Pros and cons of manual vs. automated penetration testing

Penetration testing informs businesses about the successes – and limitations – of existing security solutions. This image may then be used to alter security programmes and identify weaknesses in advance.

While most businesses are aware with and do manual pen tests, automated pen testing has emerged as a viable alternative in recent years.

How does automated pen testing differ from manual pen testing? Is one superior than the other? Let’s look at the advantages of cyber security services and disadvantages of each.

Manual pen testing pros and cons

The top benefits of manual pen testing are:

  • It provides flexibility and a better chance of detecting and addressing vulnerabilities in the tested systems.
  • Manual pen testing can uncover more sophisticated vulnerabilities and assaults that automated tests may overlook, such as blind SQL injection attacks, logic problems, and access control weaknesses.
  • In a manual pen test, a qualified expert may review an application’s replies to such an assault, perhaps identifying responses that look valid to automated tools but are in fact problematic.
  • When hunting for weaknesses, manual pen testing allows for greater ingenuity.
  • Another advantage of manual pen testing is the availability of an expert to examine reports. While automated pen testing techniques create results, security analysts must still examine and resolve many of the problems discovered.

The top cons of manual pen testing are:

  • cost and time
  • Depending on the depth of a pen test, findings might take weeks, which isn’t always optimal – especially if big vulnerabilities exist.
  • Manual pen testing is extremely costly, which is why many businesses only perform it to meet compliance and regulatory obligations.
  • When a company cannot afford an internal red team or pen testing team, third-party service providers are hired to meet testing requirements At an additional cost.

Automated pen testing pros and cons


  • Automation’s benefits of lower costs and easier access to testing may change that.
  • One of the advantages of automated pen testing methods is increased testing frequency. Companies want to handle relevant risks and dangers as soon as possible rather than waiting for a test to be planned.
  • Frequent automated pen testing also assists businesses in evaluating their complete computer systems, which may be upgrade more often than testing happens, for example, during fast release cycles.
  • Another advantage of automate pen testing is that it frees up security analysts’ time, allowing them to focus on other activities that may be place on wait during testing times.
  • Automation can also handle repetitive jobs that aren’t inherently difficult but are time-consuming.


  • One possible disadvantage of automated pen testing is that experts still regard it as a developing business.
  • As venture capitalist investment continues, it is an inventive and rising market.
  • Another disadvantage of automation is that testing findings are dependent on both the quality of the tool and the competence of the person employing it.
  • Your knowledge base is only as good as your programme. You must programme specific approaches and techniques for weaknesses.” If the pen testing software developer. For example, does not perform a good job, the automated pen test will be defective and may overlook crucial flaws.
  • Some are concerned that automated tools would supplant human pen testers, but Oltsik says this is not necessarily the case. “It’s feasible that these tests may improve to the point where you’ll just need overseers and auditors to supervise automated testing,” he added. “However, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
  • Furthermore, automated pen testing is still restricte in function and cannot be use for every testing scenario. Most tools do not allow pen testing on wireless networks, online applications, or social engineering, for example.


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