It can be easy to stop paying attention to buzzwords after a while in the tech world. Publications and industry insiders always seem to be talking about new inventions and innovations that supposedly will change the world. However, one big trend enterprise leaders and tech managers can’t afford to ignore is the penetration test. What is network penetration testing? You might say that a penetration test is the closest you can come to organically and safely observing how your organization’s security infrastructure would perform in the face of real world attack.
Why Penetration Testing Is Changing the Way We Look at Cyber Security
What can you expect when you hire a firm to provide your business with penetration testing? You can be assured that the test will take place in a completely controlled setting, following coordination with your company’s security team. All of your files and data will be perfectly safe as a team of highly trained security engineers perform a simulated attack. The team will use a mix of virus software and human brainpower to try to bypass every potential portal or weak point in your current security setup. This is important because so many security protocols used by organizations today rely solely on automated scans and software to detect vulnerability. While there is certainly room in a plan for automated vulnerability testing, it should not be relied on to catch every risk. The team of engineers will be able to provide you with a report once the test is done detailing any weak points or flaws in your current security system. You will also be able to see exactly how and where a hacker would be able breach your system. Of course, the next step is the truly important feature of penetration testing: creating a comprehensive plan from the prioritized list of findings to keeping your organization secure.
Cyber Threats Are Growing
There’s simply no room for overconfidence when it comes to the security of your organization. The business world has watched far too many giants fall at the hands of cyber criminals in recent years. Companies like Home Depot, Target, Anthem, and Yahoo! have all fallen victim to cyber attacks in recent years. The costs to clean up after these attacks have been staggering. In addition to legal fees and customer-related costs, the reputations of these companies have been tainted for the foreseeable future. Home Depot’s data breach in 2014 resulted in a settlement that forced the company to pay nearly $20 million. This comes in addition to the millions the company has already poured into addressing the issue. Home Depot’s inability to detect malicious software in its checkout machines resulted in about 40 million people having their credit card information stolen.
Taking the First Step to Better Security
Many IT security teams are overwhelmed by the idea of expanding current security measures because of the level of work involved. The best approach for getting started is to simply have a firm come in and conduct a vulnerability assessment to see exactly where your current security measures stand and where to begin. In addition to studying your organization’s infrastructure, a third party firm can also help guidance and training to see how prepared your employees are to handle the emerging cyber threats that we all face.