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Why Is Penetration Testing Necessary?

Cyber security 10/10/2020 - 09:11 by Swami Nathan

With cyber-attacks becoming the norm, it is more important than ever to undertake regular vulnerability scans and penetration test to identify vulnerabilities and ensure the cyber controls are functioning on a regular basis.

Enterprise networks store a lot of privately owned and sensitive business data that they cannot afford to lose. Through doing so, they become major targets for cybercriminals across the Globe. To hack, exploit or store critical data that is stored in the enterprise network, they inflict various types of malware attacks.

Fortunately, there is a way for you to further ensure your network has a strong IT security. Ethical hackers are employed by businesses to perform penetration tests in their networks. Ethical hackers can attempt to break into an enterprise network and manipulate the vulnerabilities in these studies. Companies should be aware of this possible security hole by performing penetration tests and build solutions before a malicious hacker could find out about them.

Some main reasons why penetration testing is important are as follows:

Save remedial costs and reduce downtime on the network

The recovery process from a security breach can cost your business thousands or even millions of dollars including customer protection programmes expenditure, regulatory fines, and loss of business operability. A recent study found that the average cost of a Data Breach in 2018 is $3.92 million worldwide, which is 1.5 per cent higher than the result of the last year. It will therefore make substantial investments, advanced security measures and weeks to recover to get everything back on track and running.

A penetration test is a proactive solution to identify the major areas of weakness in your IT systems and to prevent serious financial and reputational losses from your business. However, you need to conduct regular penetration tests at least once or twice a year to ensure the continuity of your business.

Professional security analysts can advise you on the minimum penetration test frequency required for your particular business domain and IT infrastructure. They can also advise on the necessary procedures and investments to build a safer environment within your organisation.

Enabling regulations and compliance

During the risk assessment, if you don’t perform a penetration test on your products, you will evaluate the impact of not complying with certain laws and regulations. Failure to comply with regulations can cost you a heavy fine, lose your licence to operate, or even worse, get you days in prison. It is important that you seek legal advice to evaluate local laws and regulations and to ensure that your company meets those regulations.

Frequent pen tests can help you comply with the safety regulations prescribed by the leading safety standards, such as PCI, HIPAA and ISO 27001, and avoid heavy fines associated with failure to comply. These requirements enable company managers and device owners with the aid of trained security experts to perform daily penetration testing and safety audits.

For example, the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security) standard requires organisations that manage large amounts of transactions to perform both annual and routine Penetration Testing (after any changes in system). What’s more, the comprehensive reports produced from penetration tests will help organisations strengthen their security controls and show evaluators ongoing due diligence.

Uncover hidden vulnerabilities in the system before criminals do

The surest way to calculate the level of protection is by learning how it can be hacked. A penetration test provides a capability to measure the resistance of your device to external hacking attempts in a secure manner. It models a possible intruder’s behaviour by attempting to exploit the vulnerabilities caused by code errors, software glitches, unstable settings, errors in service configuration and/or operational weakness.

The main difference between a penetration test and a real hacking experience lies in its secure and managed way. It simulates a specific scenario of attack and exploits the vulnerabilities just to illustrate the possible harm of a malicious attempted hack. In addition, the client company can pre-define the nature and timing of a penetration test and is aware of any successful exploitation of vulnerabilities in its IT infrastructure beforehand.

Organizations typically perform penetration testing immediately after the introduction of new systems and applications or after significant system improvements (e.g. improvements to firewall policies, configuration updates, fixes, and software upgrades) have been implemented. This service will help them find and verify possible security vulnerabilities in their IT systems before cybercriminals will take advantage of them and bring new products to market successfully.

Reputation

Security attacks can compromise your confidential data, leading to the loss of loyal customers and significant harm to reputations. Penetration testing will help you prevent expensive breaches of security that put the credibility of your company and the trust of the customers at risk. In addition, if the method needs additional scope a pen test will expand in time and complexity. It can also be done in conjunction with vulnerability scanning to provide even more useful insights into weaknesses in your IT infrastructure and possible breach points.

Overall, only Penetration Testing can do a fair evaluation of the “security” of your company and its resistance to cyber-attacks. A pen test will show how successful or ineffective a malicious IT infrastructure attack can be on your business. It can also help you prioritise your security investments, comply with industry regulations and build successful defensive strategies to defend your company in the long run against intruders.

Develop successful security measures

To determine the current level of protection of your IT systems, summarised results of a penetration test are important. They will provide valuable information about established security vulnerabilities, their actuality and their possible effect on the operation and efficiency of the system at the top management of your business. An experienced penetration tester will also provide a list of suggestions for their timely remediation as well as help you build a consistent framework for information security and prioritise your future investments in cybersecurity.

However, make sure the organisation uses world-leading methodologies such as ISECOM OSSTMM3, NIST SP800-115, PTES and OWASP before ordering a pen test, and that its specialists are qualified and knowledgeable. Although a penetration test can require the use of automated tools, the emphasis still lies on manual skills, technical expertise and penetration tester experience.

Teceze – The expert in penetration testing

Before they become the cause of a major data breach or other cyber threats, take care of the security posture of your organisation by resolving vulnerability issues. Teceze assists organisations in detecting and addressing security issues within their networks, devices, and other assets. Call us at 44 20 4551 2020 today, or contact us today for a Free consultation with one of our penetration testers.

A penetration test is a proactive solution to identify the major areas of weakness in your IT systems and to prevent serious financial and reputational losses from your business. However, you need to conduct regular penetration tests at least once or twice a year to ensure the continuity of your business.