When you set up your security strategy and execute its steps, your approach likely includes a variety of ways to keep intruders out, including firewalls, and training to prevent a misstep that invites them in with tactics like phishing. Once you’ve fully implemented your security measures, you need another step: penetration testing.
What is penetration testing? Penetration testing uses a mock offensive approach against your defenses to see if they hold. For comparison’s sake, imagine you have locks, a home security system, ample lighting, and cameras set up around your house. In order to see how effective those tools are, you invite an experienced, reformed breaking-and-entering expert to get into your home by whatever means necessary. Detecting the weak points in your home security is a lot like penetration testing in an enterprise’s security strategy.
The benefits of testing: There are several ways penetration testing helps tighten up your security:
- You’ll get insight into where you should invest more resources in your security strategy. You may be pushing too much into a firewall, when end point security actually needs more attention.
- You’ll learn more about your infrastructure and how each component interacts with the others. Penetration testing makes your inner workings more transparent and can help reveal misconceptions.
- When you’re about to deploy a new system, you can use penetration testing to work out any security bugs before you go live.
- Your security monitoring and team response can be objectively evaluated for their effectiveness.
- There’s an opportunity to address any vulnerabilities in your security strategy at a relaxed pace, rather than in the panicked state that ensues after a breach.
If you have cloud and other third-party providers, it’s important to include them in your penetration testing. Given that a provider is storing or has access to critical data, penetration testing can help you see if that provider is meeting your standards for security.
Internal versus external testing: In many cases, companies use internal penetration testing to determine the effectiveness of their security, but there’s good reason to hire a third-party tester. While your internal testing team may know the system inside and out and be able to carefully detect and address threats, it’s still a good idea to use a third-party tester.
An outsider may detect vulnerabilities that someone who’s intimately familiar with the systems could miss. In addition, their familiarity with commonly overlooked weak spots they’ve identified across their work with many enterprises may help them quickly evaluate your system for those same vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing is just one aspect of a complete security solution. Contact us at TeleConsult to discuss your organization’s security and a range of solutions to help protect your data, network infrastructure and applications.