Why You Need Penetration Test
Cyber attacks are no joke.
Take a look at how many cyber attacks have happened now.
Source: Check Point
Today, malicious attackers are continually creating new and more advanced forms of attack every single day. Protecting your valuable digital assets with a firewall and antivirus software is no longer sufficient.
That’s why penetration testing is absolutely crucial if you want to safeguard your network and system.
Let’s discover why penetration testing is a must for the health and security of your organization’s systems and infrastructure and the benefits of penetration testing.
What is Penetration Testing?
A penetration test or pen test is a simulated cyber-attack to identify and remediate vulnerabilities that an attacker might exploit in your IT system.
By utilising the same tools and techniques used by cyber adversaries, pen testing replicates the conditions of a genuine attack.
Usually, pen tests are performed by ethical hackers by imitating the tactics and behaviours of an attacker to discover weaknesses in an IT system.
Penetration tests usually simulate various attacks that could threaten a business to assess the strengths and weaknesses of its existing security systems. (Don’t worry, a pen tester will not steal your data!)
Image Source: Core Security
Pen test involves attempting to penetrate application systems (i.e., frontend/backend servers, application protocol interface or APIs, etc.) to discover security holes like unsanitized inputs that are vulnerable to code injection attacks.
After completing a pen test, the ethical hacker will share their findings with the target company’s security team. This information can then be used to implement security upgrades to plug up any vulnerabilities discovered during the test.
Check this video out if you want to know more about penetration test.
Why is Penetration Testing Important?
The main reason penetration tests are crucial is that they exploit your system’s vulnerabilities before a cyber attack occurs. By having a penetration test, your organisation will be aware of the effectiveness of the current IT security system.
Besides, it will raise awareness of cybersecurity among the employees to be well prepared. Compared to automated vulnerability scanning, penetration testing will enable firms to evaluate their actual risk and identify security flaws before a criminal takes advantage of them.
In short, penetration testing is a non-destructive way to map out potential security weaknesses before a malicious attack occurs.
Okay, let’s dive into the top 6 benefits of penetration testing.
Benefits of Penetration Testing
TL;DR? Check out this amazing infographic that summarises the benefits of penetration testing.
Disclose your IT Infrastructure
Do you know that one of the main reasons for the delay in diagnosing cancer is poor awareness of cancer?
Many people think that as long as they eat healthily and exercise regularly, they won’t get cancer. However, we can’t confirm that we’re free from cancer unless we do a health checkup.
It’s the same when it comes to your security system.
Many business people think they will be safe from malicious attacks if they have installed a good security plugin. However, the truth is we wouldn’t know how strong our system is unless we test it.
That’s why a pen test is crucial, as it’s likened to a “health checkup” of your IT system.
A pen test will allow you to see what an attacker could do in the ‘real world’, thus keeping your system more secure from hackers. Just like a medical report, a pen test can:
- Expose your system vulnerabilities. Pen tests show weaknesses in your target environments. After the test, you will receive a report detailing your system and networks’ problematic access points and vulnerabilities. Some also provide suggestions for software and hardware improvements to upgrade your security.
- Evaluate your system’s response to real cyber attacks. This makes you better prepared to prevent and mitigate attacks.
- Uncover hackers’ methods. By simulating hackers’ real attacks on your system using black hat methods, ethical hackers can help you determine parts of your systems that need improvement.
- Restructure your budget in the IT system. Pen tests expose the areas that need security enhancement so that you can allocate your IT budget to enhance your overall security posture.
Avoid Data Breaches
In 2021, T-mobile suffered from a serious data breach in which 48.65 million people had stolen personal data.
According to CNET, T-mobile has to pay a $500 million settlement, of which $350 million will go to the settlement fund and “at least $150 million” will enhance its data security measures through 2023.
Huh! That’s a lot💸!
That’s why penetration testing is so important!
A single security system breach on your website could result in millions of dollars in losses. This might incur millions of dollars in legal fees, IT cleanup, customer protection programmes, lost sales, and disappointed customers.
Besides, the performance of your network, apps and services can be adversely affected by security flaws, which can result in crippling financial loss for your company.
Therefore, you definitely need a penetration test that acts as a precautionary step to strengthen your app and system, as it helps you to prevent threat actors from altering the confidentiality, accessibility, or integrity of your confidential data.
