How Penetration Testing Can Help Businesses of All Sizes

A penetration test, also known as a pen test or ethical hacking, simulates cyberattacks to examine how weak (or strong) a company’s security is. Read on to learn more about penetration testing and how it can help businesses of all sizes.

Red team exercises are often conducted without involving staff to test how they respond to real-world threat scenarios. This allows for a more accurate evaluation of the effectiveness of internal responses to potential threats.

Cybersecurity Protocols

Cybersecurity protocols are the plans, actions and measures that keep organizations of all sizes safe from unauthorized access or cyberattacks. They include a variety of elements, such as authentication, authorization, encryption/decryption and auditing.

Penetration tests, also called “ethical hacking,” are authorized simulated cyberattacks on computer systems to assess their security posture. They identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations and errors that real attackers could exploit.

The penetration testing process has different phases that cover reconnaissance, scanning and exploitation. During reconnaissance, pen testers look for open ports and other entry points into the system. During scanning, they examine the target system’s configuration and search for software vulnerabilities using tools like Metasploit.

Once they have a handle on the target’s weaknesses, penetration testers engage in what is known as exploitation. They use the tools they’ve gathered and their knowledge of the architecture to gain access and stay connected long enough for a specific attack goal, such as stealing or moving data.

Cybersecurity Training

Cybersecurity training helps workers understand how phishing, spam and other hacker attacks work and what steps they should take to protect their own personal information and business data. It also teaches them about password security and how to use safe programs on company computers to avoid installing malware.

Penetration testing is a process that mimics the strategies of malicious hackers to evaluate an organization’s vulnerability to hacking and other types of digital attacks. It can help organizations assess their adherence to cybersecurity policies and compliance regulations, and it helps them identify ways they might improve the strength of their network defenses.

Although pen tests and vulnerability assessments both help security teams find vulnerabilities, pen tests go a step further by identifying how actual hackers might exploit these weaknesses in real-world attacks. They may also be used to supplement Web application firewalls (WAFs). Vulnerability assessments are typically recurring scans that flag flaws for review. Pen tests are generally manually intensive and performed by security contractors or consultants who agree on a testing scope with the organization.

Network Security

Network security includes a wide range of protocols and measures to protect an organization’s data. Protection involves preventing threats from entering the system, detection of those threats when they do enter and response that helps prevent the spread of an attack.

Penetration testing is a type of ethical hacking that uses simulated cyberattacks to evaluate the effectiveness of a company’s information security. Its goals include finding vulnerabilities in networks, web applications and user security that attackers could exploit to gain access.

Many businesses must conduct penetration testing regularly to maintain compliance with industry regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. A pen test can also help reduce the risk of a rogue employee breaching company systems to steal data and damage the reputation of the business. Network security solutions like multifactor authentication (MFA) help mitigate attacks by requiring multiple forms of verification before giving someone access to sensitive information.

Employee Training

The penetration testing process, also known as a pen test or ethical hacking, involves the intentional launching of simulated cyber attacks. These tests help identify and expose exploitable vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and web applications. Pen tests can provide critical insights that help security teams fine-tune their WAF security policies and patch detected vulnerabilities.

A penetration tester aims to simulate the motivation and goals of a cyberattacker. To do this, they may use social engineering techniques such as gaining building access to search for discarded papers or credentials that can be used to compromise security. They can also conduct a physical penetration test to see how easily they can gain access to sensitive information and assets inside the office or find hidden devices that can give them access to the network.

Penetration tests should be performed regularly to ensure that a company’s cyber security measures are effective. These tests can help reduce the risk of costly breaches and other damage from disgruntled employees or malicious outsiders. Automated pen testing tools can help organizations perform frequent tests that are more efficient than manual efforts and produce more accurate results.