What is the Best Pen Testing Schedule for Your Development Cycle?

Pen testing is an essential part of secure application development; it helps find vulnerabilities before they can be exploited, ensures the resilience of web applications, and helps organizations identify and thwart potential threats.

That said, not all pen testing approaches are created equal. Whether you are using the traditional waterfall method for development, the more flexible agile approach, or the always-on continuous (CI/CD) development, your pen testing schedule should reflect your specific needs.

Pen Testing in a Waterfall Development Environment

Waterfall development is a great fit for well-defined software development projects where all features can be planned upfront. The development process proceeds sequentially, with each stage being completed before the next one can begin.

Waterfall development is more rigid than agile and continuous development approaches, making it challenging to shift gears mid-project. It is best suited for applications that are limited in scope, are unlikely to be updated often, and are not customer-facing.

With its highly structured approach and well-defined timelines, Waterfall development makes it easy to incorporate pen testing. In this case, pen testing can be time-boxed or done once the project deploys.

This pen testing schedule is sometimes referred to as traditional pen testing.

Pen Testing in an Agile Development Environment

, on the other hand, focuses on speed and flexibility. This approach is ideal for applications that are complex, customer-facing, and require frequent updates.

Time-boxed pen testing is still an option, although the frequency must correspond to each release cycle. Developers use short sprints to develop, test, and deploy new features quickly, so pen testing should be conducted more frequently.

For example, if you are on a bi-weekly release cycle, you should also be doing bi-weekly pen tests.

The downside to this approach is both cost and speed; frequent pen testing is costly to execute, and the pen testing cycle must be completed before the next sprint can begin.

However, if you want the most optimal security coverage with minimal disruption to the development process, you’d be better off with a .

Pen Testing in a Continuous Development Environment

Continuous development is a relatively new approach to web application development. It’s based on continuously delivering tiny updates rather than traditional methods like a waterfall and agile that focus on delivering the entire project or a set of large features at once.

automation have emerged as key technologies to enable teams to keep their applications secure, stable, and always up-to-date.

Continuous delivery is ideal for critical web applications with complex features and frequent updates. This approach allows developers to rapidly deploy new features as soon as they’re ready without waiting for other features to be completed.

The pen testing strategy needs to match this new development style. In short, using a continuous development approach requires continuous pen testing. This means that pen testing should be done every time code is released into production.

A continuous pen testing service is the only real way to get the most out of your security testing process with this kind of development approach.

Continuous vs. Traditional Pen testing

Whether you’re using waterfall, agile or continuous development—regular pen testing is essential for any organization that wants to ensure the security of its web applications. Traditional pen testing is typically done when a project is finished, while continuous pen testing is done throughout the development process.

Traditional pen testing is typically time-boxed or done once the project deploys, meaning it only happens at certain points throughout the development process. Unfortunately, this approach can lead to gaps in security coverage, leaving applications vulnerable during the time between pen tests.

As organizations shift to continuous development and deploy new features and updates more frequently, traditional pen testing may no longer be enough to ensure security.

, on the other hand, provides ongoing security coverage during all stages of the application lifecycle. This approach best suits customer-facing applications with complex features and frequent updates, ensuring that any changes or new features will be secure.

Continuous Pen Testing as a Service (PTaaS)

For businesses looking to reduce web application risk at all times, the lack of internal resources and expertise can be a challenge. This is where Pen Testing as a Service () comes in.

PTaaS is a cloud-based approach that combines automated and manual testing. By using PTaaS, organizations can rest assured that their web applications are secure as they make updates and deploy new features.

A PTaaS model provides an always-on approach that allows organizations to continuously test their web applications—before and after deployment and whenever updates or changes are released. This ensures vulnerabilities are identified and addressed in real-time, keeping application vulnerabilities in check.

Whether your organization is using waterfall, agile or continuous development, is the perfect solution for them looking to ensure continuous assessment of their applications. With automated and expert manual testing, organizations can rest assured that their web applications are secure throughout all stages of development.

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