Stop Intruders From Breaking Into Your Business With Network Penetration Testing
There is nothing “easy” about cybersecurity. Once you build out your plan, including having all of the software and hardware in place, it can be difficult to know whether your network is secure. Despite your best efforts, it seems like there is always something that is overlooked or not as strong as you thought it would be.
Your network is extremely important to your business and your clients. It not only likely stores valuable and private client data, but it also serves as the main communication method for you and your team. You need enough stabilized access to ensure that your team has what they need, but you also need enough protection to keep uninvited guests out.
Instead of waiting to see what holes in your system may be from a real hacker, you can take steps to test your system long before someone with malicious intent tests out your cybersecurity plan for you. You can do this through network penetration testing.
What is Network Penetration Testing?
Network penetration testing (or “pen” test, for short), gauges the risks associated with your security system throughout your organization. It determines how likely it is that your system will become compromised if your company is threatened.
A pen test does this by using a real-world simulation of activities that a hacker would actually use to access your company’s data. As part of the test, network penetration testing will review your organization’s
- Network devices, including routers and switches; and
- Overall systems.
It reviews your entire cybersecurity plan for vulnerabilities. It spots and exploits problem areas as part of the testing before real threats can take advantage of those holes or weaknesses.
Once you have the information you need regarding weak spots in your virtual “armor,” you can take steps to correct those issues before a real threat takes advantage of those weaknesses.
How Does a Network Penetration Test Work?
A pen test uses an authorized agent to test your cybersecurity. This person attempts to hack into your system by breaking through firewalls and other defenses such as
- Network routers;
- Virtual private networks;
- Network switches; and
- Content filter/AV
The individual will review both known and unknown vulnerabilities to exploit your system.
The fake hacker will determine multiple weaknesses and attempt to break through each one. This process is different from a standard vulnerability scan because the authorized agent will use many potential avenues to reach the underlying system. By using this process, the agent creates a chain that strings together many vulnerabilities so you can see the interplay among each one.
The Benefits of a Pen Test
Network penetration testing has an array of very valuable benefits. Conducting this type of periodic testing should be part of your long-term planning for your company’s cybersecurity.
Spot Problem Areas Before They Cost You
Without a pen test, you will likely not know about vulnerabilities and problems in your cybersecurity until after someone has already broken through your defenses. The stakes are obviously much higher when a real hacker or other threat compromises your cybersecurity plan.
IBM reports that it takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a data breach. By then, the breach could have already resulted in significant damage. When data is exposed, it not only creates internal problems, but it can result in lawsuits and a general loss of customer confidence in your company.
According to one report, a business will lose almost 4% of its customers after a breach occurs. Client trust is extremely important when it comes to brand loyalty and retaining consumers.
Identify Vulnerabilities That You May Have Overlooked
A network penetration test will show you real vulnerabilities that a cybercriminal is likely to use when trying to access your company’s data. By testing your defenses through a pen test, you can better anticipate and address security threats to deter any unauthorized access to your network.
Having a third-party address your security issues allows you to get an outsider’s perspective on your overall system. Having a second (or third) set of knowledgeable eyes review your system will help you spot problem areas that you may have overlooked.
Ensure Compliance with Applicable Laws and Regulations
Lastly, a pen test will help ensure that you are complying with whatever state and federal laws that you need to meet in your specific location and industry. This will help you avoid non-compliance penalties and prepare you for an audit, if it occurs.
Using Network Penetration Testing to Increase Your Overall Cybersecurity
By working through real-life scenarios to test your system, you can spot and address cybersecurity weaknesses right away. The testing attempts to answer the following questions:
- What kind of online information is available to get through your system?
- What additional resources are available for a hacker to gather information about your business’s cybersecurity systems and tools?
- What kind of potential activities could a threat do to get into your system?
- How successful will those activities be?
- If the agent can gain access to your system, what level of access can he or she reach?
- What kind of data is exposed at the level of access that the threat can access?
The testing is a culmination of both automated testing for vulnerabilities and manual techniques to see if the exploitation method can actually be carried out.
The testing culminates in a written report that provides evidence of various vulnerable attributes of your system. It also provides an overall risk score, as well.
All of this information will help you bulk up your cybersecurity protections so that you can address specific areas. As part of the report, you will also receive an action plan and recommendations to address weaknesses.
Work with the Team at ECW to Conduct Network Penetration Testing
Network penetration testing should be part of your internal audit process. Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you with this process.