Automated Vs Manual Penetration Testing Process, When And Why?

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Penetration testing, or “pen testing,” is one of the essential parts of information security. Pen testing aims to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in systems to help organizations improve their security posture.

Traditionally, pentesting has been a manual process, but there is a growing trend toward using automated tools and services to streamline and speed up the process. So when should you use an automated tool vs. a manual process? And why? Let’s take a look.

What is automated pen-testing?

Automated penetration testing is scanning your apps and systems for familiar or known vulnerabilities with automated tools.

This can be done quickly and cheaply, making it an attractive option compared to other methods, such as manual inspections or educational initiatives that may take longer but provide more detailed information about where improvements need to happen within your website security infrastructure.

Automated penetration tests take only minutes to run on your apps and network for potential vulnerabilities by relating to a database of known hacks.

This makes it perfect if you have limited staff, minimal data that needs protection and want everything to be simple. Instead, you need an idea about what security measures are necessary to keep people out while still allowing access when needed, especially during emergencies.

Why perform automated pen testing?

Human resource costs are high, and finding someone with the necessary skills takes time. There is also a significant overhead involved in manual pen test; every time an auditor sets up their environment, they have to get lost in how things work, which can be very costly for organizations that don’t have budgeted funds available each month.

Automated software provides these benefits without incurring additional expenses or wasting resources on unnecessary tasks that would otherwise go towards laboring away at solutions to problems that they don’t know show up as a result of incompetent security measures.

Automated solutions provide much-needed cost savings for most businesses. With the ability to run them regularly and affordably, automation is more than just beneficial; it’s necessary.

As new vulnerabilities are discovered on an almost daily basis (and sometimes even hourly), there isn’t enough time in any one day or weeknight evening worth spending your employees’ wages when you could rent out software that does all of this work behind the scenes so they never have fewer hours accessible again because their job became too complicated with manual penetration testing involved every step along the wayward journey through cyberspace; no matter how small those risks might seem now compared against tomorrow’s newly added threat landscape.

When to perform automated pen-testing?

The decision of when to use manual or automated penetration testing tools should be based on the goals of the assessment and the resources available.

If the goal of the assessment is to find ALL vulnerabilities, then an automated pen test is going to be ineffective. However, suppose the purpose of the evaluation is to identify high-risk vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit. In that case, automated pen-testing can be a very effective way to find those vulnerabilities.

Manual penetration testing is often more time-consuming but can provide more in-depth information about a system’s security posture. It can also help verify the results of automated tests. So the decision of which approach to use should ultimately be based on your organization’s resources and goals.

Each approach has pros and cons, but there is no right or wrong answer when choosing between manual and automated pen testing. Ultimately, the best option will depend on your needs and what works best for your organization.

Manual pen-testing explained

Manual pen tests are an invaluable technique for evaluating the security of a system. It allows a penetration tester to review hacker techniques and find ways in which they can breach your computer, consider potential vulnerabilities by their impact as well as exploitability rate before preparing reports documenting all discovered flaws with solutions provided if possible.

Why perform manual pen-testing?

In contrast to automated tools that look for vulnerabilities, manual pen testing involves human intelligence and logic. The benefit is two-fold; firstly, you do a deep dive into your target’s security with more thoroughness due in part to relying on people skills and an instrument like scanning element. This increases the level at which penetration testers can find crafty bugs or hidden gems.

Secondly, because there isn’t just one person doing all work involved but several talented individuals brought together under a single roof, some might say umbrella (or even multiple), harmony reigns supreme, ensuring no task gets left unfinished and no stone is left unturned.

When to perform a manual penetration test?

It depends on the specific organization and what they’re trying to accomplish with its security assessment.

Automated pen-testing can be a great way to quickly and efficiently identify common vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems. However, there are some cases where comprehensive manual penetration testing is necessary to assess an organization’s security posture fully.

Some factors that might influence the decision to perform manual or automated pen-testing include:

  • The complexity of the network infrastructure.
  • The number of systems and applications that need to be tested.
  • The types of vulnerabilities that are being sought.
  • The time and resources are available for the assessment.

Ultimately, it needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the specific situation and goals of the organization.

The difference between automated and manual penetration testing

The right type for your business depends on how much you want to spend; if it’s not something that can be afforded, then an automated program will do just fine because they’re less time-consuming than people who use this service full-time but still need some help now & again with their job.

Which is better?

Automation is a cheaper alternative for many businesses that want to understand their network’s security flaws and posture without investing much money.

While not capable of identifying all vulnerabilities, automated pen tests can be conducted more frequently and provide an affordable way to understand your company’s entire IT infrastructure from top-to-bottom with less time wasted on manual, laborious tasks like searching through files or manually rebuilding test cases over again because there will already have been some vulnerability found along the way.

Combining the two

It is vital to have both automated and manual penetration testing. Combined, these techniques can provide you with the most comprehensive view into your network’s security by scanning for even remote vulnerabilities that might go unnoticed through traditional means such as firewalls or antivirus programs, leaving open more severe problems like hacker attacks unopposed.


So, when do you need an automated penetration testing process, and when does manual work just fine? The answer is it depends on your needs. Automating scanning is the way to go if you want to find the most critical vulnerabilities in your system as quickly as possible.

However, manual processes can be more efficient if you’re more interested in finding specific issues or need to comprehensively test a limited number of systems. Regardless of your route, always remember that security should be a top priority for any business. Want more information aboutpenetration testing? Check out our website; we have many resources to help get you started.

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