What is the purpose of penetration testing & why your business needs it?
With cyber-attacks on the rise and the changing threat landscape, companies are facing more attacks than ever. Penetration testing solutions, better known as Pen Testing or Ethical Hacking enable business owners to assess the capabilities of their cyber security defences. Cybercriminals target weak points in your cyber security profile and will poke at your most vulnerable components. Businesses can highlight the weak points in their cyber security and offer you the ability to reinforce and bolster security efforts.
How does penetration testing work?
Security specialists certified in “Ethical Hacking” utilise a variety of automated tools and surveillance methods to identify and flag any vulnerabilities within your in-scope systems. The ethical hacker will attempt to infiltrate your systems just as a cybercriminal would, using techniques that are commonly used in successful breaches. These typically involve Gateway Authentication, Secure Configuration, and Patching.
Furthermore, the security specialist may use tailored methodology based on industry, device, and size of business. This is because most social engineering attacks are targeted at specific business traits, they find desirable or lucrative. For example, our team may implement more phishing-based attacks against a business in the financial sector.
Why should you do a penetration test?
Cyber security is vital to businesses now more than ever. The number of cyber-attacks has risen rapidly over the last few years, and with the introduction of remote working, businesses are left vulnerable. Having a clear overview of your security estate empowers your business and gives you, along with your customers, peace of mind.
Pen testing solutions are an essential part of modern cyber security strategy, being included in most GDPRs now. Companies across sectors must become compliant and invest more heavily in their cyber security. Maximum fines for data breaches under the UK GDPR are set at 4% of your annual global turnover. Ultimately, a confirmed data breach can cause major damage to your business.
Businesses must take “appropriate technical and organisational measures” to secure their data or, in the event of an attack, face a large fine. An example of this is the corporate giant Interserve. They were hit with a staggering £4.4 million fine after not taking the correct steps to secure and protect their data. This is not uncommon either, thousands of organisations each year are attacked and fined costing millions. Don’t let your business contribute to that number!
What is a penetration test report?
After surveying your security landscape, our security specialists will create a personalised and detailed report listing a priority list of their findings. This report is tailored and specific to their findings. Breaking down your complete security portfolio, you can see exactly what you are missing and could do better on. The report is easy to identify weaknesses and outlines problems on a surface level to ensure you can make informed decisions based on the data.
The pen test report will include a list of priority actions to take
High – A high priority means there is a fundamental risk to your business and your security needs to be updated immediately. Recommendations of tools and solutions to secure your network will follow along with expert advice on how this issue can be fixed.
Medium – A medium priority lists the problems that do not pose an immediate risk but could easily develop into large issues. We would suggest making changes as soon as possible to minimise any potential risk. Following these suggestions will be expert advice on how to go about resolving the security flaws.
Low – Last but not least is low priority. Low priority does not mean ignore! These points, if left alone, can cause loads of damage to your organisation.
What are the benefits of penetration testing solutions?
There are a vast number of benefits to having a Penetration Test, enabling your business to move into the Digital Transformation.
Prevention – Prevention is a leading reason why businesses invest in pen testing. Knowing your weaknesses and building a strengthened defence around your vulnerabilities prevents cyber criminals from exploiting them.
Compliance – Most modern organisations are required by law to conduct frequent penetration tests. Due to the nature of operations in some industries, the Government enforces pen tests.
Continuity – Conducting periodic pen tests ensures your business is working at full capacity. With an in-depth security roadmap, your business can continue operations without fear of cyber attacks
Reporting – Our pen test reports deliver a detailed Technical and Management Summary that informs you on the security posture of your business. Furthermore, it provides a contextualised and prioritised list of findings and vulnerabilities for effective remediation and mitigation.
Pen testing can be hard to understand, this animation breaks it down, even more, to show you just how beneficial this test can be to your organisation.
What are the 5 stages of penetration testing?
Pen testing comes in 5 stages to create a complete, holistic overview of your entire IT estate. Ethical hackers will follow these stages to ensure they can fully understand the situation of your security and provide the best feedback. The stages are Reconnaissance, Scanning, Vulnerability Assessment, Exploitation, and Reporting.
Before any attack, a cybercriminal will gather as much information about your estate as possible. Ethical hackers replicate this but with a greater understanding of your security situation. We look at your gateways, network, user accounts, and any other surface-level operating systems.
Next is scanning, this phase utilises the information gained in the first stage to identify further access points. Using a mix of automated and manual cyber tools to scan for any active way to gain entry.
Then comes the vulnerability assessment, this tool goes one step further than just scanning alone. Security specialists use tools to identify and flag weak areas in your security landscape. These are systems and barriers that are not strong enough to repel cyber-attacks.
Exploitation combines all the data gathered and uses it to attempt to gain access to your organisation’s network. They will simulate real types of cyber-attacks, exploiting the vulnerabilities found in your defences.
Once the ethical hackers have finished the pen test, they will compile the data into a report. This report will highlight all their findings including weak points, strong areas, and priority points. Along with this, they will advise technologies, cyber security tools, and any other components that your business could benefit from following the test.
Penetration testing solutions are an extremely useful tool that businesses can utilise to understand the state of their security landscape. With a rising number of organisations going out of business due to attacks, investing in cyber security and futureproofing yourself has never been more important. Our security specialists are here to help and aid you through the digital transformation. Do you think penetration testing would benefit your business? If so, get in contact!