5 Compliance Requirements a Pentesting Helps to Achieve

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) procedures are renowned in the cybersecurity industry for their holistic role. The ethical hacking environment designed during a pentesting procedure reveals a lot of information about the system’s response to an attack. It reveals the maximum number of vulnerabilities and incident response details about the networks, systems, and applications. 

Usually, a security audit or assessment process builds towards a pentesting procedure as the natural end of resolving the security loopholes discovered. However, various compliance requirements and government mandates dictate a mandatory penetration testing procedure to ensure the security of customer data. Organizations of each industry have specific compliance rules for information security that have been made mandatory. 

5 Compliance Requirements and Mandates that Includes Pentesting

Here are some commonly used pentesting standards, rules and regulations under specific industries and for certain cybersecurity purposes:


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is designed for the protection of customers’ payment details, specifically cardholders’ data. Businesses that accept online card payments need to subject themselves to annual PCI security reviews for maintaining compliance standards. 

PCI-DSS 3.2 (Requirement 11) mandates regular penetration testing, internal and external testing forms, either annually or after significant changes to the infrastructure. Penetration tests under this compliance standard tests the cardholder data environment (CDE) and the infrastructure from within the organization and externally. 

An ideal penetration service provider for PCI-DSS should test for unsafe misconfigurations, improper encryption, coding vulnerabilities, and incorrect access permissions. 

  • GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) operates for organizations within the European market and provides coverage for all data protection issues. Its primary demand is organizations that store the personal data of customers for better information security and maintenance of governance standards. Therefore, organizations should set a special focus on storage, processing, and handling of such data for testing. 

GDPR Article 32 defines a pentesting procedure as a regular testing and assessment procedure of the efficiency of technical preparation and organizational response for data security. It recommends the regular occurrence of pentesting procedures and vulnerability detection for identifying and testing risks discovered. 

Ideal penetration testing under GDPR is conducted annually on internal and external components including emails, CRM platforms, personal data protection processes, etc. 

  • ISO 27001

A popular data security standard, ISO 27001 is a part of the ISO/IEC set of standards. Its unique feature includes a comprehensive framework of controls under the Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). This set of security standards will ensure that all security vulnerabilities are detected and resolved and security barriers are updated to meet new threats. 

ISO 27001 requires modification of security strategies in accordance with their own security risks with no mandated steps. Instead, it provides a detailed list of suggestions that cover the best security practices in a general tone. Objective A.12.6.1 defines the need for detecting security vulnerabilities quickly and efficiently, understanding the system’s exposure, and resolution measures. 

When implementing an ISMS project, following these steps and undergoing penetration testing is extremely useful. Your chosen penetration testing company should be able to modify your risk assessments, their treatment and provide security hardening measures. 


The SWIFT Customer Security Programme (CSP) is a part of the SWIFT interbank communications system and improves its security for financial institutions. There is a list of necessary and advisory controls for the security of the organization’s environment, tracking vulnerabilities, limiting exposure and treating them. Principle 2 mentions the same with respect to vulnerability management and controlling exposure. 

While this began as a self-evaluating process, penetration testing has now become mandatory with a proper test design, security implementation and test effectiveness. From 2021, SWIFT will evaluate the testing criteria of organizations, ask for extra evidence for compliance, and use this data for third-party services.

  • NHS DSP 

The Data Security and Protection (DSP) toolkit is designed for the healthcare systems in the UK against the protection standard of the National Data Guardian’s (NDG) Data Security Standards. This standard is applicable for the protection of healthcare and social security information. 

Standard 9 mentions a testing strategy for protecting the systems from cyber threats with annual penetration testing, evaluating network infrastructure and web services. 

NDG recommends proper penetration testing without adverse effects on the assets being tested. The third-party penetration service provider should look at the overall risks to provide a criticality rating for further resolution. 

These are only a few of the multiple standards throughout various industries to ensure data security. Sometimes, certain organizations require compliance standards beyond those mandated by the industry depending on the business purpose. Choosing a penetration testing service provider with the adequate skill set and experience to understand your requirements is key to your business’ security. 

If you’re still left with doubts regarding penetration testing, its importance to your organization, and the exact type of testing you require, try to contact an expert penetration testing company or solution provider.