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Penetration Testing Checklist

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Penetration Testing Timeline Checklist

This post contains part of the text from the SecurityMetrics Penetration Testing Timeline Checklist.

To view the full interactive checklist, download the PDF below:

Interactive Penetration Testing Timeline Checklist

Download PDF Here


    2-4 Months Before Penetration Test

You’ve been given a timeline for your assessment, it is important to consider all factors before scheduling a test.

  • Choose a pentester by verifying that:

    • They follow industry best practice standards

    • They communicate their testing methodologies 

  • Determine your pentest date by answering these questions:

    • Is the pentest starting early enough to leave time for remediation later?

    • Is this during a busy time of the year?

      • Will office operations be interrupted?

      • How much notice should we give everyone? 

  • Confirm your timeline with the pentester

Testing Preparation

    5 Weeks Before Penetration Test

You have your technical questionnaire, now you need to address all aspects of testing preparation. 

  • Fill out your questionnaire  

  • Collect and deliver documentation

    • Provide as much information as you can by answering:

      • What is your motivation? 

      • What do you really want to find out? 

      • What are your compliance requirements?

  • Schedule penetration test

  • Coordinate with personnel and prepare office

    • Inform your entire staff

    • Assign team members to assist with pentest 

  • Whitelist your penetration tester’s IP addresses for your web application firewall (WAF)

    • Verify this is done in your IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) or IDS (Intrusion Detection System)


Do You Need a Penetration Test?

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Automated/Manual Testing

    During Penetration Test

During this step, automated scans and manual testing is performed to further assess the security of the target while your team assists to make the process smooth and straightforward. 

  • Ensure that team members are available to assist with questions or issues during testing

    • Be available and responsive 

    • Don’t change the environment

    • Raise concerns if production is impacted

      • Plan enough in advance, holidays can be a popular time to book a pentest

      • Don’t change your environment in the middle of the pentest

  • Pick a time of day for automated scans

    • Determine how busy your environment is during this time



    0-6 Weeks After Penetration Test

Now that your penetration test is complete and you’ve received your report, you should review it to see if the penetration tester was able to identify the root causes of issues.  

  • Evaluate your report, taking note of:

    • Date of your report

      • Mark 90 days later on a calendar as the end of retesting window

    • The executive summary

    • Statement of the scope

    • Methodologies 

    • Limitations

    • Narrative of steps they went through when they found a problem

      • What tools they used

      • How vulnerabilities were identified

  • Begin planning for remediation

    • Analyze findings

      • Sometimes they can only see the symptoms of the issue

      • Look to see if the tester was able to identify root causes

  • Start addressing root causes



    0-3 Months After Penetration Test

It’s time to review your report and consider the logistics of your remediation and retesting plans. 

  • Remediate items 

  • Schedule retesting

  • Your development team will want to:

    • Review changes

    • Install patches

    • Reconfigure software 

    • Update code for all applications

      • Eliminate old OS (Operating System) 

    • Close any non-critical network ports 

    • Restrict Access

      • Double-check which personnel have access to what

        • Evaluate how much access every employee actually requires

        • Confirm all staff only have essential access

Interactive Penetration Testing Timeline Checklist

Download PDF Here


    0-3 Months After Penetration Test

During remediation, you can send your test back over to the penetration testing firm for retesting, and receive a revised report.

  • Retest (within 90 days of initial report date)

    • Certify that fixes are working

  • Repeat remediation processes until all fixes are implemented correctly

After Retesting


Now that remediation and retesting is over, you should make process and policy changes to avoid future vulnerabilities. 

  • Develop an improvement plan by considering these questions:

    • How can we make our environment a little more secure every time?

    • Do we need additional training for our developers and network engineers?

      • Do they have the resources they need to be successful?

  • Assess your experience for next year’s pentest:

    • Did you have enough time to get everything done?

    • Re-evaluate your timeline 

  • Plan a date for next year’s pentest

  • Ensure continued maintenance

    • Regular updates 

    • Port scans 

    • App scans

    • Incorporate new security practices

Do You Need a Penetration Test?

Find out Here