are updated from “open” to “closed” to confirm that remediation was successful. Findings themselves mustn’t be deleted or changed. A finding is still considered a finding as part of the engagement even if it was remediated after the fact.


Lastly, if there are other stakeholders, you’ll want to create any secondary or supporting deliverables that are specifically intended for the audience. These could be things such as attestations and/or a before and after summary that shows the effectiveness of the remediation effort and the current exposure of the organization.


Navigating the Aftermath of Your Penetration Test Report

Leveraging the Penetration Testing Report for Strategic Remediation

The true test of a penetration test's value comes not from the test itself but from the actionable steps taken based on the pentest report. Without targeted remediation, the vulnerabilities discovered during penetration tests remain a latent threat, barely reducing your organization's exposure to cyber threats.


The Role of Remediation Verification in Penetration Testing

Following the initial penetration test, a Remediation Verification Penetration Test becomes a pivotal next step. This phase focuses on addressing the security flaws identified in the penetration test report, converting potential risks into fortified security measures.


Strategizing Vulnerability Remediation from Penetration Test Reports

Penetration test reports, including those from internal penetration testing report, offer a graphical representation of vulnerabilities, ranked by the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) for severity and exploitation difficulty. This visualization provides clients with a clear understanding of which vulnerabilities to prioritize, offering a balance between technical risks and business impact.


The Criticality of Retesting in Confirming Security Measures

Retesting, a key section of the penetration testing process, validates the effectiveness of remediation efforts. This step is essential for meeting compliance requirements and ensuring that the remediation efforts have truly addressed the vulnerabilities found. Consulting firms or independent penetration testers are often engaged for this phase to maintain objectivity, particularly for internal penetration test validations.


Updating Critical Documentation with Penetration Testing Reports

Post-remediation, it's vital to update all supporting documentation, including the detailed analysis in the penetration testing report, to reflect the changes made. This documentation serves as a record of the testing process, the vulnerabilities discovered, and the security measures implemented. It ensures transparency and provides an executive summary and technical details for both technical staff and non-technical readers.


Effective Communication of Remediation Efforts

Creating additional documents, such as attestations or comparative analyses, helps convey the scope and success of the remediation efforts to a broader audience. These documents, informed by the initial and subsequent penetration testing reports, illustrate the organization's commitment to security and the effectiveness of the implemented security measures.


This comprehensive approach, informed by the initial penetration test report and followed by targeted remediation, retesting, and thorough reporting, ensures that organizations not only address current vulnerabilities but also strengthen their overall security posture against future threats. By carefully considering the technical details, supporting documentation, and strategic recommendations provided in penetration testing reports, organizations can better navigate the complexities of cybersecurity, ensuring that their security systems, network, and computer systems are robustly protected.

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