Penetration testing, otherwise referred to as pen testing, is an ethical hacking practice the security experts at Outsource My IT perform better than anyone else.
When you hear the term “hacking,” what usually comes to mind? Chances are it’s not something you’d typically associate as ethical. Hacking is often linked to security issues like data breaches, identify theft, and more. Some attacks even have enough power to take businesses out of commission entirely. But not all hacking is bad. In this blog, we’ll walk you through an ethical form of breaching known as penetration testing.
Pen Testing 101
What is Penetration Testing?
To put it simply, penetration testing is an ethical form of hacking used to identify vulnerabilities living within your network or infrastructure. These thorough procedures are usually conducted by experienced IT security professionals.
Pen tests are broken down into five stages:
- Planning and Reconnaissance: Security specialists define the objectives of the test while gathering intelligence on potential threats.
Scanning: Your network is scanned to determine where a hacker is likely to target.
- Gaining Access: Attacks are staged to exploit those vulnerabilities. Testers then invade those gaps to see how much damage could be inflicted in the case of a real-life invasion.
- Maintaining Access: The goal of this stage is to test the overall strength of your security system. This helps your security team determine how persistent a hacker can be when conducting an attack on certain vulnerabilities.
- Analysis and WAF Configuration: During this stage, the results are compiled into a document. This information is analyzed by personnel, who determine which WAF settings need to be altered so those vulnerabilities can be patched.
Benefits of Pen Testing
A penetration test is a great defense mechanism for a variety of reasons. Running an assessment on your IT system can help you determine some areas you might be lacking, and in the long run, this can help save your company a lot of money. But there’s a lot more to gain than just vulnerability exposure and cost savings.
Here are the five primary advantages of professional pen testing:
- Risk Prioritization: Pen testing gives users a full view of their internal and external security systems. You’ll be able to see how your security controls are performing. This gives you an advantage because you’ll be able to see which risks pose the biggest threat to your infrastructure, allowing you to build a better defense strategy in the process.
- Hacking Prevention: A pen test simulates a real-life hack. This process pokes holes in your security system. Exposing these holes early on allows you to provide immediate remedies before malicious threats of hacking start to surface.
- A More Mature IT Environment: Performing helps users remain ahead of the curve. These security assessments give each user the leverage to maintain stronger security postures. Security experts examine the landscape of threats and identify vulnerabilities that might be more susceptible to more modern attacks.
- Fewer Data Breaches and More Operational Control: Data breach remedies are expensive and time consuming. Routine pen tests are proactive security measures used to prevent such financial loss. A more mature IT environment correlates to fewer data breaches, which translates to less downtime, allowing you to focus on perfecting every area of your business.
- Compliance Support: Your IT system must comply with all standards and regulations issued by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Regularly performing a penetration assessment is an act of due diligence that exposes areas of your infrastructure that might be walking a thin line. This can help you avoid heavy fines associated with noncompliance.
Types of Penetration Testing
There are six primary assessments to choose from. Here are the primary types of pen testing you could execute:
- Standard: A standing penetration test is your least expensive option. Users will be able to see which vulnerabilities exist at the surface level.
- Network: There are two forms of network penetration testing—internal and external. External pen tests reveal vulnerabilities typically exploited by external users who don’t have the credentials to access your system. Internal pen tests help spot issues that are linked to internal workstations.
- Web Application: This is the process of detecting vulnerabilities on your web applications. Web application pen shows you what part of your applications and browsers need extra security.
- Social Engineering: This practice mimics attacks conducted by malicious social engineers. These can come from several different outlets, including email invasions, physical intrusions, and phone pretexting.
- Blind Testing: Testers have very limited data to impede on. Hackers won’t have a lot to perform their invasion. Usually, they attempt to find their way into your network through the URL alone.
- Double-Blind Testing: This is simply just a more advanced version of a blind test. The only difference is that users won’t be aware when hacking is taking place. A double-blind test is when a tester acts on your information much like a real-life breach. This is particularly useful because it tests the abilities and response of an organization’s internal security monitoring methods.
Contact Outsource My IT for A+ Penetration Testing Services
At Outsource My IT, we are much more than a penetration testing company. We are a team of problem solvers who work tirelessly at keeping your most valuable information out of the wrong hands. As experienced technology security specialists, we work around the clock to ensure threats never interfere with your day-to-day operations.
Our test team will help shield your vulnerabilities so your infrastructure is always in optimal shape. Call us today and learn more about our professional penetration testing solutions!