Penetration testing

Penetration Testing Benefits: Pen Testing for Security Awareness

December 21, 2016 by Irfan Shakeel

A penetration test allows for multiple attack vectors to be explored against the same target. Often it is the combination of information or vulnerabilities across different systems that will lead to a successful compromise. The actions of penetration tester and attackers are same, as they both acquires to enter the system by applying different techniques. However, the main thing that separates a penetration tester from an attacker is permission. The penetration testers have permission from the owner of the computing resources that are being tested and will be responsible for providing a report to increase the security.


Penetration testing can be an effective approach for governments, private companies, and other national and international organizations to assess the security of their critical resources. Penetration testing is described as ethical hacking, but the testers involved are typically “White Hat” hackers – who are specialized in penetration testing and in other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems There are many benefits that are achieved by Pen-testing (Penetration testing):

Quality Products and Quality Assurance:

A secure production environment subjected to regular pen testing can enable organizations to enhance its standing in the market. Regular pen-testing can help organizations that develop and provide software services to enhance assurance its product’s quality.

Highlight the Existing Security Flaws:

Penetration testing is the most effective way to test the systems and highlight the existing weaknesses in your system configurations and network infrastructure that could lead to data breaches, malicious infiltration, or worse.

It helps to perform amendments to the system configuration, software application, and hardware and security protocols to overcome security gaps.

Ensure System’s Availability:

Organizations are highly concerned with their global availability and customer or user access to the resources that it provides are essential to business operations. Any disruption to this continuity (a data breach, or Denial of Service attack) will have a negative impact on organization’s business operations. Thus, penetration testing helps ensure that the business does not suffer from unanticipated downtime or inaccessibility issues.

Meeting Compliance:

Industry and legal requirements dictate that a certain level of pen testing is compulsory. For example, the ISO 27001 standard requires all managers and system owners to conduct regular penetration tests and security reviews, using competent testers. It helps the organization to maintain its reputation as well as securing its network and information.

Maintaining User’s Trust:

Falling victim to a cyber-assault or data breach is a sure-fire way to lose the confidence and loyalty of your customers, suppliers, and partners – especially if the damage affects them, personally. So, continuous pen-testing allows organizations to maintain security posture and outrage security breach that somehow helps to gain customer’s trust and continuing business with partners.

There are endless benefits of penetration testing that can help organizations to enhance its market worth and enable its effective growth along assuring customer’s trust towards the product and services.

Evaluating Effectiveness of Security Policies and Procedures:

Today’s network-connected businesses and organizations face ever-increasing security threats. Evaluating the organization’s security policies and procedures is an effective way to overcome the security threats in this connected world where there is still no universal standard to carry out penetration testing. It depends on the creativity of the tester and the characteristics of the system being examined.

However, organizations should not rely on the penetration testing approach only, and look ahead towards evaluating the security policies and procedures as organization’s security infrastructure rely on it.

How to make a Security Policy and Procedure Effective?

Empowerment of employee:

The employee should be given the ownership to perform his task without any security barrier but should be monitored and given required user access only to maintain the confidentiality of the information in an organization.

Involve employees in the process of defining appropriate use. Keep staff informed regarding the rules and tools that are developed and implemented. If employees understand the need for a responsible security policy, they will be much more inclined to comply.

Well Organized:

Policies and procedure should be well organized so that employees and other users should adopt it without any conflict or contradiction. Make sure every employee has read, signed and understood the security policy. All new hires should sign the policy when they are brought on board and should be required to reread and reconfirm their understanding of the policy at least annually.

Organization can also use automated tools to help electronically deliver and track signatures on the documents.


Policies and Procedure should be concise. Nobody likes to read long pieces of information. Writing lengthy procedures or policies may tend the employees to skip the important information. Moreover, excessive security can be a hindrance to smooth business operations, so make sure you do not overprotect yourself.

Regular review:

Policies and Procedure should regularly be reviewed to make it effective. Outdated policies and procedure can be disastrous in today’s world where attacking vectors are rapidly changing. A security policy is a dynamic document because of its evolving nature. Keeping the security policy updated is hard enough, but keeping staffers aware of any changes that might affect their day-to-day operations is even more difficult. Open communication is the key to success.

Policies and Procedure must policy conforms legal requirements

Depending on data holdings and location of the organization, you may be obliged to do the necessary thing to certain minimum standards to ensure the privacy and integrity of your data, especially if your company holds personal information. Having a viable security policy documented and in place is one way of mitigating any liabilities you might incur in the event of a security breach.

Install the tools you need

Having a policy is one thing, enforcing it is another. Internet and e-mail content security products with customizable rule sets can ensure that your policy, no matter how complex, is adhered to. The investment in tools to enforce your security policy is probably one of the most cost-effective purchases you will ever make.

However, the penetration testing should regularly be conducted to maintain the effective security measures to prevent hacking attacks. Rapid testing and enhancement is the only way to overcome the attacks and make the most of it from penetration testing. There is no doubt that pen-testing allows us to enhance our products market value and to gain customer’s trust.

It is important to understand that it is very unlikely that a pen-tester will find all the security issues. There are many chances that system may encounter multiple new vulnerabilities upon patch release. So, maintaining a secure network requires constant vigilance.

Posted: December 21, 2016
Irfan Shakeel
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Irfan Shakeel is the founder & CEO of An engineer, penetration tester and a security researcher. He specializes in Network, VoIP Penetration testing and digital forensics. He is the author of the book title “Hacking from Scratch”. He loves to provide training and consultancy services, and working as an independent security researcher.

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