Penetration Testing

How long does a penetration test take?

Penetration testing is both a skill and an art form. It takes a long time to become a qualified penetration tester with many practical exams and experience engagements. Let’s take a look at how long an actual pen test will take.

How long does a penetration test take?

As you would expect there are many variables that will come into play and all of them relate to your business and your own unique circumstances. It will also depend on what type of penetration test you want. Based on experience you are looking at between:

  • 2 and 5 days to conduct a penetration test for a small business
  • 5 to 10 days for a medium sized business
  • 10 to 14 days for a large business

If you ask a pen tester they will usually say, it depends. They would be correct.

The House Analogy

You want a house. How long will it take to build a house?

Well we can see that it is going to depend on a lot of things. There are potentially an infinite number of variables that influence your particular circumstances. For a start, what kind of house? How big? What’s it made of? How many rooms? What types of rooms? What foundations? What ground is it built on? What planning permission is there? What is the availability of builders, plumbers, architects? Where is it? What access is there?

You get the idea.

The same applies to a penetration test. You have to decide why you want a pen test, find the right penetration testing company for you, work to their availability and resources, decide what kind of a pen test you want, what it will test, how it will test it, from where it will be tested, using what tools will it be tested, using how many resources.


If you want a rough finger in the air, work on around ten days/two weeks. But don’t hold me to it.

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