Pen testing is a vital tool in analysing the security of a company’s IT systems, but it is not as simple as you think. As a shortened form of penetration testing, in this article we will explore the importance of pen testing as well as why your business needs it.
Firstly, what is pen testing?
As mentioned above, pen testing is a tool that analyses the security of a company’s IT systems. It is a method for gaining assurance in your company’s vulnerability assessment and management process. However, it is not the primary method for identifying vulnerabilities. A good analogy is to think of it like a financial audit. The finance team in a company manages the day-to-day finances, but an external audit ensures the teams practices are sufficient.
Also originally known as penetration testing, pentesters will use a variety of techniques to access your systems. This would be through scanning networks and devices for vulnerabilities. Exploiting vulnerabilities in systems, social engineering attacks against employees and attacks against user accounts.
The importance of penetration testing
Penetration testing is incredibly important for any business because it finds vulnerabilities that other security measures may not discover. The larger the business you are, the more substantial it is. For example, if we consider antivirus software and firewalls, they only detect threats at the time of installation. Whereas exploits and attacks are discovered all the time. Therefore, relying on such measures alone is not enough to protect your business from cyber attacks; pen testing is needed. Penetration testing provides a further layer of protection for your business through identifying such vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
Preparation for a cyber attack
Pen testing essentially serve as a fire drill for companies. Penetration tests aid personnel to learn how to manage any type of break-in from a malicious entity. They serve to examine whether a company’s security policies are effective. Penetration tests can also provide solutions to companies to not only detect hackers, but in addition to expel them in an efficient manner.
A pen test can also reveal which channels in your organization or application are at risk, and thus what types of new security tools you should invest in or protocols you should follow. It is possible that this process will reveal several major system weaknesses that you were not even aware of.
Reduce the number of errors
Additionally, penetration testing reports can help developers make fewer mistakes. Once developers can realise how a malicious entity attacked a company’s systems, they are likely to learn from it and produce a more secure system.
Conducting pen testing would be very important if your company has recently
- relocated office
- applied security patches or has changed end-user policies
- applied upgrades and/or other changes to your IT infrastructure.
Risks of not testing your infrastructure
If regular pen tests are not conducted, then your businesses risk of not spotting a fault will be much higher than if regular pen tests are conducted. As a result, you are leaving your systems vulnerable to attack by anyone who knows how to exploit the vulnerabilities. If your systems are compromised and sensitive data are stolen, you may also be violating industry regulations and could face legal action.
The cost of a cyber attack on a small to medium sized business is around £3 million pounds. For larger businesses you can expect that cost to be much higher. In addition to the cost, you would also expect to lose business, damage to your reputation and even fines from regulatory entities. Therefore, it is in your businesses best interest to invest in pen testing.
How Cambridge Support can help
At Cambridge Support, we are experts in cyber security and are very willing to help you. We understand that security may not be your specialty and therefore if you have any concerns feel free to contact us. Phone 01223 921 000 or email at email@example.com.