What is CHECK Penetration Testing and Why Do You Need It?

1 Jul 2024

CHECK Penetration Testing

CHECK (Computer Health and Evaluation Check) Penetration Testing is a UK government-backed accreditation scheme for penetration testing services administered by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

The Need for a Cybersecurity Standard

Of late, companies all over the world have been facing hacker attacks. The most lucrative and well-known among these is ransomware. Companies have ended up paying hundreds of millions of dollars to hacking groups to protect their data without any actual guarantee that the encrypted data will be safely kept secure and accessible to the companies themselves.

Now, for official and government agencies, security is paramount. No consumer is happy knowing that their most personal records are insecure in the hands of the government. Hence, the UK has established CHECK Penetration Testing as a National Cybersecurity standard for all organizations and departments operated by the UK government.

This gives the standard UK citizen confidence that his confidential personal data is in secure hands. The departments are also treated with more confidence by the government knowing that the highest level of hacking protection has been given to their systems.

Hackers – An Insidious Threat

Hackers are everywhere in the modern environment. No matter how much protection is given to any data, it is often the case that even the highest levels of security have been breached by hackers, especially those in the hands of the governments like Russia and China. So, what confidence do we have in security standards, then?

We have basic confidence – that everything that can be done to keep hackers out has been done, and the organization that adheres to these standards is giving hackers the maximum possible difficulty and the highest possible defense to breach their internal security systems.

Aspects of CHECK Penetration Testing

  1. Accreditation: CHECK-certified companies and individuals have been rigorously assessed and approved by NCSC to conduct penetration testing on government and public sector systems.

  2. Standardized approach: It ensures a consistent and high-quality approach to penetration testing across different providers.

  3. Comprehensive testing: CHECK penetration tests cover various aspects of cybersecurity, including network infrastructure, web applications, and social engineering.

  4. Government focus: While primarily designed for government and public sector organizations, CHECK-certified testers are also sought after by private sector companies looking for high-quality security assessments.

  5. Regular reassessment: CHECK-certified individuals and companies must undergo regular reassessment to maintain their certification.

  6. Confidentiality: CHECK testers are required to maintain strict confidentiality about their findings and the systems they test.

  7. Reporting: CHECK penetration tests typically result in detailed reports outlining vulnerabilities found, their potential impact, and recommendations for remediation.

  8. Compliance: CHECK testing helps organizations comply with various UK government security standards and regulations.

  9. Risk-based approach: CHECK penetration testing focuses on identifying and prioritizing risks based on their potential impact on the organization.

Companies That Offer CHECK Penetration Testing

Some of the companies that offer check penetration testing in the UK include (but are not limited to):

  1. NCC Group
  2. Pentest Limited
  3. BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
  4. Secureworks
  5. Trustwave
  6. Pen Test Partners
  7. Bridewell
  8. 7 Elements

New companies may emerge or gain prominence over time since the cybersecurity landscape is always evolving. When choosing a provider, it's important to:

  1. Verify their current CHECK certification status with the NCSC
  2. Review their experience and track record
  3. Check client testimonials and case studies
  4. Discuss your specific needs and ensure they can meet them
  5. Consider factors like pricing, availability, and post-test support

Following these steps, one is assured of the best possible security for the clients as a guarantee from the cybersecurity department of the UK government.


Look for companies that have won awards in security standards recently and who are ranked among the best in the industry by trusted evaluators such as Cyber Security Industries. Often end-to-end security providers are the best value for money since they offer the cybersecurity equivalent of a full-stack developer service for CNIs (Critical National Infrastructure).

Microsoft Certified Partners are often the way to go. Certification from FAANG companies indicates proof of high value and trustability. Also, approval from industry leaders such as CREST is a good sign of high-quality companies. The more accreditations the company has, the better. Furthermore, the experience of the company in securing UK assets can be a sign that the company is highly suitable for your own business needs.


There are many companies that offer top-class cybersecurity solutions today. If you are in Europe, you can find some of the leaders on the page given by CREST, one of the leaders of the industry standards in this area, on this link. Often, the best companies can be found by merely examining their past work and their experience. Companies that are both highly certified and have done the maximum work for the UK government are often the best option for the industry. One notable example is Bridewell.

Other companies include:



And TrustWave:


Armed with all this information, I hope that you can make the best possible choice when it comes to your cybersecurity company.

Cheers, and the very best of luck to you.