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PTaaS vs. Standard Pen Testing: What Are the Differences?


PTaaS over standard pen testing: what are the differences, and how can you determine which is of better use for your organization's security needs?

Well, it boils down to one of our favourite phrases: "The best defence is a good offence." As the cyber threat landscape expands and cyber attackers become increasingly competent, organizations are finding it more and more difficult to protect their business-critical IT assets... and, as such, security teams must take more preemptive action than ever before to keep them safe. Nowadays, that means investing in more than your run-of-the-mill penetration test.

Let's dive into what you need to know about PTaaS, how it compares to standard pen testing, and, of course, how this has the potential to alter how your assets are being safeguarded for good.

Firstly, What is Standard Pen Testing?

Cybersecurity testing solutions generally include up to three tiers of defence: vulnerability scanning (the first layer), penetration testing (the second layer) and red-teaming (the third layer.)

Standard penetration testing (more commonly known as "pen testing") is a way to test enterprise systems for vulnerabilities. Whereas the first layer of testing solutions-vulnerability scanning- is an automation that performs one quick, high-level look into possible security threats, pen testing is a more proactive and insight-rich approach spearheaded by real people looking to find and fix specific vulnerabilities. 

Pen testers find vulnerabilities in a network, device, application, or website and exploit them using various methods that hackers themselves would use, such as password cracking or SQL injection. These testers also prepare reports highlighting the discovered weak spots so the organization can implement appropriate solutions to fix them and prevent their exploitation in the future. A downside that many organizations run into, however, is these testers being out-of-date at best... and uneducated at worst. Many pentest providers outsource their tests without disclosing such to their clients, making it so money that was intended to be well-spent never accomplishes its intended goal.

The result? A general idea of what's lacking in your cybersecurity structure, but little other direction or support.

What is Pen Testing as a Service, and How Does it Benefit Organizations?

PTaaS (Pen Testing as a Service) is a pen testing methodology and delivery platform in which your network, application, or device is tested and scanned continuously. Unlike standard penetration testing, which is a high-level overview of potential threats, PTaaS elevates this by using both ethical hackers and vulnerability scanners to ensure the most comprehensive security deep-dive available.

It assigns pen testing programs to cloud-based software that can be customized to fit each user's needs, which, in turn, permits thorough monitoring of automated pen tests and generates reports that let users view the results of pen tests in real-time.

As always, the best Pen Testing as a Service vendors will work with your in-house security team to provide a knowledge base regarding vulnerability assessments, remediations, and general advice for bolstering your vulnerability landscape. PTaaS builds upon standard pen testing to ensure you don't miss newly-surfaced vulnerabilities and can continually protect your systems from existing and potential threats thanks to its agility.

PTaaS: For Organizations Who Want to Take Their Security to the Next Level

PTaaS enables you to streamline your vulnerability management program with progress tracking and workflow management that standard pen testing simply can't provide. You and your team will get access to real-time reports that will alert you to new threats, as well as keep you in the loop regarding evolving vulnerabilities or exploits. Once remediation is done, you can request retests to verify the remediation knowing there won't be any gaps between problem identification and mitigation.

At Packetlabs, we take PTaaS to new heights through a distinctly 360-degree approach. As a unified reporting and workflow management solution, our team of vetted ethical hackers offers real-time insights, bolstered collaboration between teams, and in-depth tracking for all your pen testing efforts. This enables you to quickly view findings, prioritize efforts, request retests after remediation, and monitor progress. The result? Making collaborating with key stakeholders a breeze.

Other key benefits of the Packetlabs PTaaS platform include, but aren't limited to:

  • Seamless integration with JIRA and ServiceNow tools

  • Secure access to both past and current interactive reports

  • Attack path maps that detail the various methods hackers may employ to conduct breaches

  • Two-factor authentication to keep your information's security iron-clad

We are a North American SOC 2 Type II certified penetration company with over 30 years of collective cybersecurity experience, meaning that we're dedicated to doing PTaaS right. With the cost of cybercrime for businesses alone estimated to hit a staggering $10.5 trillion by 2025, the time to invest in strengthening your security posture is now... and we know from experience PTaaS is the most efficient way to accomplish exactly that.


The takeaway? While standard penetration testing is an effective way to analyze how hackers may attack your systems in real-world scenarios, PTaaS optimizes this by leveraging all the benefits of pen testing with on-demand manual reporting and collaboration that turns problems into solutions.

Agile, affordable, and entirely customizable Pen Testing as a Service is just one click away. Book your comprehensive demo today.

Have Questions? Need a Quote?

Contact our team today to see how we can help improve your security posture. Get a no-obligation quote and a copy of our sample report to help you get started.