Assess System Security With Business Pen Testing

May 18, 2021by James Briggs0
Penetration testing helps a business to assess the security of its IT systems.

Blurb: With their being a whole range of cyber threats business’ are at risk of being exposed to, the best defence against them is a good offence through an ethical hacking process. This sees professional testers launch a range of simulated attacks on a business’ IT system, in a controlled environment, to identify all potential system vulnerabilities, and then work at securing them. This article provides an overview of this process, and the many benefits it brings to organisations.

Business’ face the constant challenge of staying one step ahead of cyber threats. Part of what makes this such a difficult task is that it is never-ending; as hackers continually update their strategies, so too must organisations constantly refine their information technology systems to ensure that they are secure from all kinds of cyber threats and tricks that hackers may employ to gain unauthorised system access. It is advantageous for business’ looking to stay ahead of the hackers to undergo comprehensive penetration testing services of their IT systems, where a team of IT experts simulate a cyber-attack on the system to identify potential vulnerabilities. This upholds the business’ reputation as a safe organisation to deal with, and ensures that they will be able to identify all exploitable security flaws in their systems, thus maximising the chances of it remaining secure.

Penetration testing is also known as ethical hacking, because it simulates the conditions of a genuine business cyber-attack in a controlled environment, which allows the testers and business to gain a better understanding of the security of the system, and the possible ways it could be exploited by actual attackers.  By undergoing a ‘pen test’ service, organisations are working towards achieving several goals, including:

  • Gaining a better understanding of how effective the business’ existing information security controls are, the ways in which they could be exploited, in what scenarios particular areas could be exploited, and the scope of potential damage that could be caused by an attacker gaining unauthorised system access. By thoroughly understanding all of these issues, business’ will be in the best position to protect their systems from all kinds of cyber threats, and uphold their reputation as a safe business to deal with.
  • Achieving regulatory compliance in a range of different areas, such as the internationally recognised ISO 27001 Information Security Standards. This ethical hacking process can be done by itself, or as part of a larger certification process to these Business Standards. Companies that certify to these Standards open up trading doors between other organisations, and provide their customers with peace of mind by demonstrating a commitment to strong security standards.
  • Gaining a unique perspective into your business’ IT systems, which can be utilised in developing safer, more secure, IT system in the future. When business’ work at implementing an IT system for their network, they often focus on making it operational, with ensuring it runs successfully being their biggest concern. They may not devote as much attention to securing their systems from all types of cyber risks, which exposes it to vulnerabilities. Pen testing services allows business’ to view their systems from a different perspective and improve their understanding of cyber threats, thus ensuring their future IT systems will be as secure as possible.
  • Ensuring compatibility between new and existing systems. Business’ often work at upgrading one aspect of their IT systems, rather than entirely overhauling their networks. This means that new programs and software often operate concurrently with older ones, which can expose the business’ networks to a range of potential threats, unless they take appropriate steps to ensure there is compatibility between all the software they utilise, and that none of it is exposed to cyber threats. A pen test will help the business to ensure that the utilisation of innovative technology solutions does not expose the business to any potential cyber risks.

A pen test protects against both external and internal cyber threats

A lot of business’ are probably thinking that while it is important to work at protecting against external threats, in the form of hackers who know nothing about the system, they also need to secure against internal threats, in the form of disgruntled stuff or contractors, who attempt to launch a cyber-attack on a system they are already familiar with. One of the key benefits of comprehensive ethical hacking services is that the testers approach it from various perspective, both internal and external, to get a better understanding of the different types of cyber threats a business could be exposed to, and what needs to be done to protect it from the scope of these threats. Broadly, pen testing services fall into three distinctive categories, each of which address this issue from a different perspective, which are known as black box, grey box, and white box testing.

Black box testing approaches it from the perspective of a complete outsider, with no existing knowledge of the IT system they are seeking to gain unauthorised access to. Therefore, they must conduct research into the system, familiarise themselves with it, and search for potential security flaws that could be exploited. Grey box testing takes the scenario of the attacker having limited knowledge of the system, such as having access privileges to a few select areas, and then gauging what damage could be done with this limited access. Finally, white box testing is testing from the perspective of someone with thorough system knowledge and full access privileges, to ascertain what damage could be done in this scenario. By conducting pen testing services from these different perspectives, the testers will be in the best position to understand the full scope of damage the business systems is exposed to.

Once the penetration testing services are completed, business’ will be provided with a comprehensive report of the findings, which outlines how they approached the task, what vulnerabilities were discovered, and what should be done to address them to ensure the integrity of the business’ IT systems is upheld.

All business’ with an IT system that their staff work, no matter their size, industry, or scope, should consider undergoing this ethical hacking service. It demonstrates a commitment to quality, safety, and security, and provides customers, staff, and stakeholders with an assurance that their confidential information is safe.

Please click here to read more about penetration testing services, and how they can benefit all organisations.

James Briggs

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