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What Is Penetration Testing?

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Learn Your IT's Level of Vulnerability

What is penetration testing? In a nutshell, it’s hacker prevention. A penetration test is also known as pen testing or ethical hacking. This involves a simulated system invasion or realistic cyberattacks that reveal areas of vulnerability in your systems, networks, software, and applications. Identifying these weak spots helps companies understand where they need improvement and allows them to make changes before they’re actually under attack.

A pen test can be performed manually, but it’s typically done automatically. Security tools check your organization’s security response and compliance. These tests also reveal your employees’ security awareness and your company’s ability to efficiently address IT concerns.

What's Involved in the Penetration Testing Process?

Network security is one of the most critical aspects of your enterprise. Taking the proper security measures like pen testing exploits vulnerabilities and allows you to address them in advance.

 

Five Steps of the Penetration Testing Process:

  1. Planning and reconnaissance – Pen testers define the scope of the test, outline its goals, and choose the most appropriate methods (internal, external, blind, double-blind, etc.). Then they gather the networks, domains, and mail server names to understand how each target works and where its potential vulnerabilities are.
  2. Scanning – Next, testers learn how each target application will react to different invasion attempts. This is usually done using static analysis (an estimate of its behavior while running) and dynamic analysis (its actual behavior while running in real time.)
  3. Gaining access – During this stage, web application attacks like cross-site scripting and SQL injection are launched. The target’s vulnerabilities are revealed, and pen testers attempt to exploit them by escalating privileges and stealing the data. Doing so helps them understand what kind of issues are caused.
  4. Maintaining access – Once pen testers gain access, they determine how long they can maintain unauthorized access within the invaded system. As they imitate advanced and persistent threats, they learn how easily your files and data are corrupted.
  5. Analysis – Pen testers file a detailed report that identifies specific weaknesses, sensitive data that was accessible, and how long they remained undetected within the system.

Improve your cybersecurity with the help of TRT.

What Are the Benefits of Routine Pen Tests?

As technology evolves, so do cybercriminals and their tactics. For this reason, it’s wise to implement routine pen tests to give your company visibility into potential security threats. It’s better for you to find the gaps in your system via simulated attacks than to be victimized by real hackers.

Pinpoint Risks

Security vulnerabilities aren’t always obvious. Many weaknesses go unnoticed until it’s too late. When you have the opportunity to evaluate your system, the issues you find with internal and external network security give you insight into what controls you need. Knowing the potential risks gives you the upper hand on your IT and peace of mind while protecting your company’s people and assets. 

Prevent System Invasion

Hackers can easily infiltrate your system when your security posture isn’t as strong as it should be. Using a real-world approach to system invasion helps you uncover potential risks so your business can remediate issues before disaster strikes.  

 

Avoid Expensive Data Breaches

When your system is invaded, it may lead to legal fees, IT remediation, and a loss of customers who no longer feel safe with your organization. Data breaches don’t just cost lots of money, but they also cost you peace of mind. Routine pen tests protect your brand, your information, and your finances.

Prioritize Compliance

As a trustworthy enterprise, you need to comply with industry standards and regulations. Otherwise, you’re in jeopardy of hefty fines and a hit to your reputation. Whether your company follows PCI DSS, HIPAA, or ISO 2700 certification protocol, penetration testing and vulnerability insights keep you updated on mandatory security obligations. 

What Is the Difference Between Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing?

Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing are similar, but they’re not the same thing. While pen tests automatically seek out weaknesses within your IT environment, vulnerability scans search for unknown threats and are performed outside of the security perimeter. Pen tests approach your network’s infrastructure through the eyes of a hacker by mimicking their tactics. Although a pen test can be automatic, it’s more of a hands-on and customizable approach. Either way, your company can benefit from both preventative measures.

Technology Response Team Keeps Your IT Ahead of Hackers

Hackers and cybercriminals are smart and deceptive, and you have to stay one step ahead. Partnering with Technology Response Team is one of the best choices you can make for your business. We’re on your side with 24/7 system monitoring, insightful pen testing and vulnerability assessments, and quarterly evaluations of your network’s security and performance.

Choose between our managed and co-managed IT models and experience the difference with Technology Response Team. We work diligently to protect every corner of your business. If you’d like a clearer understanding of your networks and how to defend them, call the team you can trust. Contact us today to schedule your free IT security scan.

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