Perhaps you’ve heard stories of ‘hackathons’ where groups of computer experts and enthusiasts hunker down in rooms for hours on end to build new code and software at lightning speed in a collaborative setting. How about ‘ethical hackers’? That’s right, individuals who use their understanding of cyber security loopholes and creativity to mimic the malicious hackers and break into your IT systems.
If you combine those two concepts, you have something that looks like penetration testing, or pen testing, for short. Pen testing is a method used to simulate a real cyber attack, to evaluate the strength of your IT security and find any weaknesses in your systems. In recent years, it has become one of the most effective tools your organisation can use to improve your cyber security, because it is so realistic.
1. It keeps you steps ahead of hackers.
When used regularly, it is an excellent diagnostic tool that can catch weaknesses from new components in your system as your organisation changes and grows.
2. It shows you the extent to which your system’s weaknesses could be exploited.
This helps you to prioritise your improvements based on the severity of the threat.
3. It leverages outside expertise.
Pen testers know cyber security threats, so they are up-to-date on the newest methods that hackers are using against businesses like yours. Sometimes, a pair of objective eyes from an outside perspective will find a weakness you hadn’t noticed before.
4. It gives you a concise report on the extent of your system weaknesses.
This is a simple way to keep executive management informed about your risk level and helps to either validate or challenge your information security policies.
At SysGroup, we use both ‘white box’ and ‘black box’ pen testing. ‘White box’ pen testing takes some pre-disclosed information, like server functions, usernames & passwords, and uses that to target certain areas in your system—like HR records, for example. ‘Black box’ pen testing is more incognito, and is performed with very little knowledge about the target infrastructure.
We also offer ‘full’ and ‘lite’ versions of pen testing, Our expert team can help you create a strategy to test every corner of your IT systems, including old databases, as well as schedule ‘lite’ tests when you add a new component or on a quarterly basis.
Now more than ever, executive management and the board of directors want clear answers about how well-protected they really are against cyber attack. But, according to a 2016 study by Ponemon Institute of nearly 600 IT security practitioners, 34% never update their c-level executives about security incidents. Why the disconnect?
In that same study, respondents were asked, “What are the biggest barriers to remediation of advanced threat attacks?” The top three answers were:
The benefits of pen testing in this situation are clear. Pen testing equips your organisation with a concise report on your biggest security vulnerabilities, helps you to prioritise those threats and connects you to the expertise of cyber attack experts who are on your side.
If your business has never tried pen testing before, contact our team to learn more about the process, and how it can address your biggest cyber security problems.