Penetration testing, or pen testing, in short, is the process of simulating a cyberattack on your company’s system and network to identify vulnerabilities. The primary purpose of a pen test is to analyze the security of your organization’s IT system so that you can determine any weak points and strengthen them. A pen test is performed by certified professional testers, who are usually qualified security experts and ethical hackers.
Regular pen tests are essential for every business that maintains its own IT infrastructure, computing system, and private database. Therefore, companies must acknowledge the importance of pen testing for their business and perform such tests regularly. And to shed some light on this matter, we’ll be explaining some of the biggest advantages of pen testing for your business.
But first, let’s quickly go through the process of pen testing to understand how it works.
Various Steps of Pen Testing Process
When you hire a penetration testing service provider, here’s how they usually perform the test:
Reconnaissance and Intel Gathering
In this step, the pen tester gathers as much information as possible about the company’s system and the strength of its security measures. The goal is to collect maximum intel without being detected.
Identification of Vulnerabilities
The next step is to start looking for vulnerabilities in the system and find any weak point that will allow the pen tester to gain access to the system covertly.
This stage is where the tester launches a planned attack to exploit the vulnerability, bypass the security measures and gain access to the system. And it’s not just about getting into the system but trying and maintaining that access for a long time.
Cleanup and Reporting
In the final stage, the pen tester will perform a thorough cleanup to remove all traces of the attack and restore the system. Then they will prepare a detailed report of the attack, explaining the vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the system, along with suggestions on strengthening those vulnerabilities.
Advantages of Pen Testing for a Business
Let’s look at all the benefits of regular pen testing, which makes it essential for your business.
Identify Vulnerabilities and Weaknesses of Your System
It is, of course, obvious that the main benefit of pen testing is that it can identify vulnerabilities in your system, network, and database. Your company’s IT staff and security team may not be able to detect some vulnerabilities from within the organization. But a pentester who observes and analyzes the system from outside will have a different perspective which can help them spot various vulnerabilities that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Prepare For An Actual Cyberattack
During a pen test, the person or team that performs the test will be putting themselves in the shoes of an actual hacker to exploit your system. So the entire experience will be similar to an actual cyberattack.
In fact, there’s a specific type of pen testing known as ‘covert pen test’ where most of your employees and IT security team will not even be informed about the pen test. While the higher management is aware of the pen test, other employees and technical staff will believe it to be an actual attack and act accordingly. It’s an excellent way of checking how your staff react to an actual cyberattack, and the overall experience will prepare your team better to handle such attacks in the future.
Improve the Security of Your System
After the pen testing is complete, you will be submitted a detailed report that explains the security loopholes in your organization’s IT infrastructure. The pen testers themselves will also offer valuable suggestions on how to patch up the weak and exploitable aspects of your system. Their recommendations, combined with your own security team’s expert opinion, will help you significantly boost the strength of your system’s security.
Better Allocation of Budget for System Improvements
A detailed pen test will reveal vulnerabilities within your system and assess the risk levels of those vulnerabilities. High-risk factors need immediate attention, while low-risk factors can be mitigated without much urgency and effort. Accordingly, you can plan and allocate the budget to your IT department to implement the necessary system and security improvements.
Boost the Credibility and Reputation of Your Business
Regular pen testing helps you to continuously update and improve the security level of your computing system and database. As a result, it will also boost the credibility of your business among your important clients. They will be relieved to know that their data is secure in your company’s servers, and it will increase their trust in your business. Furthermore, seeing how your organization takes security issues seriously will also improve the reputation of your business.
Understand How Hackers And Cybercriminals Operate
Pen testing is an excellent way to understand the mindset and mode of operation of hackers and cybercriminals. Pen testers try to exploit your system just as an actual hacker would. They will then prepare a report explaining the entire process – how they identified the vulnerabilities, what strategies and techniques they used to exploit the system and gain access, and how they could avoid detection. All this information provides valuable insights to your IT and security team about how real hackers and cybercriminals operate.
Every business that has an extensive IT infrastructure and its servers and data centers must do everything it can to ensure the safety of its system. With advancements in technology, even hackers and cybercriminals are getting smarter and better at exploiting businesses. So you have to act accordingly and continuously monitor and improve the security of your system. And pen testing is one of the most efficient ways to do so, as seen from all the benefits and advantages explained above.