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As a bootstrapped startup, you might think that you don’t have the budget to invest in expensive security measures. 

However, neglecting the security of your system can lead to costly consequences, such as data breaches and loss of reputation. That’s why it’s important to conduct penetration testing, or pentesting, to identify potential vulnerabilities and address them before they can be exploited by hackers.

But how can you conduct a thorough pentesting without breaking the bank? This blog will explore everything you need to know about cheap pen testing for startups.  We will cover all the pros and cons related to cheap pentesting. 

Why do startups need penetration testing? 

Let us analyze why startups need penetration testing in the first place. 

Arguments like ‘pen testing is a preferable choice for the companies that are handling large amounts of data then why startups’ are always made to underestimate the potential of cyber threats to startups. 

Startups when compared to established companies, compete harder to gain an audience, regulate growth, find potential clients and customers, and establish the brand name. 

Among all these pursuits, creating a vast customer base or client base is the critical factor to generate revenue and then profit. When providing services and products to their clients and customers, startups have to deal with and store an enormous amount of data. The data that drives the services and product growth. 

To secure the valuable data of end clients and customers, startups need top-notch security measures. Penetration testing is one of those measures that will not only keep the data of  users secure but will also help build trust in the market.

Where most cyber criminals prey on the assumption that startups do not have adequate resources to establish effective cybersecurity, one can easily subside the risk of attack by using methods like penetration testing vulnerability assessment for their startup. 

What is the price of a standard pentest? 

In general, a pentest can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, and sometimes even higher for very complex and large-scale projects. 

It’s always best to get quotes from multiple reputable pentesting companies and compare their services, experience, and pricing to ensure that you get the best value for your investment.

Furthermore, the methodologies of pen testing and their techniques also affect the price. To give a rough idea, white box pen testing could cost around $500 to $2500 for one scan, whereas the prices for black box and grey box pen testing can cost around $10,000 to $55,000 and $500 to $55,000. 

Other than these parameters, one should also take into consideration the fact that an individual pen tester will always be more expensive than a pen testing service. Going forward with the consultation from a service provider rather than an individual is cost-effective and time efficient. 

How cheap is too cheap

When it comes to pentesting, the quality of the work is the most important factor. It is not always the case that a more expensive pentest will be of higher quality than a cheaper one, but in general, a pentest that is too cheap may not provide adequate value or security.

The number of hours that a pentester spends on a project is an important factor in determining the quality of the work, as it allows the pentester to thoroughly assess the system, identify vulnerabilities, and provide actionable recommendations for remediation. However, it is not the only factor, as the expertise and experience of the pentester, the tools and techniques used, and the scope of the project are also important considerations.

If a pentest is priced too cheaply, it may indicate that the pentester is not investing enough time and resources into the project to deliver a high-quality assessment. It may also suggest that the pentester lacks the necessary expertise or experience to perform the assessment effectively, or is using automated tools instead of manual testing, which may miss critical vulnerabilities.

It is always recommended to go for the pen testing service if the service provider or an individual is devoting at least 40 to 50 hours to asses and getting the results. Anything shorter than this might not be as effective as it will indicate the completion of the process partially. 

What exclusions can you expect from a cheaper pentest?

Limited scope and coverage

A cheaper pentest may cover only a limited scope of your organization’s attack surface, focusing on only the most critical areas. This may leave other areas that are vulnerable to attacks.

Automated testing

Cheaper pen tests may rely more heavily on automated tools to scan and identify vulnerabilities, which may miss some critical security issues that can only be discovered through manual testing.

Less experienced testers

Cheaper pentests may be conducted by less experienced testers who may miss critical vulnerabilities or may not have the expertise to properly evaluate the risks and impact of identified vulnerabilities.

Minimal remediation advice

Cheaper pen tests may provide limited remediation advice on how to address identified vulnerabilities, leaving your organization with incomplete or ineffective guidance on how to improve security.

Less in-depth reporting

Cheaper pen tests may provide less comprehensive and detailed reports, with limited information on the technical details of identified vulnerabilities and how to address them.

What can you do to optimize your budget pentest?

Here is a list of critical things that can help you brace up before consulting for the pen test. 

Conduct Your Preliminary Checks

Before engaging a pentester, it can be helpful to conduct your preliminary checks to get a quick overview of your security posture and identify areas of concern. This can involve using automated vulnerability scanners and checklists to identify potential vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. By doing this, you can gain a basic understanding of your security posture and identify areas that may require further testing by a pentester. 

This can help you optimize your budget by ensuring that you only pay for a pentest where it is most needed.

Zero In On A Specific Area In Your Attack Surface

Depending on your organization’s size and complexity, it may not be feasible to conduct a comprehensive pentest of your entire attack surface. Instead, you may want to focus on a specific area or set of assets that are most critical or most likely to be targeted by attackers. 

For example, you may want to test your externally-facing web applications or your internal network infrastructure. By focusing on a specific area, you can direct the pentester’s limited time and resources to where it is most needed, and optimize your budget accordingly.

Get A Complete Download Of The Process

When engaging a pentester, it can be helpful to sit down with them and understand their process, tools, and techniques. This can help you provide better direction to the pentester and ensure that they can provide you with an optimized pentest. 

For example, you may want to discuss the scope of the pentest, the testing methodology, the expected deliverables, and the timeline for the engagement. By understanding the pentester’s process, you can also help ensure that they can work efficiently and effectively, which can help optimize your budget.

Secure your startup with SecureLayer7 consulting

In today’s world, cybersecurity is not an option, but a necessity. By partnering with SecureLayer7, you can secure your startup and protect your business and customer data from potential threats. 

We use industry-leading tools and techniques to provide a comprehensive assessment of your system’s security. Our approach includes both manual and automated testing to ensure that all possible attack vectors are identified and addressed. Our reports are detailed and actionable, providing you with a roadmap to improve your security posture.

Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a more secure future for your startup.

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