The 9 Guidelines to Penetration Testing

October 10, 2017 0

Penetration testing should be a part of your company’s cyber security toolkit. If not, your network, software, and overall computer system could be at risk. Keep reading to understand what penetration testing is and why you need to use this type of security testing at your business.

Definition

A penetration test, which might also be called a pen test, is a simulated attack on your network, software, or computer systems that you have authorized. The purpose of this test is to determine how easy or hard it is to gain access, and will help figure out what steps you need to strengthen your system.

Reasons Why You Need to Perform Pen Testing

1. Real-world Experience

These tests should be done without alerting your staff. This will help you learn if the security protocols you have in place actually work. Consider this to be like a fire drill for your network. This way, you can determine if the security system and tools you have in place are working without the actual risk of losing data to an attacker.

2. Prioritize Risks

Pen testing will let you know which of your system’s vulnerabilities should be patched first. You will be able to determine which of the vulnerabilities will have the most impact on your network; this will allow you to properly prioritize your resources and time.

3. Results Help Developers Make Fewer Mistakes

A pen test will show you the misconfigurations, backdoors, and other weak spots in your network. Use this info to train your developers; this will aid you when it comes to increasing security and avoiding these mistakes in the future.

4. Uncover Holes in Your Networks

These tests will show you what a hacker would do and what is done to gain access. This is even more effective when you allow a third party to run these security tests. It allows you to get fresh eyes on your network system, those who might see a different set of vulnerabilities than what your in-house security testers would.

5. Determine Feasibility of Attack Vectors

You might think you know how attackers would get in, but with the results of a test like this, you will have the proof. This can give you more information on where you need to spend the most in order to shore up your security.

6. Uncover Evidence to Support Improvements

We can never have enough resources, time, and money. However, when you can show your leadership team that the security on your network needs improvements, you can prove the value of your solutions and IT team.

7. Meet Compliance Requirements

If you are in the payment card industry, or any other area where regular security testing is mandated, a full-out penetration test will allow you to remain compliant. A rigorous security testing will also show that you aren’t trying to cheap out by doing a lightweight penetration test.

8. Post-Incident Analysis

After your organization has been breached, you need to figure out the attack vectors that were used to gain access to your system. Penetration testing combined with forensic analysis will help you re-create the attach chain. This will allow you to validate new security measures that will prevent a similar repeat attack.

9. Improve Security Response Time

Your security team should feel like a penetration test is a real-world attack on your system. A pen test will show you how much time it takes a hacker to breach your system and, more importantly, show you how prepared your security team actually is to remediate the threat.