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The Difference Between Bug Bounty and Next Gen Pen Test

The Difference Between Bug Bounty And Next Gen Pen Test

Last year we launched Next Generation Penetration Test (NGPT). It’s a new product with unique platform capabilities to meet organizations’ evolving application security needs as focused external threats grow at an accelerated pace. The next generation of pentesting can deliver up to seven times more security findings than traditional penetration testing, dramatically improving both the security posture and security development lifecycle.

With that said, there are some major differences between NGPTs and Bug Bounties that we will outline in this blog. Let’s start at the beginning with Bug Bounty.

What is a Bug Bounty

In its essence, bug bounty programs are a subset of vulnerability disclosure programs (VDPs) that incentivize security researchers by providing monetary rewards.

Bug bounty programs utilize a pay-for-results model. Bug bounty programs are typically offered to larger groups of security researchers, so incoming vulnerability reports are crowdsourced. Bug Bounty programs can be public or private, meaning they can be open to anyone in the researcher community, or they can be invite-only.

Learn more on the basics of bug bounties here.

Benefits of Bug Bounties

One of the biggest benefits of a Bug Bounty Program is that companies pay for valid results, versus paying for time and effort spent.

Some other benefits of bug bounty programs include:

  • Bug bounty programs scale effectively for large scopes. Due to personnel shortages and a pay-for-time model, penetration testing is unable to scale as effectively as a bug bounty program which has the potential to attract thousands of researchers who can cover a huge scope.
  • Bug bounties provide a more diverse range of security researchers (vs. 1 person). These researchers come from diverse backgrounds with diverse skill sets. Today’s applications tend to utilise multiple different technologies and one person is generally not an expert in all of them, so having a diverse range of people testing the software makes more sense.
  • Due to the incentive differences (pay for results vs. pay for time), researchers are incentivized to spend time deep-diving an application in search of more technical, more complex vulnerabilities. Spending the time doing this is worth it because finding a bug there results in a monetary reward.

These programs build upon the crowdsourced security model with a competition-based testing model that leverages a community of white hat hackers at scale to deliver rapid vulnerability discovery across multiple attack surfaces.

Next up: Next Gen Pentest.

What is the Next Gen Pentest (NGPT)?

Let’s start with the basics. Historically, pentesting is used to find possible site security vulnerabilities. 

 An NGPT is a replacement for a traditional pentest. It introduces the crowdsourced model and business process integrations (i.e., Jira, Slack, Trello, GitHub, etc.), to the comprehensive coverage analysis, directed and specific methodology, and customer and auditor facing reporting that we’ve come to rely on in a traditional pentest. 

Benefits of a Penetration Test

NGPTs overcome the operational and financial pitfalls of traditional pentests while creating compound value across the business, while traditional pentests can cost an exorbitant amount of money with limited results. Next gen pentests utilize the crowd to provide high-quality results that give you the best bang for your buck.

NGPTs disrupt the current penetration testing market with five distinct differentiators:

  1. Continuous coverage model
  2. Team of uniquely experienced pentest researchers selected from a crowd of thousands.
  3. Product matched directly with tester (based on their expertise in specific technologies)
  4. Inherent in the crowd is a diverse group of researches, ensuring a quality test with lots of different perspectives
  5. Security development lifecycle integrations for faster remediation and closer communication between security and development teams

Difference between bug bounties and ngpts

Differences Between Bug Bounties and NGPTs

NGPT and Bug Bounty both derive from the crowdsourced security model. In the crowdsourced security model, you leverage the same creativity that your adversaries are using to attack you. This model brings together the creativity of crowdsourced researchers to find vulnerabilities in your assets.

NGPTs also include the following:

  • best-in-class reporting, 
  • methodology coverage analysis
  • access to our Pentest Crowd (a specialized crowd of testers we pair specifically with your account)

Bug Bounties are proactive extensions to responsible disclosure, but differ from pentests in a few ways:

  • a cash incentive is added to reward the first white-hat hacker to find and report each unique vulnerability
  • they don’t include point-in-time compliance reporting
  • they don’t use coverage analysis

Although they differ a bit in process, crowdsourced security programs like Next Gen Pentests and Bug Bounties are augmenting traditional testing methods as the most effective and efficient way to reduce risk at the application level.

What’s Best for My Needs?

Traditional pentests can be quite expensive, costing hundreds of dollars per hour. In contrast, NGPTs and Bug Bounties use a crowdsource model, making them more cost-effective for smaller businesses and organizations on a budget.

Between the two, bug bounties are a good fit for those who follow a responsible disclosure policy, since it provides an incentive for finders who report vulnerabilities. Both Facebook and Google complement their responsible disclosure with bug bounties.

On the other hand, NGPTs are better-suited for organizations that require more traditional methodology-based testing and coverage analysis.While it can be more expensive than bug bounties (since you pay for effort instead of results), it delivers point-in-time compliance reporting and can be seamlessly integrated with commonly used business process platforms. NGPTs can also be utilized on-demand for a set time period, or retained on a continuous basis. 

Finally, classic pentests may be more suitable for companies that prefer predictable pricing for their budget allocation cycle. 

Large organizations may be better served by utilizing both bug bounties and NGPT. Pen testing is suitable for assets that are frequently used, newly acquired, or require compliance reporting due to industry standards or as part of a client requirement. For non-mission-critical assets, bug bounties can plug evolving security gaps and complement the company’s disclosure policy.

The good news is that organizations no longer have to choose just one option to cover all bases. Bugcrowd’s scalable platform allows companies to utilize bug bounties or pentests on-demand, as they see fit. Instead of a one-size mentality, Bugcrowd flexible service enables businesses to tap either approach based on their current needs.

To learn more about the differences between Bug bounties and NGPTs, check out our Ultimate Guides to Pentesting and Bug Bounties.

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