How to Build a Cheap Active Directory Pen Test Lab in AWS Without Any Effort
Whether you're brand new to penetration testing or have some experience under your belt, you want to have a safe environment where you can learn and practice the use, exploitation, and remediation of vulnerable software and unsafe configurations without exposing yourself or your clients' systems and networks to unnecessary risks. You need a cheap environment that's easy to set up, access, and maintain, as well as to blow away and rebuild. One without licensing headaches that your entire team can access from anywhere, but still mimics a real enterprise Active Directory domain.
What Makes a Good Penetration Test?
As I speak with clients about their penetration testing needs, it has become increasingly clear to me that most organizations are still struggling to figure out what constitutes a good penetration test and how to buy one.
Cars have been around long enough that, as a society, we’ve generally agreed upon the basic standards of what makes a good car and what to look for when purchasing a car. Reliability is important. Speed may matter to you depending on your goals. It most definitely should have headlights. Over the years, we’ve collectively agreed seatbelts are a requirement. But these universally agreed-upon standards don’t exist yet for penetration and security tests. While we may never settle on a standard set of requirements, it is important that your organization establishes its own standards that define what goals and requirements matter most of the time specifically to your organization.
Part of my job as Director of Penetration Testing at Focal Point is to help companies ask the right questions as they shop for a penetration test. It shouldn’t be a surprise that our practice is largely formed by what we believe are the right answers to these questions.
In order to understand what makes a good penetration test, we need to start with the goals of a penetration test. For many organizations, the goal is to simply complete a task and check a box. But better goals are to identify vulnerabilities to your organization and fully understand the impact of those vulnerabilities.
Fulfilling those goals isn’t easy, but a good penetration test will help you get close. Let’s look at the qualities of a good penetration test and how they’ll help you discover and address critical risks to your business.