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Penetration Testing Cost in 2024: What Affects the Price

Roman Kolodiy
Director of Cloud and Cybersecurity, AWS Expert, big fan of SRE. Helps teams to improve system reliability, optimise testing efforts, speed up release cycles & build confidence in product quality.
Penetration Testing Cost in 2024: What Affects the Price

With cyberattacks on the rise, proactive security is crucial. Penetration testing helps businesses uncover vulnerabilities before attackers do. We explore 2024 pricing based on test type, scope, and needs, so you can make informed decisions about this valuable security service.

The Growing Importance of Penetration Testing in Today's Cybersecurity Landscape

Has your organization considered the potential financial exposure from a cyberattack on your critical infrastructure? According to Statista, 25% of American companies suffered losses ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 as a result of cyber attacks. In 2022, 4% of respondents lost more than a million dollars. This information illustrates the devastating financial impact that a single data breach can have.

pen testing pricing

At the same time, analysts note that companies are increasing their cybersecurity budgets, analyzing possible risks, from year to year. In 2023 companies boosted their cybersecurity budgets, reaching $168.8 billion in 2023, as reported by Firewall Times. This number is expected to climb to nearly $192.2 billion by 2024, showing companies clearly prioritize strong cybersecurity measures to avoid such expensive breaches.

Within this landscape, penetration testing stands out as a key strategy. It helps to find and fix security gaps before attackers can take advantage, lowering the risk of costly incidents. This method is about more than just testing existing defense systems. It ensures that all the systems are continuously updated to tackle the latest threats. Penetration testing is vital in keeping businesses secure, operations running smoothly, and customer trust intact, making it an essential part of any cybersecurity plan.

Let's look deeper into how much a typical penetration test can cost.

How Much Does Penetration Testing Cost?

The pricing of penetration testing services is not one-size-fits-all. Various factors can affect the final cost. Understanding these elements is vital for businesses planning to invest in these critical cybersecurity measures.

penetration test price

Let's consider each of these factors:

  1. Scope of Testing. A single application test will cost less than a comprehensive security check of the entire infrastructure or cloud environment. Costs increase with the complexity of an organization's IT environment due to the need for deeper analysis and specialized testing for diverse technologies and extensive networks.
  2. Type of Penetration Test. In general, black box tests are less expensive than white box tests, which require comprehensive system information for analysis.
  3. Experience and Reputation of the Provider. Established penetration testing companies with a track record of success usually charge more, reflecting their expertise and the value they provide in identifying vulnerabilities and offering actionable insights.
  4. Customization and Reporting Requirements. Tests customized to an organization's specific needs and comprehensive reports entail more work, leading to higher costs.
  5. Follow-up Assessments and Remediation Support. Services such as post-recovery retesting or ongoing support add to the overall cost but are crucial to ensuring long-term security improvements.
  6. Market Demand and Service Availability. The balance between market demand for penetration tests and the availability of experienced testers influences the price. High demand and scarce expertise often mean higher prices for top-quality pen testing services.

Average Penetration Testing Cost

Understanding the typical cost breakdown helps organizations budget for penetration testing. We have collected information about penetration test pricing in one place for your convenience.

  • Flat-rate Packages. Basic penetration testing price starts at $4,000, but costs can increase based on the testing scope.
  • Customized Engagements. Costs can escalate well beyond $50,000 for in-depth, customized testing.
  • Hourly Rates for Consultants. Expert consultants may charge between $100 to $300 per hour, depending on their level of expertise.
  • Additional Fees. Detailed reporting and remediation assistance can incur extra charges.

Different Penetration Testing Methodologies And Their Pricing

The cost of penetration testing can vary widely depending on the testing approach. Each type offers different insights, and the price reflects the depth of analysis and effort required.

Black Box Penetration Testing Price:

The penetration tester has no prior knowledge of the target system, simulating an external hacker's attack to identify security risks from outside the organization. This approach requires much  time and effort to simulate an external attack without insider information.

Black box penetration test cost typically ranges from $4,000 to $15,000.

Gray Box Penetration Testing Price:

This type combines elements of both black and white boxes, where the pen tester has limited knowledge of the target system, reflecting a more realistic scenario of partial information access.

Prices for gray box tests often fall between $5,000 and $20,000.

White Box Penetration Testing Price:

A test involves full disclosure of the system's details to the tester. This method allows you to get an in-depth overview of internal security by studying the system from an insider's point of view.

White box penetration test can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 or more, depending on the request.

Pen Testing Cost By Types

A complex of factors affects the cost of penetration testing:

  • the target system,
  • the need to involve specialized expertise,
  • the tools and technologies used in the testing process.