Enhance Your Security Posture Effectively
Do you know that 88% of companies now consider cybersecurity a direct threat to business operations rather than solely a technical IT problem?
One of the reasons is that cyber attacks are on the rise. Research from the University of Maryland even found that a cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds!
However, many small businesses don’t really have a comprehensive security solution for their business.
Juniper’s research found that small businesses will prefer consumer-grade security solutions. This may cause the companies to become the target of hackers and end up receiving ransomware and other malicious attacks.
According to a survey from Security magazine, people would choose a service that is aware of cybersecurity. This shows that the growth of cybersecurity can create an opportunity for competitive advantages.
Therefore, if you’re the first in your niche that is proactive in evaluating your IT system security, you’ll be able to enhance your security posture and maintain a competitive advantage against your competitiors in your industry.
And to achieve that, you must perform regular penetration tests to ensure your system is safe from malicious attacks or data hacking.
With pen tests, your IT leaders can implement informed security upgrades that minimise the possibility of successful attacks.
Pen testers will also provide qualitative and quantitative examples of current security posture and budget priorities for management. This will help avoid serious financial loss and advise on the necessary procedures and investments to establish a more secure environment within your organization.
In addition, a regular pen test and security enhancement will demonstrate to your clients that information security and compliance are paramount for your organisation and that you’re continuously striving to achieve optimum security.
Boost your credibility
More than people may realise, experiencing a malicious attack on a business can damage its entire reputation.
According to a study from Centrify, up to 65% of data breach victims lost trust in an organisation due to the breach. On top of that, a company also needs to be concerned with the networks of its directly impacted clients.
Undoubtedly, losing data and trust go hand in hand. Hence, it is crucial to protect your IT system now to prevent losing credibility.
Penetration testing can help you avoid costly security breaches that risk your company’s reputation and customer loyalty.
Besides, a combination with vulnerability scanning can provide more meaningful insights into vulnerabilities and potential breach points in your IT infrastructure. Overall, penetration testing can make a reliable evaluation of your company’s “health” and its resilience to cyber attacks.
With regular monitoring and improvement of your system’s security, you’re proving to your customers and partners that their safety is your utmost concern. This will surely strengthen your relationship with them and thus enhance your credibility.
Ensure Business Sustainability
A Chinese adage goes: Success is hard, maintaining is harder.
Imagine you work super hard and spend tons of effort and investment in building your company image and brand. But due to a cyberattack, all your hard work has gone overnight.
Even though you can resolve the breach effectively, it still negatively impacts your business sustainability, as one attack can drain a lot of your resources. It also impacts the level of confidence of your clients.
A penetration test reveals various potential threats that can damage your system so that you can maintain your system working securely.
Besides, it also helps to ensure that your operations don’t suffer from unexpected downtime or a loss of accessibility. This is especially crucial if your website or mobile app has a lot of traffic.
Remember that many malicious actors and hackers are always on the prowl of vulnerable company IT environments, looking to gain access by any means necessary.
A ransomware attack, for instance, could block a company from accessing the data, devices, networks and servers it relies on to conduct business. Such an attack could result in millions of dollars of lost revenue, which might cause some businesses to collapse.
Therefore, it’s extremely substantial to have a penetration test for your web application, mobile app or cloud system to ensure your business sustainability.
Compliance with Security Regulation
Well, we’ve known that the pen test plays a crucial role in safeguarding your business valuable assets.
However, the truth is a pentest extends far beyond network and data security.
Penetration tests help address the compliance and security obligations that are mandated by industry standards and regulations such as:
- Singapore Personal Data Protection Acts (PDPA)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- ISO 27001
This will surely avoid your business from the heavy fines, lawsuits and other punishments associated with non-compliance.
As an illustration, the PCI DSS standard mandates that businesses that process many transactions carry out yearly and ongoing penetration tests (after any system changes).
Additionally, the thorough reports produced by penetration tests can aid your business in improving your security measures and demonstrating continued attentiveness to assessors.
According to Gartner, more customers are expressing concern about the firms’ cybersecurity that they do business with.
If you’re not already undergoing a penetration test, why not?
The first step is easy: find a certified penetration testing professional and decide which type of pen test is right for your organisation.
Our certified penetration testers can help walk you through the process, answer any questions you may have, and provide a detailed remediation plan following testing.
Contact our certified CREST pen testers today and get started!
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