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July 11, 2019
Pricing a Vulnerability Assessment
July 11, 2019
Penetration testing and vulnerability assessment are an essential step in securing an organization’s communications networks. In some cases, such as hospitals and other public facilities, vulnerability assessments are required by law. How much can one expect to pay or bill for a vulnerability assessment? This depends on several factors, but there are ways to estimate the cost of an assessment. This section will explore the factors that go into pricing a vulnerability assessment, some case examples of vulnerability assessment costs, and the benefits of vulnerability assessments over other security measures. Figuring the cost of a vulnerability assessment is an abstract and complex process, but it is essential towards securing networks.The primary factor when determining the cost of a vulnerability assessment is the complexity of the organization and network environment. An organization with many devices, networks, and potential attack vectors will fetch a much higher quote than an organization with less complexity. Another factor is the experience of the penetration testing provider. If the penetration testing service has high-profile clients or a vast volume of orders, it can ask for higher rates than a service that doesn’t. Similarly, a penetration testing service may require the use of expensive tools that can speed up the test at a higher cost. Tests that require physical access to the building, such as social engineering and physical security tests, can add on to the final price of the assessment. Finally, the organization may charge extra to repair any security flaws they discovered and carry out additional tests. All of these factors should be considered when providing or requesting vulnerability assessment services.What’s the average cost of a vulnerability assessment? As mentioned earlier, it depends on many factors, but you can expect at least $4,000 to $5,000. Services that advertise significantly lower rates may not providing meaningful vulnerability assessments. This is a test that checks for tens of thousands of vulnerabilities, and it is not an easy or inexpensive task. The aforementioned minimum price is mostly limited to organizations with few users and simple networks. A moderately complex organization can expect to pay around $15,000 for a vulnerability assessment. From there, penetration testing can cost upwards of $30,000. Some larger organizations may pay up to $100,000 for a single vulnerability assessment. Compared to possible losses incurred by a data breach, data loss, or other malicious activity, these costs are reasonable to organizations across the world.Why choose a vulnerability assessment over a cheaper solution? Some services may offer a quick and easy process at an alluring price, but these services often only offer the illusion of security. There is a vast multitude of attack vectors and techniques, and simplified software solutions can only cover a fraction of these. It’s no surprise that these assessments are required by law for many public organizations as a matter of public safety. Private organizations that hold valuable information and financial assets are targeted for the same reasons that public organizations are targeted. In the mind of a hacker, the nature of the organization may not be as important as the potential bounty. Some organizations are discovered and exploited for the simple reason that the vulnerability exists. Hackers will use the internet to find targets that are vulnerable to an exploit, regardless of the location, publicity, or type of organization. For this reason, any organization can be prioritized as a target as long as it is connected to the exploit or vulnerability.In short, a vulnerability assessment is not cheap, but it is very much worth the cost. Determining the cost of purchasing or providing a vulnerability assessment is an abstract process with many deciding factors. Because of this, it is very possible to negotiate a price once given. However, being aware of the factors that go into pricing can prevent either party from getting or receiving an unfair deal.TL;DR: Vulnerability assessments are an essential and expensive component of many organizations with digital networks. Several factors are consulted when determining the final price of a vulnerability assessment, and a healthy understanding of these factors is key towards getting a fair quote.