Penetration tests are fun and a challenge for the passionate pen testers. First I will describe in short that what penetration testing is and when it is required. Then I will go on to describe in detail that what the benefits of penetration testing are in today’s world.
Penetration testing is a type of security testing that is used to test the insecurity of a Company Environment. Whether it is an application or a network environment, it also attempts to exploit the vulnerabilities to determine whether unauthorized access or other malicious activity is possible. If a system is not secured, then any attacker can disrupt or take authorized access to that system.
There are various types of Penetration testing:
- PCI Penetration Testing
- Network Penetration Testing
- Application Penetration Testing
- Wireless Penetration Testing
- Infrastructure Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is an essential feature that needs to be performed regularly for securing the functioning of a system. In addition to this, it should be performed whenever −
- Security system discovers new threats by attackers.
- You add a new network infrastructure.
- You update your system or install new software.
- You relocate your office.
- You set up a new end-user program/policy.
Many clients have incorrect assumptions about penetration testing. They often schedule this type of project under false expectations, such as:
- After a penetration test, the company will be safe.
- A penetration test will find all of my vulnerabilities in its environment.
- A single penetration testing is enough for future business.
Companies who do penetration tests for these reasons do not get the real benefits of this service, and practically they will face disappointing outcomes in the future.
Unfortunately, every business works in a different way, and the value of conducting a penetration test varies in each case. Some businesses might manage IT security in a different way than others, and therefore a penetration test might be relevant in different ways. However, it is possible to find some common ground which will almost certainly apply to every organization.
However, the question is what are the real benefits of penetration testing for a company? Here are the common benefits of penetration testing.
Manage the Risk Properly
For many organizations, one of the most popular benefits of penetration testing is that it will give you a baseline to work upon to cure the risk in a structured and optimal way. A penetration test will show you the list of vulnerabilities in the target environment and the risks associated with it. A high order evaluation of the risk will be performed so that the vulnerabilities can be reported as High/Medium/Low-risk issues.
The sequence of the risk will help you to tackle the highest risks first, and then others.
Increase Business Continuity
Business continuity is the prime concern for any successful organization. A break in the business continuity can happen for many reasons. Lack of security loopholes is one of them.
Insecure systems suffer more breaches in their availability than the secured ones. Today attackers are hired by other organizations to stop the continuity of business by exploiting the vulnerabilities to gain the access and to produce a denial of service condition which usually crashes the vulnerable service and breaks the server availability.
Protect Clients, Partners, and Third Parties
A security breach can affect not only the target organization but also their associated clients, partners and third parties working with it.
However, if company schedules a penetration test regularly and takes necessary actions towards security, it will help professionals build trust and confidence in the organization.
Helps to Evaluate Security Investment
Penetration testing helps take a picture of the current security posture and an opportunity to identify potential breach points.
The penetration test will give us an independent view of the effectiveness of existing security processes, ensuring that configuration management practices have been followed correctly.
This is an ideal opportunity to review the efficiency of the current security investment. What needs to be improved and what is working and what is not working and how much investment needed to build the more secure environment in the organization.
Help Protect Public Relationships and Guard the reputation of your company
A good public relationship and company reputation are built up after taking many years struggle and hard work and with a huge amount of investment. This can be suddenly changed due to a single security breach. The viewpoint of the public for an organization is very sensitive to security issues and can have destructive consequences which may take years to repair. So if a proper penetrating test is conducted on a regular basis, we can create a strong wall for the unauthorized attackers who always tried to penetrate and gain the access in any organization.
Ethical Hacking Training – Resources (InfoSec)
Protection from Financial Damage
A simple breach of the security system may cause millions of dollars of damage. Penetration testing can protect your organization from such damages.
Comply with Regulation or Security Certification
PCI DSS addresses penetration testing to relevant systems performed by qualified penetration testers.
The compliance section in the ISO27001 standard requires managers and system owners to perform regular (After every six months) security reviews and penetration tests, undertaken by competent testers.
Helps to tests cyber-defense capability
During a penetration test, the target company’s security team should be able to detect multiple attacks and respond accordingly on time. Furthermore, if an intrusion is detected, the security and forensic teams should start investigations, and the penetration testers should be blocked and their tools removed.
The effectiveness of your protection devices like IDS, IPS or WAF can also be tested during a penetration test. Many of the attacks should be automatically detected, alerts should be generated, and dedicated people should act according to the company’s internal procedures.
Penetration testing is an effective way of ensuring that successful highly targeted client-side attacks against key members of your staff.
Security should be treated with a holistic approach. Companies only assessing the security of their servers run the risk of being targeted with client-side attacks exploiting vulnerabilities in software like web browsers, pdf readers, etc. It is important to ensure that the patch management processes are working properly updating the operating system and third-party applications.