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A Security Requirement: Regular Penetration Testing
If you are not already conducting penetration testing regularly, you may be putting your organization at risk of a cybersecurity attack.
In the past year, the cybersecurity industry has seen an increase in cybersecurity attacks on organizations in all industries and of all sizes. We learned that no organization can be protected from being a victim of a cyberattack—whether they are currently taking steps to protect their environment. For this reason, stepping up your cybersecurity portfolio and better securing your environment is mission-critical. Penetration testing is a key way to identify the vulnerabilities in your environment that could be the target of a security breach. Conducting these services regularly is a great step towards preventing costly, high-profile, and time-consuming cybersecurity attacks from affecting your environment.
Experts have seen that businesses that conduct pen tests on a bi-yearly basis are more likely to be able to take a proactive approach to their cybersecurity. These businesses can spend their cybersecurity budgets and resources towards preventing attacks from happening instead of using these resources to stop or clean up an attack that has already occurred. By being proactive, it saves your organization the hefty costs of restoring lost data or the cost of losing data entirely. Being proactive in your security practices helps organizations to build trust with their customers and partners. If your organization is a victim of a high-profile cybersecurity attack, a business could lose customers, investors, and partners out of fear that their data will not be protected if it is shared with your business. Although there is no way to be 100% protected from an attack, conducting penetration tests regularly is an essential step towards being proactive in protecting your company and customer data.
The goal of penetration testing is to reduce an organization’s attack surface. The larger the attack surface, the more opportunities for an organization to fall victim to a cyberattack. Cyber Security Risk Assessment Consulting Services experts will reduce the attack surface by conducting both manual and automated tests that simulate real-world attacks. They will find vulnerabilities that are the most likely to be exploited by a hacker and begin the processes of remediating these vulnerabilities. Remediation and patching are steps towards reducing the attack surface. With a smaller attack surface, an organization is better protected against potential threats.
For businesses in regulated industries, penetration testing is critical to meet industry standards of security. To continue conducting business, these industry standards must be met. These industries are so regulated because they work with sensitive customer data. Being in noncompliance with industry standards such as HIPAA, NIST 800-171, and PCI DSS can result in fines. A breach of confidential customer data can put an organization’s reputation at risk. Conducting penetration testing is an essential way to achieve compliance with industry standards and work to protect your customer and company data.
First, the tester will conduct automated security scanning to look for any vulnerabilities. The results of these scans will be analyzed, and false positives will be removed. The tester will compile a report of their findings during this initial scan. They will also review the design of the network security within the systems and identify any weaknesses. They will then perform the scanning manually to validate what was found in the initial automatic scan.
During a pen test, the security policies that your company is currently following will be reviewed. The security consultant that you are working with may provide feedback as to how these policies can be improved to better protect your organization’s environment. They will help implement policies and solutions that will fill in the gaps in your current security portfolio.
Following the initial set of patches that were put in place during the initial scanning, the tester will conduct a rescan to address any vulnerabilities that were not addressed during the first scan.
Implementing the steps of penetration testing yearly is highly recommended for security-conscious organizations.