No Time to Waste: Why the Public Sector Needs a Better Way to Pentest


Blog by: SYNACK | Kirsten Gibson

Public sector organisations often struggle to compete with private companies for talent, a struggle only exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Recent reports illustrate an increasing need for cyber talent. According to a 2022 UK Labour Market report, employment in the cyber security sector increased 13% in 2021, suggesting a need for c.17,000 new cyber workers each year to meet demand, in addition to the c.4,600 needed to replace those who are projected to leave the cyber security industry each year.

The public sector continues to battle smaller budgets with fewer technical resources, whilst the challenges to protect the attack surface and anticipate new vulnerabilities become increasingly complex.

Public-private partnerships can alleviate the pressure felt by the public sector globally by infusing top-tier talent into critical cyber security operations and providing consistent, readily available technology and support.

Public sector organisations are charged with keeping a country’s digital borders safe and secure. They’re needed to keep the lights on, along with a myriad of other critical functions. To do that, organisations routinely test the health of their cyber security defenses. But are they getting the results and insight to keep up with today’s sophisticated cyber adversaries?

Stale security practices keep public sector organisations in the past at a time when they need partners to help them operate on par with private companies. Penetration testing, otherwise known as pentesting, is a technology that is fortunately evolving for the better.

Gone are the days of two people on-site with two laptops who take weeks to deliver a point-in-time report with few actionable insights.

Here’s what modern pentesting can look like: a continuous process to sniff out critical vulnerabilities as they’re known, actionable results built into a seamless platform, and an ability to scale to respond to critical vulnerabilities like Log4j.

The choice between outdated security testing and an agile, responsive pentesting solution to tackle a nation’s most pressing cyber security concerns is obvious. Synack provides premier security testing to keep public sector organisations at the top of their game, reducing risk while helping to keep critical data and infrastructure out of adversaries’ hands. The Synack innovative pentesting solution utilizes the Synack Red Team, a diverse community of more than 1,500 security researchers, and our secure platform to dig deep into web applications, cloud resources and other attack surfaces to find the vulnerabilities that matter most.

Our recent whitepaper, “The Public Sector Deserves A Better Way To Pentest: A Synack Perspective for the UK Government,” lays out the challenge with traditional pentesting and how public sector organisations can respond with maximum efficiency and limited budget. As public sector cyber leaders convene in London for CyberGov and look to enhance their security testing resources, the team at Synack is eager to collaborate on strategies that can win for compliance needs, data security, and risk reduction to critical assets.