How to Write an Effective Penetration Testing Brief?

How to Write an Effective Penetration Testing Brief?

Last updated on April 8th, 2024 at 06:52 am

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So far, most people have a basic understanding of Internet security principles and concepts. For example, most users in a corporate environment can tell you what “phishing”, “compliance” and “ransomware” are. If you want to ask them what a penetration test is, the answer often becomes unclear. A small percentage of people in the business world do know what actually penetration testing is, and few even understand the true meaning of penetration testing and the value it can bring to any organization for well-being and long-term success in the market.

Penetration testing is an essential tool used to examine the security of IT systems. It helps in indicating the areas where the vulnerability is located, how good the existing protocol is running, and what actions need to be taken to reduce the risk level at its minimum.

Many organizations will rush to hire services of penetration testing companies, however, these are the organizations that have a weak understanding of the techniques and technologies and by hiring testing services aimlessly and establishing proper criteria for vendor selection, their efforts may lead them to suffer. 

Creating a Pen Testing Brief

Not even a single person knows about your business as much as you do – and it’s the foremost important thing when you plan to write a pen testing brief. Only you are well aware of what sort of networks you use, systems, and what makes you a target. 

Here are some of the tips you should consider when writing a pen testing brief;

Think about the Scope 

The scope of the penetration test defines the parameters to be tested. E.g…

Is it a requirement of yours to analyze and evaluate the human factors of cybersecurity?

Are phishing emails a way to attract employees?

Is the password kept safe by everyone?

Does someone support the back door to open, etc?

Or do you prefer to exclude it and continue to test the network?

Decide and Establish Objectives

What do you assume the pen test to provide? If you decide and establish goals from the very beginning, then you won’t be disappointed with the end result. Is there a requirement for you to prove compliance? Make it clear if you are testing defensive measures in the information technology department? And ask if you need a roadmap for future security plans? 

Setup Proper Budgets

With the predefined set of objectives, goals, and clear scope, it will help testers to come up with a quote even then it’s merely a responsibility of yours to allocate the proper financial budget to the project while considering the scale and complexity of your requirements.

Determine the Accurate Type of Test 

Penetration testing is mainly divided into four categories: external networks, internal networks, web applications, and social engineering. Before going with a particular testing type make sure you and your team have an appropriate understanding of each of the types. The type that attracts you may depend on the main area of ​​interest (perhaps your online application or your employees).

A good pen tester will not be limited by the type of test you choose but will use a variety of techniques to provide a test that suits your scope and goals.

Trusting your Testers is a Key

Penetration testing is concerned with the aim of hacking for good purposes instead of bad or evil – so it’s better for you to ensure that you have a credible team of testers or have partnered with credible and trustworthy penetration testing companies


If you go for outsourcing pen testing services it necessary to ask the vendor about its testimonial even though the vendor is certified or not. The reason for this is because of your overall future strength and organization’s growth, rely heavily upon the credibility, reliability, and reputation of the vendor. 

Prepare a Backup System

The penetration test itself may have an impact on “business as usual”. Define protocols to prevent service interruption, just in case. Make a complete system backup before the test begins, and allocate appropriate personnel and technical resources during the test.

Final Thoughts

Penetration testing is an amazing way of identifying risks, threats, errors, and loopholes within your organization, and is best to assess and examine the current status of your overall cybersecurity. Penetration testing will simulate the behavior of real cybercriminals, thereby revealing the critical security issues of the system, how to exploit these vulnerabilities, and the steps required to fix these vulnerabilities (before the actual exploitation of these vulnerabilities).

Author Bio:

Natasha Ramzan has done her Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Islamia University and she has worked with different IT companies as a senior developer and marketer. Also, she is a founder of Latest Businesses

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