Penetration Testing: What Is It?

There are many different services offered by cybersecurity companies nowadays. One of the most popular and effective is penetration testing. This is a form of ethical hacking. The key to successful penetration testing is to think like a hacker.

The company in question does so in order to evaluate the security of your IT infrastructure and to pick up on any of your system vulnerabilities, including improper configurations, service flaws, application flaws, OS flaws, and even risky end-user behaviour. However, unlike a criminal hacker, they will not do so for their own gain. Instead, they will provide the company in question with a detailed report and they will take steps to eliminate these vulnerabilities so that a real criminal hacker cannot take advantage of them.

These assessments are also useful when it comes to evaluating end-users’ adherence to security policies and validating the efficacy of defensive mechanisms. How are penetration tests performed? Automated or manual technologies are used and they will systematically compromise servers, mobile devices, network devices, wireless networks, web applications, endpoints and other potential points of exposure. Once these vulnerabilities have been found, the tester may then try to find subsequent exploits at other internal resources. All of this will then be presented to the network and IT system managers, so that strategies conclusions and be drawn and remediation efforts but in place.

Why Should You Perform a Pen Test?

Now you know how a pen test works, but why is this an advisable security test to invest in? There are several reasons why you should consider a penetration test as part of your managed IT services. By doing so, you will be able to identify risks and prioritise them. Moreover, security breaches and service interruptions are exceptionally costly, and pen testing is one of the best ways to avoid them. A pen test offers one of the most intelligent ways to manage vulnerabilities, as you will have detailed information on actual, exploitable security threats. You get right to the root of the problem and you can identify which of the threats are the most critical so you can deal with them first. This ensures you take advantage of some of the benefits that were mentioned earlier regarding net security on the whole, such as improved customer loyalty and corporate image. You will also ensure you meet any regulatory requirements that are in place so that you avoid fines.

How often should you perform a penetration test? It is advisable to do so on a regular basis, as new threats occur all of the time. After all, the digital world is one that never remains stagnant, as innovative technologies are being developed all of the time and hackers are becoming more and more intelligent. Thus, you should definitely run a penetration test when any of the following occur – you have modified end-user policies; security patches have been applied; new office locations have been established; there have been significant modifications or upgrades to your applications or infrastructure; new network infrastructure has been added, or new applications have been added.

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