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The Benefits of Penetration Testing

Penetration Testing

To minimize the risks involved with cybersecurity organizations implement various protective controls to keep their digital assets safe from hackers. Firewalls are installed to keep unauthorized visitors away from their private network, antivirus software keeps endpoint devices safe, sensitive data is protected and encrypted, and strong passwords are periodically changed or implemented.

A similar strategy is used to protect physical assets. Homes have locks on entry doors and windows. Security systems to detect intruders. Fences that impede intruders from accessing our property, and video surveillance to monitor threats.

Testing Protective Controls

Protective controls are fundamental to ensure the effectiveness of our security measures but it’s equally important to test the controls themselves. One way of testing the effectiveness of cybersecurity controls is conducting a penetration test.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is an exercise in which an ethical computer hacker will simulate a targeted cyberattack on your organization. The “attacker” will execute the same actions and behaviors that an actual “black hat” hacker would do to identify weaknesses in your cybersecurity control.

Business owners tend to assume that other protective measures like firewalls are keeping their business safe, just like we believe keeping our front door locked is keeping our home safe. Unlike our ability to jiggle the doorknob of our door to make sure the look is working correctly, there is no tangible way to make sure that our firewall is working. That’s why penetration testing is such a valuable exercise in terms of cybersecurity.

The Benefits of Penetration Testing

  1. Penetration testing allows you to test the effectiveness of your cybersecurity controls.

  2. Penetration testing allows you to implement the necessary changes to ensure your business is protected against cyber threats.

  3. Allows business owners to comply with state or federal authorities.

The Process of Penetration Testing

  1. Planning: The ethical hacker establishes the rules of engagement (ROE) with the organization.

  2. Scanning: The ethical hacker will investigate and uncover as much information as possible so he can develop an effective attack strategy. In order to gain information hackers usually search for public information available, obtain breached credentials, and scan the network for CVE (common vulnerabilities and exposure) in addition to other activities.

  3. Exploitation: The ethical hacker attempts to compromise the network’s security controls by exploiting the vulnerabilities detected during the scanning phase.

  4. Reporting: The ethical hacker compiles information to create a report that exposes the vulnerabilities in the organization’s cybersecurity in addition to recommendations to improve their cybersecurity systems.

How Often Should I Perform a Penetration Testing Exercise?

Penetration testing exercises should be performed at least annually to validate the effectiveness of your cybersecurity measures.

Now that you know the benefits of penetration testing what are you waiting to implement this practice in your business? BTI has more than 35 years of experience in the field of security, IT, and communication and we can assist you in all your security needs! Contact us now or schedule a free assessment!



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