What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration Testing, also known as “Pen Testing” or ethical hacking, is a simulated cyber-attack carried out to assess the security of a computer system. It’s essentially the starting point in identifying security flaws and risks, as well as creating an efficient defence plan against hacking attempts.

Unlike a vulnerability security assessment which gives a useful overview of an organisation’s security levels, Pen Testing is actually able to provide a systematic evaluation of any security issues a business might be facing, including opportunities to apply appropriate security controls. 

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    Simulate a cyber-attack without the malicious intent
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    Easy to understand reports with recommendations
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    Identify your security vulnerabilities
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    Find out how your staff will react to a live attack
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    CREST and OSCP Accredited

Be proactive, not reactive

Businesses can no longer afford to react to a cyber-attack, as it can be too detrimental to their longevity and future success. A report by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Barclay’s revealed that 56% of businesses wouldn’t be able to survive a cyber-attack. Successful companies need to be proactive towards cyber-threats. So, where do you start?

We can offer three types of Penetration Tests: external, internal and wireless testing. All our Penetration Tests simulate a live cyber-attack without the very serious threat a cyber-hacker would pose. This will not only highlight key security gaps that will need to be addressed, but it also acts as an evaluation to see how your staff react in a live environment of being attacked.

By taking this proactive approach to testing a cyber-attack, it will better prepare your staff and help you implement procedures on how to react to an attack if it was to happen to your business.

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56% of business wouldn't survive a cyber-attack
cyberguard CREST pen testing team

How we carry out authorised cyber-attacks

Our experts (Pen Testers) will attempt to penetrate your network through a simulated attack that safely exploits any vulnerabilities found. Our Penetration Testers will utilise the same techniques and tools a real hacker would use, but of course without the malicious intent.

These tests can be performed either with partial internal access (grey) or from an external location to replicate a real hack (black box).

Once tested, our Penetration Report will provide a clear picture of your infrastructure’s status.

We’ll identify deviations from best practice, provide a clear explanation of the security risks, comprehensive remedial advice, as well as a set of recommendations to improve your cyber security moving forward.

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Which services does a Pen Test include?

Your Penetration Test will be bespoke to your business' requirements and can include:

  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Data Gathering
  • Social Engineering (Phishing)
  • External Vulnerability Scan + Attack
  • Internal Vulnerability Scan + Attack
  • Wi-Fi Vulnerability Assessment
  • Build Reviews       
  • Website Review (Red Team)
  • Application Review (Red Team)
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cyberguard security experts

When do you need a Pen Test?

With new cyber threats constantly emerging, it's recommended that every business carries out Penetration Testing at least once a year, but more frequently when: 

  • Making changes to your IT infrastructure
  • Launching new products and services
  • In the event of a business merger or acquisition
  • Checking compliance with the appropriate security measures
  • Bidding for large commercial contracts
  • Using or creating custom web applications

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Choose a CREST Accredited UK company

Of course, performing any simulated cyber-attack will highlight sensitive areas of your business. This is why when you’re looking for a cyber security partner to perform your Penetration Test, always make sure that you’re working alongside a fully cyber accredited body. It’s important that the organisation testing your business is using ethical and secure methods to ensure your security controls, data and computer systems are not compromised at any point. CyberGuard has been awarded CREST and OSCP certifications.

CREST is a not-for-profit, internationally-recognised accreditation body within the cyber security industry. We are a CREST accredited Penetration Testing company, which provides evidence that our security professionals demonstrate the appropriate knowledge, skills and competence. It also offers evidence from an independent, verifiable third-party assessment that CyberGuard provides the highest standard of testing and work to the pinnacle of professional ethics.

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CREST pen testing accrediations

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Penetration Testing and a Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability Assessments will scan your infrastructure for potential weaknesses. Whereas Pen Tests are a next-level service and will not only scan your infrastructure for weaknesses but will also aim to actively hack any potential weaknesses, just like a real cyber-attacker would. Providing advanced security for your business.

What are the benefits of a manual Pen Test vs an automated Pen Test?

The manual Pen Test that CyberGuard performs is a more meticulous assessment of your security infrastructure delivered by an individual. A manual Pen Test will take longer to perform but this is reflective of the deeper insights it provides into your vulnerabilities. The scanners used by automated Pen Testing tools often miss acute flaws leaving you vulnerable.

Who performs a Pen Test?

Your Pen Testing will be undertaken by one of our CREST accredited Pen Testers, these are ethical hackers who work on-site at our UK Security Operations Centre with the sole aim of improving businesses’ cyber security.

How long does a Pen Test take?

The length of your Pen Test will be dependent on your individual requirements. Factors such as network size will influence the duration of your Pen Test.

Is Pen Testing illegal?

CyberGuard’s Pen Testing is conducted in line with UK law – as part of this we will ask you to complete and sign a testing consent form which will capture the exact scope of your Pen Test.

Who needs Pen Testing?

Penetration Testing is important for all companies as it manages risk and protects clients and your organisation from data breaches. In highly regulated industries such as the financial services, healthcare and legal sectors, it also enables companies to stay compliant.

Can Penetration Testing be done remotely?

Yes, CyberGuard can perform all Pen Tests remotely, we send a pre-loaded box to site, for all internal Pen Tests, however if you’d like a person on site, we can complete that too.

How much does a Pen Test cost?

CyberGuard offer competitive Pen Testing quotes. The exact cost of your Pen Test will be dependent on your individual requirements and the scope of your infrastructure.


One can never totally relax in making sure that our systems are secure, the annual Penetration Tests highlight any new vulnerabilities, and these are then rectified. It’s important to the business knowing vulnerabilities are managed effectively as any breaches could have a serious impact on our ability to operate and this in turn would result in a loss of confidence in us from our customer base. These are vital to our security and give us greater awareness on how we go about our business which is one of the reasons why we outsourced our IT security.

Joseph Ash

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