When you’re looking to bolster cyber security, it’s only a matter of time until you come across network penetration testing. But what exactly is it? How does it work? And what is the end goal?
Read on as we take a closer look…
What is penetration testing?
In network security, penetration testing refers to the practice of simulating a cyber-attack on your computer system. Also known as ethical hacking or pen testing, the attack is carried out by a trusted third party using the same methods as real cyber-attackers.
Doing so allows them to identify gaps, weak links or flaws in your security set-up – without the real risk of information being stolen or damage being caused. It can also be used to assess how your staff react when a cyber-attack is detected.
Penetration testing can be broken down into three main types:
White box – Penetration testers have full knowledge of the system being hacked.
Grey box – Testers are given partial internal access.
Black box – Tests are carried out from an external location to replicate a real hack.
What is the goal of network penetration testing?
The overriding goal of network penetration testing is to identify threats before they happen. In other words, taking a proactive approach to cyber security rather than a reactive one. With this comes a number of benefits:
By identifying vulnerabilities and risks before a real attack takes place, you can close the stable door before the horse bolts, so to speak. That allows you to sidestep the downtime that comes from a cyber-attack and associated remedial action. Instead, you’ll have a secure system in place that stops hackers in their tracks.
Prevention is better than cure. It’s cheaper too. According to IBM, the average data breach cost is $4.24 million (around £3.2 million). That includes the cost of compensating data subjects, legal expenses and lost business in the long run. The cost of network penetration testing is miniscule in comparison.
Which brings us to our next point – trust. It’s hard (bordering on impossible) to come back from the reputational damage of a cyber-attack. Customers, partners and shareholders can all lose trust and take their business elsewhere. Consider the attack on TalkTalk in 2015, which resulted in the loss of over 100,000 customers and saw the company value drop by a third.
Last but not least, it keeps you compliant. Penetration testing also gives experts an opportunity to check your systems’ compliance with the appropriate security measures. This adds to the benefits above, by making sure your company avoids penalties and keeps trust intact.
Find out more about penetration testing
What is network penetration testing? An easy decision by all accounts.
At CyberGuard, we provide comprehensive penetration tests that are bespoke to your business. Our specialist penetration testers will perform a grey or black box test, depending on your requirements, to simulate a cyber-attack and highlight security flaws.
You’ll get a clear, concise penetration report with security recommendations to strengthen your defences. To find out more or get a quote: