What is Penetration Testing?

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing (or pen testing) is a vital tool that businesses can use to ensure their data remains safe and secure against a wide variety of cyber threats. The process essentially consists of running a simulated attack on your current cyber defences and identifying where any weaknesses may be. Once these weak points have been identified it becomes much easier to develop a highly effective cybersecurity strategy.

Pen testing acts as an incredibly efficient way to identify these weaknesses as many businesses and business networks have never previously suffered an attack. It is only in the aftermath of such an attack (or simulated attack) that these issues become clear.

Penetration testing differs slightly from a vulnerability assessment in that there is a simulation (or ‘ethical hack’) that takes place. When carrying out vulnerability tests, you are merely getting an overview of systems in place and potential areas of risk. When used in conjunction with one another, penetration testing and vulnerability testing are powerful tools against any potential threat.

Benefits of Penetration Testing

The benefits of pen testing are there for all to see. In the modern age, businesses simply cannot afford to be reactive to cyber threats. Doing so costs companies around the world millions each year. As well as being a proactive approach, there are various other benefits associated with penetration testing.

Proactive

As we mentioned, by assessing the risks your network faces you are taking a proactive approach to cyber threats. It is much easier to keep malware out of a system than it is to get rid of it once infected.

Helps to Identify Specific Areas of Weakness

Pen testing generates very specific and accurate reports. Employing experts to ‘hack’ a network using the same techniques and reacting to the same elements as malicious hackers would, a clear and accurate picture is painted.

Produces a Clear Plan of Action

Once the testing has been completed a full report is compiled, complete with actionable steps to prevent malicious attacks. We can support you through the process of implementing these points to ensure network wide compliance and overall security.

When Should I be Pen Testing?

Conducting penetration testing is always a good idea. That being said, there are some key periods when businesses can particularly benefit and when carrying out testing is slightly less disruptive.

Changing IT Infrastructure

If your company is already planning changes to its IT infrastructure, pen testing is the perfect tool for identifying alterations that need to be made to security. It is also useful to conduct another test once the changes have been made in order to assess their effectiveness.

When Launching New Products or Services

When launching new products or services your business may be exposed to new threats that you have not prepared for or even considered previously. Carrying out pen testing is a great way to mitigate these.

 In the Event of a Business Merger or Acquisition

When substantial change happens to a business, such as going through a merger or acquisition, new threats can become apparent. This may be due to an infrastructure overhaul or website migration.

Checking Compliance With the Appropriate Security Measures

If you’re running an audit of your current security measures then penetration testing is another element you should add. Simulating hacker activity provides incredibly useful insight that is otherwise difficult to obtain.

Bidding for Large Commercial Contracts

It goes without saying that if your company is involved in bidding for large contracts then you become an attractive prospect to malicious hackers. Make sure you’re protected against the worst outcomes by ensuring your security measures are up to scratch.

Using or Creating Custom Web Applications

If your organisation uses or builds custom applications then you need to ensure they are not a point of weakness. Particularly with new applications, it is important to conduct security analysis that includes pen testing.

Cyber Guard and Penetration Testing

Our team of experts are highly skilled at conducting these ‘ethical’ hacks and identifying security issues that your business may need to address. Cyber Guard is CREST accredited, ensuring peace of mind that we only use both secure and ethical methods during testing.

We are also part of the Tigerscheme Certification. This scheme verifies us further as technical security experts approved by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Get in touch with our team today for full information on how Cyber Guard can help protect your business against malicious threats.