Cybersecurity, Simplified: Penetration Testing

The worst way to find vulnerabilities in your company’s data security is when you’ve been robbed – when a cybercriminal utilizes these weak points to gain unauthorized access to your sensitive systems and data.

The best way to find out you have vulnerabilities in your network? By having an “ethical hacker – sometimes referred to as a “white hat hacker” – test your system’s security and report back any vulnerabilities. Using a trained security professional to “attack” your system (called ethical hacking or penetration testing) you can fix problems before a real cybersecurity takes advantage of them.

Who uses Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing can benefit all businesses, regardless of company size. Cybercriminals (black hat hackers) use a variety of methods and tools to regularly test the cyber defenses of companies, both large and small, for weak entry points where they can deploy their attack. Also known as ethical hacking, this security tactic allows you to discover weaknesses and remedy them before they can be exploited.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is a general cybersecurity strategy that uses ethical cybersecurity professionals as well as state-of-the-art automated tools to launch controlled attacks against an organization’s networks and data, with the object of discovering vulnerabilities that can subsequently be patched or corrected. Penetration testing is a safe and controlled method for uncovering deeper, company-wide data security vulnerabilities that might get overlooked.

Once testers have completed their efforts , you will receive a detailed report that showing exactly which weakness or “holes” in your systems were uncovered, as well as the relative impact and risk of each of these vulnerabilities. The report also includes remediation recommendations that are based on the findings of the white hat hackers.

Types of Penetration Testing

There is no standard penetration test and there are many types of penetration testing. It’s possible to hire a professional who has an industry credential such as the Certified Ethical Hacker or Penetration Testing certification, but this approach can add significant cost. It’s also quite effective to use a more automated approach, running a battery of tests to see which vulnerabilities a system currently has.

Types of penetration testing include:

  • Web application testing (generally means attacking the application with the same limited access that a normal internet user would have)
  • System server attacks (which would begin with the web servers behind the applications, but would also include systems providing services such as email, databases, and core network routing functions)
  • Wireless network access testing
  • Password/access testing (attempting to gain access to internal systems by breaking through access controls)
  • Social engineering (finding ways to trick employees to provide secret information or direct access to targeted systems)

When does Penetration Testing matter?

Regular testing is a key aspect in helping your company maintain a strong cybersecurity posture. It is also often necessary in order to stay compliant with government, industry, vendor, and customer security regulations and mandates.

How often should my organization run a Penetration Test?

Security experts recommend that you run a penetration test to check the security of your networks at least once a year. You should also do this after any major change to your network to ensure any changes to your IT resources do not lead to unintended risk.

Why is Penetration Testing Important?

With increasingly more of our day-to-day activities and business happening online, Penetration Testing is an easy way stay ahead of any potential cyberattacks. By having white hat hackers expose weakness in your networks you can remedy any weakness in your systems before cybercriminals can exploit them – improving your overall cyber security posture.

Learn more about the Defendify Penetration Testing tool here.

Resources & insights

Why You Could Be Denied Cyberattack Insurance Coverage
Why You Could Be Denied Cyberattack Insurance Coverage
As you’re working toward achieving robust cybersecurity, the subject of cyber attack insurance coverage and cybersecurity insurance requirements is sure to enter the discussion.
Cost of a Cyberattack vs. Cybersecurity Investment
Cost of a Cyberattack vs. Cybersecurity Investment 
Detailing the cost of a cyberattack versus the ROI of a cybersecurity investment enables leadership to see cybersecurity solutions are worth it.
Defendify Listed as a High Performer in Six G2 Grid Categories
Defendify Listed as a High Performer in Six G2 Grid Categories
The Defendify Cybersecurity Platform has been listed as a High Performer in six Summer 2022 Data Security Software Category Reports on the technology review site G2.

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