Penetration testing report

3 Mistakes You Should Avoid While Creating a Penetration Testing Report

In a world where cybersecurity threats are looming, businesses need to find effective countermeasures. The problems have reached a level where President Joe Biden has made cybersecurity one of his top priorities [1]. Do you know what is going to play a major role in beating hackers at their own game? Penetration testing.

Pen testers create an elaborate penetration testing report that explains the security issues of a specific area. Whether you are a professional or a business manager, it will help if you know about the mistakes that may wind up in your pen test report if you’re not careful.

This article will explain everything that a good penetration testing report should include. We will then discuss the mistakes you should avoid while creating a penetration testing report.

What Is a Penetration Testing Report?

Penetration testing reports are vital for resolving an organization’s cybersecurity issues. Some businesses request these reports merely to adhere to compliance standards and do nothing as a way forward. But if you are serious about cybersecurity countermeasures, a pen test report will do wonders for you.

A detailed report unveils where the tester bypassed specific security controls and what they could discover within the systems. A penetration testing report is significant for your organization after completing the penetration tests. The report itself is the major deliverable for the penetration testing organization. You can also use a penetration testing tool like Nmap, which makes report writing easy and simpler.

A thorough report helps managers understand what kind of report was conducted and how to fix such issues in the future. It also outlines security recommendations like what the tester thinks you should secure first and other short or long-term security improvements.

A good penetration testing report should contain the following details:

  • An executive summary for tactical direction
  • A breakdown of technical risks
  • The potential impact of identified weaknesses
  • Tools used
  • Breakdown of threats and potential damages
  • Conclusions and recommendations

Mistakes to Avoid While Creating a Penetration Testing Report

There isn’t exactly a stipulated structure for drafting a good report. But one must know about the intricacies that are important in resolving threats. Here are a few common mistakes that you must avoid:

Poor Report Structure

Your report should aim to educate your audience, who may not have sound technical knowledge. Do not fail to include the proper components into your reports such as the cover page, table of contents, executive summary, tools used, summary of findings, detailed description of findings, conclusion, and future recommendations. Failure to outline these sections will make your report lack professionalism and impact potential clients.

Not Prioritizing Risk

Many pen testers write detailed reports with umpteen vulnerabilities that are not significant to the client. A cluttered report like this only muddles the mitigation approach. It would be more helpful if you can prioritize risks. Attackers focus on critical issues that will maximize their attacks rather than non-critical vulnerabilities.

Lack of Multiple Recommendations for Mitigating Risks

An effective penetration testing report will outline several well-detailed remediation options upon which the client’s IT team will create an action plan. As a pen tester, you should always provide multiple options to resolve issues as IT teams may have a limited understanding of countermeasures. A good penetration testing tool is always effective in offering more than one solution, which is very convenient.

Lack of Resources and References

Resources and references increase the credibility of every penetration testing report. It also helps your client to research further and understand the nature of the threat.

Lack of knowledge and market understanding is a serious problem due to which pen testing reports lose credibility. Many penetration testing certification courses don’t cover this part, and hence learners lack an essential tool in their arsenal. The solution is to find a penetration testing course that will cover everything important that a pen tester should learn but will also have a special focus on writing an elaborate and effective penetration testing report. An all-inclusive and general understanding of penetration testing will take you a long way as a cybersecurity professional.

Learn Penetration Testing Essentials with CPENT

EC-Council’s Certified Penetration Testing Professional (CPENT) is one of the top pen testing certification programs around, covering every important aspect of this skill. It is the first penetration testing course to introduce IoT in its learning module. You’ll also get to learn about pivoting, double pivoting, exploit writing, and report writing. With lab-intensive training and real-world experience in countering threats, the program will prepare you to resolve every penetration testing requirement from your clients.



What should I look for in a penetration test?
A good penetration testing report usually includes detected vulnerabilities, steps to exploit the vulnerabilities, a method of fixing the issues detected, an estimation of the accuracy of the company’s vulnerability status, and other sensitive information.
What is the end result of a penetration test?
The end result of a penetration test is to identify and fix exploitable vulnerabilities. So, a good vulnerability testing report will not only include the detected vulnerabilities but also suggestions on how to resolve the issues uncovered. The results should be distributed to the senior-level management board, security teams, and other stakeholders.
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