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Steps for penetration testing: your assessment handbook

icon Posted by: Hasan Sameer
icon July 15, 2022

In Brief:

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is a security testing methodology for your IT systems and networks to scan out vulnerabilities and weaknesses present in them. Moreover, it is a type of ethical hacking where your infrastructure is subjected to an attack simulation. This works as a diagnosis for your infrastructure’s security posture. And sometimes as a wake-up call for the security protocols in place.


is the CAGR for the pen testing market expected from 2021 to 2026


billion is the mark that it is going to touch by the end of 2026


of organizations hire internal team members to do the testing


of them rely on qualified third parties for the job

Penetration Testing Steps

There are numerous steps and techniques involved in penetration testing. But we can classify them into three broad steps. These steps are:

  1. Scoping
  2. Testing
  3. Reporting

However, penetration testing for different aspects of IT infrastructure is different. But in general, these steps remain the same for networks, clouds like azure, and api penetration testing as well. Let us get some more details on these steps:

1. Scoping

It is the pre-testing, or we can say the preparation phase. Scoping is just as crucial as the testing part as it lays all the groundwork for it. First, here we identify the type of test we need to conduct for your organization. Also, we set the goals and objectives for the test. And determine key areas on which we are going to conduct the penetration test.

Furthermore, we need to select the testing methodology in this step. You must choose one among the white box, black box, and grey box testing methodologies. That is not all. Additionally, you need to check whether your assessment process is in line with the technical, legal, and compliance standards. This involves checking the alignment of your test with standards like GDPR, PCI DSS, and ISO 27001. Also, deciding the budget for the test is a key part of this step.

2. Testing

It is the play zone where the real action takes place. This step includes the execution of all the planning in scoping phase. The transition of planning into action comes through different tools and techniques. The usage of tools and techniques depends a lot upon the type of infrastructure under testing. This implies that the tools for api penetration testing are different than the tools for cloud pen testing.

The testing team launches a simulated attack on the target systems and tries to exploit the vulnerabilities. This creates a scenario like a real cyber-attack. Penetration testing certainly exposes every single weakness that may work as an entry point for hackers and breachers. And that is what the real purpose of pen testing is.

3. Reporting and Debriefing

After wrapping up the penetration test, one final and crucial step is to make and submit reports. It is necessary to make a thorough report of the test that features all the findings. This helps in deploying the remediation and mitigation steps.

A detailed report highlighting all the vulnerabilities makes it easy to address for the team. They can conveniently cover all the security gaps in the infrastructure.

API Penetration Testing

All modern applications deal with a lot of data handling. Critical data such as medical records, personal identification, and bank records are also in touch with these applications. An API having weak security can expose all your data to the hackers out there. API penetration testing can help you fortify the security gaps and secure your data.

Key vulnerabilities that api penetration testing can help you with:

  • Excessive data exposure
  • Security misconfiguration
  • Broken function authorization
  • Improper asset management
  • SQL Injection
  • Insufficient monitoring logging

Azure Penetration Testing

The pen testing procedure for Microsoft’s Azure cloud is a lot different than that of api penetration testing. This testing is based on Assume Breach procedure. Here we test for the following aspects:

  • Intrusion and attack detection
  • Rapid response to intrusions
  • Recovery after data leak
  • Safety against future attacks

Azure penetration testing is carried out with the help of two teams- the red and blue teams. The red team is responsible for simulating the attack on the Azure cloud without hampering the data. And the Blue team works on the recovery and mitigation steps.

Before You Go!

  • Penetration testing has an important role to play in maintaining the cyber security posture of an organization. It helps eliminate all the security flaws in the infrastructure.
  • Whether it is api penetration testing or pen testing of any other aspect of the IT systems. There is a need for technical expertise to carry it out perfectly.
  • Hence, you need an expert like RSK cyber security to help you with the pen testing methodologies.


  • api penetration testing

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