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What Does Security Testing Cost and What Affects the Price?

What exactly constitutes the cost of security testing? In this article, we aim to clarify the factors related to the workload of testing and provide guidelines for budgeting.

What Does Security Testing Cost and What Affects the Price

Factors Influencing the Cost of Security Testing: Target Type, Size, and Testing Methods

Security testing is a professional service requiring technical expertise understanding of business risks. The workload depends on the type, scope, and complexity of the target being tested, as well as the chosen security assessment method.

  • Typically, target types include web or mobile applications, integration interfaces, IT infrastructure (external and/or internal network), cloud environments, IoT devices, and embedded systems.
  • The scope is influenced by factors such as the number of servers and devices in networks, the number of functions or API endpoints in applications, and various access or permission levels.
  • Complexity increases with intricate use cases or workflows requiring industry-specific knowledge. At the network level, segmentations or strict scope limitations add to the complexity.
  • Assessment methods include vulnerability assessment, penetration testing, and auditing, each of which has distinct purposes and is detailed in our other blogs: "Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning" and "Security Audit or Penetration Testing." 

This article focuses primarily on the cost structure of penetration testing.


Considering Business Needs Can Significantly Increase the Value of Testing

Testing itself is technical expert work, but the value of the results comes from understanding the client's business context. Therefore, it's crucial to understand not just the role of the target but why testing is desired, who needs the report, which security processes the results feed into, if the schedule is flexible, etc. 

In other words, each testing target is a combination of business context and technology, and familiarizing oneself with this combination takes time. However, this investment is worthwhile as it ensures the right thing is done in the right way. 

Ideally, test results can serve as input for risk management, product and process development but also communication, marketing, situational awareness can benefit from them. 


How Much Does Penetration Testing Cost? Here Are Some Example Prices:

Even though each target is unique for the reasons mentioned above, the costs for project-based penetration testing generally fall within the following ballpark ranges:

  • Web and Mobile Application Penetration Testing: €10,000 - €20,000 
  • External Network Penetration Testing: €10,000 - €30,000 
  • Internal Network Penetration Testing: €15,000 - €40,000 
  • IoT/Embedded System Penetration Testing: €20,000 - €50,000


What Affects Pricing and Why Do Prices Vary Between Companies?

The offered price and workload should naturally reflect the quality of the work. 

There is no standard for evaluating the scope, and different companies often have differing assessments and perspectives. One company might estimate the workload at five days, while another might estimate ten days. 

Junior testers may also have a lower daily rate compared to more experienced ones. It can be challenging for the client to directly assess the quality of the testing, so when evaluating prices, it may be beneficial to consider the service provider's experience, expertise, and certifications. For example, check if the company is CREST-certified or what experience and certifications the testers have.


What Do You Get When You Order a Testing Project from Silverskin?


  • An expert who ensures that the chosen testing method is appropriate and properly addresses to the security-related business goal of the target.
  • A team of technical professionals who systematically and transparently identify security vulnerabilities, assess their severity, and communicate remediation measures clearly, even within tight schedules.
  • A project manager who ensures the schedule is adhered to and that everyone is kept informed about what happens next, what information and actions are required from whom, and by when. This ensures smooth collaboration, allowing the client to focus on their tasks while the testing is conducted. 
  • A report that communicates the security level to external and internal stakeholders, detailing immediate necessary actions and long-term recommendations based on the maturity of security processes.

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