For example, a complex network architecture may require a broader range of tools and more profound expertise than a single web application. This point leads to higher pentest pricing for comprehensive assessment and analysis.

pen test price

Let's analyze the differences:

Web Application Penetration Test Cost

Testers focus on identifying vulnerabilities in web-based applications, including issues like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and authentication flaws. The cost ranges from $4,000 to $15,000+.

Mobile Application Penetration Testing Cost

Test targets security weaknesses in mobile apps on platforms such as iOS and Android, addressing concerns like insecure data storage and communication. The average costs range from $4,000 to $20,000+. Discover TechMagic's approach to mobile application security.

Network Penetration Testing Cost

Security engineers evaluate the protection of an organization's network infrastructure, identifying vulnerabilities that could be exploited via the network. The cost ranges from $5,000 to $30,000+.

Cloud Penetration Testing Cost

Cloud security threats include server misconfigurations, malware, data loss, etc. A pen test helps to assess vulnerabilities in cloud-based services and infrastructure, ensuring that data stored in the cloud is protected against unauthorized access. The cost ranges from $4,000 to $20,000+.

Social Engineering Penetration Testing Cost

Penetration testers simulate attacks that manipulate a company's employees into revealing confidential information, testing an organization's human security layer. The average cost can range from $4,000 to $10,000+.

Penetration Testing Pricing Models

You can purchase penetration testing services through a range of commercial models. This opportunity allows organizations with different needs and budgets to find the right option for them:

pen testing costs
  1. Fixed cost. This model offers budget predictability with a predetermined price. It is suitable for businesses seeking precise cost outlines upfront.
  2. Retainer Model. Designed for ongoing security needs, this model can vary widely in cost, often depending on the services included, such as continuous vulnerability assessments or security consultations.
  3. By-the-Hour Consulting. This flexible approach charges based on actual testing hours, suitable for variable project scopes. Hourly rates for a penetration test can range from $100 to $300, making it a good fit for projects where the required effort is uncertain.
  4. Project-Based Pricing. Custom quotes for specific projects, like conducting an external penetration test, consider the project's complexity and required testing methodologies.
  5. Subscription Services. Continuous vulnerability scanning and security assessments through subscriptions help with ongoing compliance and threat management. Costs are typically structured monthly or annually. These services can start at a few hundred dollars a month for basic scanning and go up to several thousand dollars for comprehensive security management and testing packages.

The demand for penetration testing is skyrocketing as organizations prioritize proactive security measures and navigate increasingly stringent regulations.

Growing demand, competitive market dynamics, and methodological innovations significantly impact pricing. Here are some of the market-wide factors that may affect penetration testing pricing:

  1. Surging Demand. Heightened awareness of cyber threats has led to a marked increase in demand for penetration testing.
  2. Regulatory Compliance Impact. Compliance demands across industries necessitate regular penetration testing, stimulating market growth and affecting the pricing of services.
  3. Methodological Advancements. The development of modern technologies, such as AI in cybersecurity, also affects the cost of testing. Engineers do not use only manual testing but also various tools for a more comprehensive assessment. Therefore, the price of such tools can affect the penetration testing costs.
  4. Customization and Specialization. An individual approach to vulnerability assessment has increased the quality of services provided and caused a variation in prices. Specialized testing for specific environments, such as cloud or mobile, requires special skills and affects penetration testing costs.
  5. Cybersecurity Talent Gap. The experience of testing specialists affects the cost of their services. In this case, you should refrain from saving money and entrusting the audit to inexperienced specialists because this can reduce the quality of the assessment and potentially put the company under threat.

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How to Find a Penetration Testing Vendor

Choosing the right penetration testing provider is about more than just cost. Key factors include their technical expertise, track record, methodological rigor, and the customization and clarity they bring to the process. Providers should also deliver actionable insights and support for remediation post-testing.

What to look for when choosing a provider:

Expertise and Credentials

Evaluate the provider's ability to conduct a range of penetration tests. Certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker by EC Council, eJPT, eWPT, PenTest+ by CompTIA, and Offensive Security Certified Professional showcase their vulnerability identification and exploitation skills.


To check a provider's reputation, read their reviews, for example, on Clutch. Also, ask clients they have already worked with or look for case studies. This research will help you ensure that the company has the experience and level of expertise you need.

Methodological Approach

Choose a provider that uses both automated vulnerability scanning and manual testing. This approach will ensure a rigorous security assessment of your project.

Reporting and Remediation Support

Choose providers that offer detailed reports on vulnerabilities and practical remediation advice. Services should include follow-up assessments to confirm the effectiveness of security enhancements.

Pricing Transparency

Seek providers who are upfront about penetration testing costs, offering either fixed pricing for standard tests or customized quotes for more specialized requirements.


Effective communication throughout the testing process is essential, ensuring your security team is fully informed and engaged.

To conduct tests, choose a company that adheres to ethical and legal standards, and takes care of the safekeeping of confidential information.

