Penetration Testing Timeline Checklist
This post contains part of the text from the SecurityMetrics Penetration Testing Timeline Checklist
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
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)
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
Narrative of steps they went through when they found a problem
What tools they used
How vulnerabilities were identified
Begin planning for remediation
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.
Your development team will want to:
Update code for all applications
Eliminate old OS (Operating System)
Close any non-critical network ports
Double-check which personnel have access to what
Evaluate how much access every employee actually requires
Confirm all staff only have essential access
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
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
Incorporate new security practices