Maximizing Pentest Reporting Efficiency at Your MSSP: A Business Case for Automation

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Pentest reporting is an essential part of the security assessment process for service providers. It provides valuable insights into a system's security posture and can help organizations identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in their infrastructure.

However, creating accurate and comprehensive reports manually can be time-consuming and costly.

Reporting may be the least favorite task for security professionals, but it is a key process that can impact your clients. We understand the challenges your team faces when generating pentest reports — from balancing the need for speed with maintaining quality and consistency in reporting structures to navigating the collaboration workflows.

But what if there's a way to maximize your reporting efficiency without sacrificing quality or consistency?

In this article, we'll build a business case for improved efficiency through automation that can have a transformative impact on your organization — all while empowering your team members to create more detailed reports and scale margins.

Understanding the Challenges of Pentest Reporting Efficiency

Pentesting engagements encompass multiple phases, with the reporting phase often presenting significant bottlenecks. According to research by Forrester Consulting, over 80 percent of organizations struggle to efficiently generate accurate and timely reports during pentesting projects — this has a direct impact on productivity and profitability.

Furthermore, the lack of consistency between reports can pose additional challenges as different teams are likely to have different approaches when it comes to their reporting protocols. This results in varying levels of detail and content that can make comparison difficult.

When security professionals are bogged down with manual tasks, they have limited capacity to take on new projects and address client needs promptly. This not only slows down the overall workflow but also affects revenue generation and business growth.

Automated reporting platforms, such as PlexTrac, play a crucial role in overcoming these challenges. By leveraging automation, service providers can streamline the entire reporting process, from data collection to report generation. This not only reduces the time spent on manual tasks but also ensures consistency and standardization across all engagements.

Automated platforms provide customizable templates and predefined workflows, enabling service providers to deliver high-quality reports efficiently and effectively.

Efficiency: The Key to Quality and Consistency

Efficiency is not only key to quality and consistency, but it can also be a great way for service providers to save time and money. Research shows that inefficient processes cost businesses 20 to 30 percent of their revenue. This means that investing in efficiency improvements can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

In pentest reporting, efficient processes enable service providers to deliver faster results. With the right tools and automated workflows in place, service providers can reduce the time spent on each pentest report and maintain a high level of quality. Additionally, improved efficiency allows service providers to scale their operations without sacrificing quality or speed.

Imagine the convenience and control of being able to deal with all data collection, analysis, and report generation in one platform. This streamlined approach empowers your team to handle a higher volume of engagements while maintaining high-quality standards and consistency across all engagements.

The benefits are twofold: more actionable results for clients to promptly enhance their security posture based on comprehensive reports and the increased profitability stronger client relationships can bring in engagement frequency, upsell, and referrals. Ultimately, it scales your business to new heights.

Building a Business Case for Efficiency

Now, let's explore how you can build a compelling business case for efficiency within your organization. As leaders and executives, how can you provide the necessary support for your team to move the needle and drive business success?

Identifying Efficiency Roadblocks

  1. Manual and time-consuming processes. Tedious manual tasks, such as copying and pasting, consume the valuable time of your highly skilled (and highly-paid) professionals; this approach is not sustainable.
  2. Lack of standardization. Inconsistent reporting formats, templates, and workflows open a window for errors, inefficiencies, and delays in delivering high-quality results.
  3. Poor collaboration workflows. Limited visibility and ineffective communication further hinder quality assurance and report consistency.
  4. Ineffective resource allocation. Poor resource allocation and utilization negatively impact productivity and prevent your team from performing at their best.

How to Steer Around Roadblocks

If you want to achieve pentest reporting efficiency, automation is the answer. By quantifying the impact of inefficient processes, service providers can make a strong case for investing in efficiency improvements through reporting automation. For instance:

  • Research shows that businesses with an efficient process save three times as much time per week compared to businesses without one.
  • Automated workflows such as those used in digital platforms can help reduce the turnaround time for pentest reports by up to 50 percent.
  • Reporting automation also most obviously brings ROI in time savings. And significant time saving from automation can be reallocated to complete more and deeper work.

The right pentest reporting automation solution can increase service margins by significantly driving efficiency, scale revenue opportunities with existing resources, and produce better client outcomes with more actionable findings.

Strategies for Achieving Pentest Reporting Efficiency

By introducing automation into your reporting processes, you can revolutionize the way you create and deliver pentest reports. Not only will your team be able to produce reports in a fraction of the time, but it'll also set the stage for improved client relationships, as clients can rely on consistent and standardized reports. In fact, according to Gartner, “70% of organizations will implement automation to deliver flexibility and efficiency by 2025.”

One practical piece of advice is to optimize the report creation process by leveraging specialized tools and platforms designed for streamlined reporting. These tools, like PlexTrac, offer a range of benefits, such as a reusable content library, standardized templates, and quality assurance workflows. These features expedite the pentesting process, allowing you to easily create comprehensive reports that maintain quality and consistency.

Measuring and Scaling Efficiency in Pentest Reporting

Having strategies in place for achieving pentest reporting efficiency is a good start. But how do you measure your efficiency and make data-driven decisions to enhance your operations? Here are several key metrics and indicators:

  1. Turnaround time. This metric measures the time it takes to complete a pentest engagement. A shorter turnaround time indicates higher operational efficiency.
  2. Report generation time. This metric evaluates the speed at which pentest reports are created. Faster report generation time signifies streamlined processes and improved efficiency.
  3. Testing coverage. This metric assesses the comprehensiveness of assessments conducted during the pentest. Higher testing coverage indicates a more thorough evaluation of vulnerabilities.
  4. False positive rate. This metric measures the accuracy of findings reported during the pentest. A lower false positive rate reflects higher efficiency in identifying genuine vulnerabilities.
  5. Team utilization. This metric evaluates the efficient allocation and utilization of resources within the pentest team. Optimized team utilization leads to improved productivity and efficiency.
  6. Cost-effectiveness. This metric considers the financial efficiency of the pentest process. It involves optimizing resources and minimizing expenses to achieve the desired outcomes.
  7. Mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to remediate (MTTR). These are crucial efficiency indicators. A low MTTD signifies the swift discovery of vulnerabilities, while a low MTTR indicates rapid response and resolution.

To continuously improve efficiency over time, service providers can measure these metrics, and tracking data is another area a reporting automation solution can help.

Empower Your Team with Automation

Imagine streamlining your operations, delivering faster results, helping clients reduce their time to remediation, and ultimately saving money. With pentest reporting automation, security service providers can boost their team's efficiency, increase service margins, scale service offerings, and provide exceptional value to clients and stakeholders.

Blog courtesy of PlexTrac. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.