Learn how Cobalt’s Pentest as a Service (PtaaS) model makes you faster, better, and more efficient.
Learn how Cobalt’s Pentest as a Service (PtaaS) model makes you faster, better, and more efficient.

What Is Pentesting?

Pentesting, also called penetration testing, is a manual security assessment, analysis and progression of simulated attacks on an application or network to check its security posture.

The foremost goal of pentesting is to harden and improve the security by discovering exploitable vulnerabilities in the security defenses. Insights provided in these attempts to successfully breach the system are then used to fine-tune policies and controls, while offering a chance to patch vulnerabilities before any compromise can occur.

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Pentesting Defined

In any application or network, there are weaknesses or flaws an attacker could exploit to impact data confidentiality, integrity, or availability. The testing goal is the same when performing application and network pentesting.

Pentest results include an output list of vulnerabilities, the risks they pose to the network or application, and a concluding report. Report types vary based on the pentest being conducted, but generally include an executive summary, scope of work, methodology, summary of findings, recommendations, post-test remediation, and finding details.

Vulnerabilities found during a pentest can be used to modify your existing security policies, patch your applications and networks, identify common weaknesses across your systems, and help strengthen the overall security posture of your systems and organization.

What Is Manual Pentesting?

Manual pentesting is an approach that layers human expertise with professional tools and techniques, such as automated binary static and dynamic analysis. Pentesting software is great at discovering problems with standard vulnerability classes, but it’s unable to detect certain design flaws.

This is why a manual pentest is needed in addition to pentesting software. A manual pentest performed by a skilled pentester is required for complete coverage including design, business logic, and compound flaw risks that can only be detected through manual, human testing.

Pentest as a Service vs. Traditional Pentesting

Companies regularly pentest their digital assets to establish trust with customers, comply with regulatory requirements, and improve their security posture. Traditional pentesting service models, however, do not work at the cloud-speed of today’s development. Traditional pentest services are siloed and slow, taking weeks to complete their work, while the company’s applications and networks lay exposed to the risk of breach.

The Pentest as a Service model offers a modern solution to these pentesting problems. This approach combines easy access to expert pentesting talent and a modern SaaS platform to enable pentests to happen fast, and collaboration and remediation to happen in real-time. Customers using this model can book a pentest on-demand and be a proactive participant in testing their applications frequently and maturing their security posture over time.

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Cobalt’s Pentest as a Service model is changing the way security and development teams perform and benefit from pentesting.

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Trusted Talent

Cobalt assigns pentesters to each project, meaning you receive an expert pentester who best matches your needs.
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Cobalt’s platform allows you to easily manage and aggregate all your pentest data, directly communicate with testers via Slack, and seamlessly integrate with tools like Jira and GitHub.
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Communicate in real time with the specific pentester who discovered each vulnerability. Live updates mean no more waiting until after testing is complete to receive your report.
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Cobalt’s PtaaS solution makes testing much faster. Tests start in days and offer sustainable ways to stay compliant and accelerate secure build-to-release timelines.

The Power of the Pentest as a Service Model


Our Pentest as a Service Lifecycle

The Pentest as a Service (PtaaS) model combines data, technology, and talent to resolve security challenges for modern web applications, mobile applications, networks, and APIs. This new approach applies a SaaS security platform to pentesting in order to enhance workflow efficiencies.

The PtaaS life cycle consists of six stages, supported by three core components.


Start off your test right by ensuring proper access and security controls.


Empower collaboration between testers and your team with streamlined workflows.


While the test is running, feed results directly into your DevSecOps ecosystem.
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The first step in the Pentest as a Service process is the discovery phase where all parties involved prepare for the engagement. On the customer side, this involves mapping the attack surface areas and creating accounts on the Cobalt platform. The Cobalt PenOps Team assigns a Cobalt Core Lead and Domain Experts with skills that match your technology stack. A Slack channel is also created to simplify real-time communication between you and the Pentest Team.

For more information about this phase, check out

3 Tips for Preparing for a Pentest

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The second step is to strategically plan, scope, and schedule your pentest. This typically involves a 30-minute phone call with the Cobalt teams. The main purpose of the call is to offer a personal introduction, align on the timeline, and finalize the testing scope.

For more information about this phase, check out

4 Tips to Successfully Kick Off a Pentest

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The third step is where the pentesting will take place. Steps 1 and 2 are necessary to establish a clear scope, identify the target environment, and set up credentials for the test. Now is the time for the experts to analyze the target for vulnerabilities and security flaws that might be exploited if not properly mitigated.

As the Pentest Team conducts testing, the Cobalt Core Lead ensures depth of coverage and communicates with your security team as needed via the platform and Slack channel. This is also where the true creative power of the Cobalt Core comes into play.

For more information about this phase, check out

Get to Know the Cobalt Core

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Accelerate your remediation with the fourth phase in the lifecycle. This phase is an interactive and on-going process, where individual findings are posted in the platform as they are discovered. Integrations send them directly to developers’ issue trackers, and teams can start patching immediately. At the end of your test, the Cobalt Core Lead reviews all the findings and produces a final summary report.

The report is not static; it's a living document that is updated as changes are made (see Re-Testing in Phase 5).

For more information about this phase, check out

Explore Cobalt's PtaaS Integrations

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When you mark a finding as “Ready for Re-test” on the platform, a Cobalt Core pentester verifies the fix and updates the final report.

Report types vary based on the pentest being conducted. Comprehensive Pentests include a full report with finding details, a customer letter, and an attestation, providing you with different formats to suit your various stakeholders like executive teams, auditors, and customers. Agile Pentests include an automated report with finding details, intended for internal consumption.

Explore PtaaS Reporting

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Once the testing is complete, you have the opportunity to analyze your pentest results more thoroughly to inform and prioritize remediation actions.

At this phase, you benefit from a deep dive into the pentest report with insights comparing your risk profile against others globally, identifying common vulnerabilities to inform development teams, and driving your security program's maturity.

Furthermore, executive teams will be delighted by the ease of use to track and communicate pentest program performance.

For more information about this phase, check out the

Agile Pentesting
An Agile pentest has a targeted scope focused on a specific area of an asset, or a specific vulnerability across an asset.
Benefits of Agile Pentesting for Security
  • Test a new release or code change before it reaches production
  • Validate fixes on a single vulnerability or small subset of vulnerabilities across an asset
  • Target a single OWASP category for a web/mobile/API asset
Comprehensive Pentesting
A Comprehensive pentest has a broad scope encompassing all vulnerability categories across an entire asset.
Benefits of Comprehensive Pentesting for Compliance
  • Meet or maintain compliance frameworks, such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, CREST, and HIPAA
  • Adhere to a customer or third party attestation request
  • Identify and eliminate any risks in an M&A transaction
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Why Pentest as a Service Is the Future of Modern Pentesting

Adopting a lifecycle approach to your Pentest Program ensures continuous proactive security, rather than treating it as a point-in-time project. Good Pentest Programs operate as ongoing processes including benefits of the analysis phase seamlessly leading into preparation for subsequent pentests. Try Cobalt's PtaaS platform to help reduce risk, improve DevSecOps agility, scale flexibly, and transform your security posture with a continuous, future-ready Pentest Program.

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