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Top 10 Things to Look for When Picking a Pentest Management and Reporting Automation Tool

A recipe for success

Whether you’re a pentester or managing a pentesting/offensive security team at an MSSP or enterprise, you understand the pain that accompanies pentest reporting. 

For service providers, the pain always comes back to speed. Manual pentest reports take, on average, 35 – 50% of the overall assessment time. With the time suck of manual pentest reports, it’s hard to grow your business, add new service offerings, or improve the quality of your reports. 

Enterprise security teams focused on pentesting and offensive security experience just as much pain —although it may look a bit different. Speed is likely still a factor since most organizations are fixated on identifying and remediating vulnerabilities as fast as possible. However, the pain of seamlessly handing off vulnerabilities to development teams and tracking the fixes is likely a greater concern. You want to make sure that they’re prioritizing the most impactful vulnerabilities first so that you can retest and show a measurable reduction in risk. 

So how do you find a pentest management and reporting automation tool that properly addresses your unique pain points? We’ve done the hard work for you by evaluating all of the pentest reporting automation tools on the market to establish the “can’t go without” features. 

10 key elements to look for when evaluating solutions: 

  1. Aggregates data from multiple sources: Manually managing information from disparate sources is time-consuming and can lead to missed detail or errors. Look for a reporting automation platform that serves as a central location to easily upload results from all standard pentesting tools and analyze the raw data files.
  2. Offers a reusable content repository: Technical snippets are a critical component of the report writeup and findings analysis. However, they often are repetitive as similar findings come up in many different engagements. A reporting automation solution that includes a powerful content management module can transform the quality and consistency of finding writeups. It enables you to store QAed writeups in organized repositories directly in the reporting platform for single-click, permission-based access. Being able to archive and reuse other forms of content, like bios, boilerplates, etc., is also important. 
  3. Captures artifacts: A quality report includes visual evidence that supports the findings and recommendations, like screenshots, code snippets, photos, or even video artifacts. Look for a reporting automation solution that facilitates the capture and storage of all the artifacts and evidence needed for the final report. 
  4. Facilitates collaboration and QA processes: Many inefficiencies in the report creation process happen during collaboration. An effective pentest reporting automation platform should facilitate collaboration and QA processes to save time and improve the final product. Commenting and change tracking in the same place where reusable content is housed and the report is produced greatly reduces context shifting and version-control issues.
  5. Formats report templates: The ability to create the template once and automate the inclusion of content and formatting is a game changer for ensuring quality and consistency with every deliverable. Whether you need a fully customized template to represent your service provider’s unique perspective or are seeking multiple standardized templates for different types of security reports, look for a reporting automation platform that will keep branding and content consistent with company standards every time — with much less effort for everyone involved.
  6. Ensures secure and dynamic delivery of reports: A reporting automation platform with a permission-based portal ensures simple secure delivery of the report along with more efficient communication throughout the engagement. It also enables you to communicate scoping questionnaires, provide results throughout the engagement, and deliver the final recommendations securely — all without added tools, steps, or processes.
  7. Integrates with ticketing systems:  Completing annual testing and finding the same issues engagement after engagement, for example, is frustrating for testers. Look for a platform that integrates with your ticketing systems  so that you can immediately assign fixes and track remediation efforts.
  8. Prioritizes findings: Remediating vulnerabilities is the key to improving your security posture, or your stakeholder’s security posture. But with endless vulnerabilities coming in from different sources — vulnerability scans, red team assessments, pentests, risk assessments, etc. — it’s hard to know which vulnerabilities to tackle first. A platform with a context-based scoring engine can help you determine which fixes will have the most impact on your security posture. 
  9. Promotes stakeholder differentiation: To truly be effective, a pentest report must communicate to several different stakeholders. Look for a reporting automation platform that makes the differentiation of content for various stakeholders more of a science. For example, the platform should offer reusable standard narrative content, the ability to create analytics and data visualizations, and access to raw data and all the findings via a portal. 
  10. Passes the customer vibe check: When comparing pentest reporting automation platforms, be sure to ask for customer references. Hearing or reading testimonials from existing customers can help you determine if the platform has the necessary features to meet your needs. 

Keep in mind that although some competitor platforms seemingly have the right mix of ingredients, they may lack the depth and breadth needed to properly address your pain points. For example, a solution might promise vulnerability prioritization, but it likely only leverages CVSS and doesn’t consider your unique business needs. And chances are, it only prioritizes your manual pentest findings and not findings found from your vulnerability scanners, automated pentesting tools, etc. 

If you’re still struggling to compare vendors, we’ve created a “Competitor vs. PlexTrac” chart that shows what elements are missing from competing solutions. To view the chart or for added tips on what to looks for during the purchase process, please check out our eBook, How to Select a Pentest Management and Reporting Automation Tool: The Recipe for Success


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