Why PenTesting is important

The economic impact of cybercrime has grown to trillions of dollars annually. Because of the expanded attack vectors and blurring of boundaries that cross into partner networks, the cloud and supply chains, the impact will continue to rise. Organizations remain vigilant in protecting against cyberattacks; however, significant breaches continue to increase in number and severity.

Even with proactive security mechanisms such as firewalls, intrusion detection/intrusion prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and antimalware protection, a threat may be able to slip by system defenses and find a home on the network. That is why PenTesting is essential in today’s environment.

Penetration Testing

Companies recognize the potential for an attack in a complex security architecture. As a result, many employ proactive processes and follow best practice procedures to secure their systems. Methods include patch and configuration management of all operating systems and applications, along with providing security education, training, and awareness to all employees to prevent social engineering attacks.

Today many controls are utilized, to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of system resources. Controls include the following:

  • Administrative controls are security measures implemented to monitor the adherence to organizational policies and procedures. Those include activities such as hiring and termination policies, employee training along with creating business continuity and incident response plans.
  • Physical controls restrict, detect and monitor access to specific physical areas or assets. Methods include barriers, tokens, biometrics or other controls such as ensuring the server room doors are properly locked, along with using surveillance cameras and access cards.
  • Technical or logical controls automate protection to prevent unauthorized access or misuse, and include Access Control Lists (ACL), and Intrusion Detection System (IDS)/Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) signatures and antimalware protection that are implemented as a system hardware, software, or firmware solution. 

All controls should use the Principle of Least Privilege, which states that an object should only be allocated the minimum necessary rights, privileges, or information in order to perform its role.

However, even with all of the security controls in place, the only way you will know if the network can withstand a cyber event is by actively simulating attacks. This is achieved by completing a structured PenTest.

As a result, organizations need to continually assess the security measures in place in order to defend against ongoing threats, instead of waiting for a real breach to occur and face the consequences.

PenTesting (also called Ethical Hacking) is an important element of a comprehensive security plan. Testing provides a method to assess internal and external computer systems with the purpose of locating vulnerabilities that can potentially be exploited, so they can be addressed.

One of the primary goals of a PenTest is to reduce overall risk by taking proactive steps to reduce vulnerabilities.

Risk analysis is part of a larger process called risk management, which is the cyclical process of identifying, assessing, analyzing, and responding to risks. PenTesting is a key component in managing risk.