Penetration Testing Price: Key Considerations with Your Vendor

It is critical to have clear communication with your vendor while budgeting for a penetration test. Be wary of contractors who might not tell you about all the costs right away, as hidden fees can significantly bump up the total price. To ensure there are no surprises, always request a thorough pricing breakdown. In this way, you ensure that security testing cover everything you need without going over budget.

Here are key points to discuss to avoid unexpected costs:

  • Scope of Testing. Define the testing scope thoroughly, whether it's an internal penetration test, black box testing of web apps, or white box test for critical data systems. Understanding the scope helps in estimating the overall cost more accurately.
  • Type of Penetration Test. Clarify the type of test: black box, gray box, or white box testing. Each type has different associated costs based on the complexity and the depth of expertise required.
  • Coverage of Testing. Ensure the penetration test includes all necessary areas, such as IP addresses and critical web applications, to protect all vectors of potential vulnerability.
  • Expertise of Testers. Discuss the experience level of the pen testers involved. Less experienced testers might offer a lower quote but could potentially miss critical vulnerabilities.
  • Inclusion of Re-testing. Confirm if the initial quote includes a re-test after addressing vulnerabilities. Re-testing is crucial for verifying remediation efforts but is not always part of the standard package.

How a Penetration Test Can Protect a Company From Financial Losses

Prevent breaches

Investing in pen tests can significantly save money for a company by proactively identifying and addressing vulnerabilities before they escalate into costly breaches. Penetration testing company can uncover security flaws that could lead to severe data breaches, saving the company from potential fines and loss of customer trust.

Detecting threats at an early stage

Engaging in penetration testing services early in the development lifecycle can lead to substantial cost savings. For instance, white box testing can find possible vulnerabilities in a web application's design phase. Preventive measures at this stage allow simpler and cheaper fixes than dealing with similar problems after the software has been deployed. This proactive approach reduces the overall penetration testing costs by minimizing the need for extensive remediation testing and complex fixes later on.

Avoid fines

Industries regulated by standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, ISO 27001 are obliged to conduct penetration tests regularly. Security audits help avoid fines for non-compliance as well as expensive breaches. TechMagic offers ISO Certification preparation services – be sure you are compliant.


Today, cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important for companies.

The amount of financial losses due to hacker attacks in 2023 is another reminder that spending on cybersecurity is not a whim but an investment in stability. Penetration tests are an important part of a proactive approach to detecting and eliminating threats that can lead to system breaches and financial losses.

Pen test cost depends on the following factors:

  • Type of test (black, gray, or white box).
  • Scope of work.
  • Qualifications of the testing specialists.
  • Reputation of the penetration testing company.

Prices for conducting tests start at $4,000 and increase depending on the client's request.

At the same time, the cost of penetration testing will always remain lower than the potential losses due to a hacker attack. In addition, timely response to danger and a responsible attitude to information security allows companies to achieve regulatory compliance.

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  1. What Is a Penetration Test?

    Penetration testing is the simulated invasion of your computer system to find exploitable faults. Besides pointing out insecurity flaws, testers enhance an organization's defense mechanisms to maintain high levels of security. Regular penetration tests are more affordable than single data breaches, which may result in direct financial losses, legal fees, and reputational damage. In addition to improving their security test coverage, organizations that conduct penetration tests can better manage their risk tolerance.

  2. How much does a penetration test cost?

    Penetration testing services prices depend on various factors, including the testing scope and the complexity of the systems involved. Penetration testing prices start from $4,000 for more straightforward assessments and can escalate to more than $50,000 for comprehensive penetration tests that cover a wide range of vulnerabilities across multiple systems. Engagements may involve various testing methods, including black box, white box, and gray box testing, each with distinct cost implications.

  3. How much does a black box test cost?

    The price, which usually ranges from $4,000 to $15,000, can change based on your environment's complexity, the scope of the testing, and the pentesters' expertise and competence.

  4. How often should penetration testing be conducted?

    Industry best practices suggest conducting penetration tests at least annually to ensure ongoing security efficacy. It is prudent to perform these tests following any significant updates to IT infrastructures, the introduction of new systems, or after deploying major software releases to identify any new vulnerabilities these changes might introduce. This frequency helps maintain a robust defense against evolving cyber threats and aligns with most compliance requirements.

  5. What value does penetration testing bring to organizations?

    Penetration testing investments provide significant returns by proactively detecting and enabling the remediation of vulnerabilities before they may be exploited by malicious individuals. This vital service lowers the possibility of expensive data breaches, helps comply with legal and regulatory obligations, and strengthens an organization's overall security posture. Effective penetration testing is essential for preserving an organization's financial stability and reputation.

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Ross Kurhanskyi
Head of partner engagement