A penetration test, (aka pentest or ethical hacking), is a process to identify security vulnerabilities in an application or infrastructure with an attacker's mindset in a safe manner in order to evaluate the security of the system. The test is performed to identify strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities; including the potential for unauthorized parties to gain access to a system's features and data enabling a full risk assessment to be completed.
GitLab performs external, independent penetration testing at least annually with a firm that has a strong reputation within the security industry against production systems and internally, if it is determined that a significant change has been made to applications or infrastructure.
The purpose of this test is to secure personal, confidential, sensitive data from outsiders, like hackers, who can have unauthorized access to the system. Once the vulnerability is identified it is used to exploit the system to gain access to sensitive information.
A penetration test determines whether or not defensive measures employed on the system are strong enough to prevent security breaches. Penetration test reports also suggest the countermeasures that can be taken to reduce the risk of the system being attacked.