From pentesting to red teaming: Security testing solutions compared

Security testing solution 1: Vulnerability management

The role of a vulnerability management solution is to scan your environment for network and application vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched yet, and to help you manage the process of getting them fixed.

  • Even with real-time visibility of new vulnerabilities (and, with some modern solutions, predictive prioritization), most security teams oversee such complex IT environments that patching remains an onerous, time-consuming task. If the solution lacks context on other control capabilities, false positives can also muddy the waters.
  • More importantly, vulnerability management focuses on vulnerabilities — not the actions of threat actors themselves. So, while they help draw attention to possible points of compromise, they can’t advise on whether there’s a real risk that one of those points of compromise will be targeted. This stops security teams from taking a pragmatic view of each vulnerability, and prioritizing patches based on the value to the business.

Security testing solution 2: Pentesting

Penetration testing, or pentesting, is another common and well-known security testing solution. In a penetration test, an organization hires a trusted third party to attempt to breach their IT environment using the same tools and techniques as a real threat actor.

Security testing solution 3: Red teaming

A red team exercise is essentially a much more sophisticated and comprehensive version of a pentest, taken a number of steps further in terms of replicating real-world threat behavior.

Security testing solution 4: Breach and attack simulation (BAS)

Finally, breach and attack simulation (BAS) is a relative newcomer to the security testing world.

  • It should keep up with the threat landscape and use the latest threat intelligence as it becomes available.
  • It should provide continuous security validation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  • It should be able to assess existing control capabilities, ensuring security teams aren’t flooded with false positives.
  • It should provide mitigation instructions for each threat sample, linked back to existing detection and prevention technologies in use (such as detection rules for your SIEM system).
  • Like red and blue team testing, it should facilitate effective communication and collaboration between stakeholders.

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Picus Security Inc.

Picus Security Inc.

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) | Continuous Security Validation | Gartner Cool Vendor