These days, a cybercrime in some form is being committed every 32 seconds somewhere around the world. That means that chances are, you or your company may be troubled by a potential cybercrime sometime in the future.
One of the best ways to prevent the impact of a potential hack lies in what’s known as penetration testing. But, you might not know what exactly network penetration testing is.
That’s why we’re going to outline what this phrase means. Then, we’re going to list the 10 major benefits that penetration testing can have for your business operations.
Penetration Testing Stages
The testing process can be segmented out into five sections starting with planning and reconnaissance. This is when goals are structured and information is generated. Next is scanning which is where relevant tools are utilized to identify how a target responds to threats. Stage three is where attacks are staged to understand any potential vulnerabilities and see how access can be gained. The next stage is the maintenance of access which is where Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are copied to check the access points for weaknesses. Finally, there is the analysis stage, where all the results are compiled and used to configure the web application firewall (WAF) before running the penetration testing again.
Methods of Penetration Testing
You can conduct penetration testing in multiple ways.
External testing focuses on the company’s assets that are visible online such as the company website and domain name servers (DNS).
Whereas internal testing an attack from a malicious insider is simulated such as phishing attacks.
Penetration testing can also be conducted as a blind test where the tester only has the name of the target organization and nothing further to catch any possible vulnerabilities.
Double-blind penetration testing is when the security team has no pre-warning of the drill and therefore handles it as they would a genuine attack.
Last but not least there is targeted testing where both the tester and security team work together and inform each other of their decisions and actions along the way. This offers great insight into hackers’ processes that can elevate security knowledge.
That way, you’ll be as prepared as possible for a potential cybercrime in the future.
What is Penetration Testing?
So, what exactly is penetration testing?
You might have heard of it before under one of its other names. Penetration testing is also known as doing a pentest or known by the phrase ethical hacking.
It’s a form of test that you can perform yourself, or pay for someone to perform for you. The way a penetration test works is that you’re essentially authorizing someone to lawfully hack your system.
As the person hacking your system performs their duty, you’re able to identify any potential flaws in your security. It can also be used to identify the strengths of your security, as well as any vulnerabilities.
This means that penetration testing is a way of conducting a full security assessment of your business operations.
Now that you know what a penetration test is, let’s outline the 10 major benefits it can have for your company.
1. Exposing Vulnerabilities
A penetration test is one of the best ways to expose potential vulnerabilities in your system.
This can be in relation to a cloud database, an in-house service or any form of tech system you’re operating on. This ability to expose vulnerabilities is vital to ensuring that your system is as secure as it possibly can be.
If you’ve not checked for any vulnerable areas in your system design, you’re at risk of infiltration. This is therefore the first major benefit of a pentest; it keeps your system more secure from hackers.
2. Acknowledges Your System Strengths
The ability for a penetration test to also show you where your system is strong is also beneficial. This can enable you to focus more time and effort on areas of your system that aren’t working.
It also shows you techniques that you’ve implemented that have paid off. These can then be utilized on additional systems in the future, now that you know they work.
This ability to take both the positive and the negative is what helps these kinds of tests provide a comprehensive report. Instead of simply targeting problems, a penetration test also allows you to see what actually works.
3. An Authentic Simulation
A penetration test is designed to simulate what an actual hacker might go through to get into your system.
This makes it a test that’s very true-to-life in the way it’s designed. This is a notable benefit for penetration tests, as it’s an authentic way of testing how secure your system really is.
The parameters are the same as they would be if an actual hacker tried to enter your system.
4. Helps You Improve Your Compliance
Another way in which penetration tests can benefit your business lies in regulation and compliance.
A pentest can be used to ensure that your system’s design is in keeping with any current regulations. If it isn’t, these problems will be flagged by penetration testers.
You’re then able to fix these problems to ensure that your business remains fully compliant where it needs to be.
5. Keeps Your Data Protected
Data protection is one of the most important aspects of security for all businesses today. If you’re not keeping your company and customer data secure, you’re risking serious breaches down the line.
A penetration test can check to ensure that none of your data is reachable by an experienced hacker.
If it isn’t protected, then a pentest will let you know about it. You can then quickly make any changes to your system based on the feedback obtained from the test.
This, therefore, helps ensure that, through a pentest, your data is as secure as it possibly can be.
6. Provides a Cyber Chain Map
Because a penetration test simulates a real hack, you’re able to see the kind of direction a hacker might go through your system. This is usually what’s known as lateral movement.
This is because a hacker usually penetrates a system, they must go deeper to find the most secure data.
If you’re conducting a penetration test, you’re able to map a full route through your system’s security. This can be a good way of showing which barriers are working, and which aren’t.
It also means you have a full map of how certain connections are made between the layers in your system itself. This is a great way to approach any potential optimization in the future.
Few other testing measures are able to provide as comprehensive of a picture of a cyber chain as a pentest. This is what sets them apart from a lot of other testing options available today.
7. Provides Thorough Feedback For Your Employees
If the system you’re operating on is your own, chances are your own employees will need to make the changes required. This is why penetration testing can help, thanks to the thorough feedback this kind of test into cybercrime provides.
It can ensure that your employees have a detailed map of what’s working, as well as what isn’t. This can give them key targets to focus on when they come to modify the security features of your system.
This then ensures that changes can be made far quicker than they would normally. It also makes their job easier, which can boost their morale for the task overall.
All this ensures that penetration testing is a way of testing that will benefit both your system’s security and your employees.
8. Strengthens Customer Loyalty and Trust in Your Business
Another benefit of IT penetration testing is the way in which it can reassure your customers.
You’ll be able to put out a press release with the results of your penetration test if these are positive. Or, if they’re negative, you can provide them with the updated specifications once any issues have been resolved.
This is a great way to build trust between you and your customers. They’ll feel as if you are handling your system more professionally.
They’ll also feel safer when working with you or using your services in the future. This can then, therefore, help to increase a feeling of customer loyalty for your business or brand.
Penetration tests are beneficial in this respect because they can help you attain more customers. It’s all about providing evidence that you’re fixing any issues and working hard to provide the best service possible for your customers.
9. Penetration Testing Can Help You Allocate Your Security Budget
A successful penetration test will also enable you to better allocate your security budget in the future.
You’ll know which areas need more money to be fixed and which may need less because they’re already perfect. It’s not just your security budget that’s impacted by a successful penetration test, either.
It can let you know how many employees you really need to keep your system secure. Or, it might indicate you need to dedicate a larger IT budget to more software or security subscriptions in the future.
Using the data from a penetration test can ensure you’re able to properly assess your budgeting in the future. This is a benefit of a pentest, as it ensures your system is secure and you have a more detailed picture of your spending needs moving forward.
10. Provides a New Perspective on Your System Design
As pentests are often outsourced, you’ll be working with an external penetration tester. This means that you have someone from the outside of your company who’s able to work with you on your system.
This can be vital, as it means you have an expert with fresh eyes on your system design. They might recognize things that you and your team haven’t while you’ve been working.
This can then allow you to make significant changes to your system, based on this fresh perspective.
Penetration tests can therefore not only be used to fix issues and improve security. They can also be used to update and improve the overall design of a system as well.
Where Can I Find Out More?
You should now know what penetration testing is, as well as what benefits it can have for your business.
Here at Net Depot, we operate a number of dedicated security solutions for companies in various sectors. We manage this through our dedicated 5-step security plan.
This includes identification, responses, and recovery stages designed to ensure your system is as secure as it can be. To find out more about pentests, or other security you should be adopting, make sure to contact our team today.