Network Penetration Testing
Many small business owners like to assume that they are safe from cyber-attacks. They don’t understand why the stereotypical cybercriminal would target a small business when thousands of huge companies have more to offer.
They don’t know that 43% of all attacks target small businesses, and only 14% of these businesses have highly effective measures to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.
Today, we take you through penetration testing, an increasingly necessary resource for all small businesses.
What is Penetration Testing?
It is also known as pen testing, an attempted breach against your business systems to disclose application, web server, or network vulnerabilities.
Pen testing keeps you ahead of the attackers by letting you in on exploitable weaknesses and gives you a chance to correct these before you lose valuable data and vast amounts of money.
As a form of ethical hacking, penetration testing employs techniques similar to the ones used by criminal hackers. And it involves five primary steps that ensure you have effective protective measures in place.
- Planning: Defining the scope of the project.
- Reconnaissance: Gathering all the necessary information
- Scanning: Using all the information to assess vulnerabilities
- Penetration Attempt: Utilizing results from the scan to exploit the weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
- Maintaining Access: Test whether the access persists despite reboots, modifications, and system resets.
- Exploitation: Controlled attacks are meant to act on the vulnerabilities.
- Analysis and WAF Configuration: Compile a detailed report detailing the vulnerabilities, nature of information accessed, and how long the pen tester maintained access to the system.
Ethical hackers or pen testers perform the test. These people can be in-house hackers or external managed service providers, and they can perform different types of tests depending on your business needs.
Why Do Small Businesses Need Penetration Testing?
There are many benefits of pen testing, but we will only discuss the top five.
The most obvious and significant reason to have a pen test is that it increases the security of your systems, networks, and applications. By understanding the weaknesses in these components of your business, you are better equipped to patch up and secure your hardware, software, and configurations. In addition, enhancing your security systems will secure your business’s financial resources because you will pay less for a pen test than you would for ransom or recover from a data breach. Not to forget that running the test ensures you maintain a good reputation.
Not all threats offer the same level of risk for a business. So, they do not need to be treated equally. With the pen test, you get to identify the real risks and assess them against the hypothetical risks you have been shielding your business against. For instance, you may think that malware is your biggest business threat, then discover through the test that DDoS attacks hit closer home for your business. With this knowledge, you can anticipate the dangers and implement appropriate and timely preventive measures. Always start by addressing high-risk threats before moving on to handle medium-and low-risk threats.
There are numerous laws and guidelines enacted by state and federal governments that require organizations to protect their customer’s data. Customer data protection should not be a one-off measure; instead, you must be proactive in your efforts to protect this information. As such, penetration testing is a requirement to fulfill the government guidelines and industry standards and regulations. Performing the test will also prove your due diligence and help you avoid hefty fines affixed to non-compliance.
Ensure Business Continuity
Enhancing your security measures by sealing all available loopholes means competitors or business enemies have reduced access to your business. Unfortunately, 60% of small businesses do not carry on after a data breach. This is often a result of financial strain, damage to their reputation, and loss of trust in your brand. However, a pen test ensures you never lose business because of cyberattacks.
What Differentiates Pen Testing and Vulnerability Assessment?
Penetration testing and vulnerability assessment have a similar end goal: to report potential loopholes, weaknesses, or vulnerabilities. However, the two have tremendous differences.
The first difference is that penetration testing is carried out manually by a security professional with the help of automated tools. Besides, it identifies and exploits vulnerabilities in a network, system, or application. On the contrary, a vulnerability assessment is automatic and utilizes scan engines that only identify vulnerabilities and do not exploit them.
Penetration testing is also active and takes a comprehensive look at unknown threats and vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, vulnerability assessment is a passive approach that uses a one-size-fits-all approach to identify the threat of known vulnerabilities.
According to federal law and industry standards, and best practices, a pen test should be conducted annually as it involves multiple steps, added complexity, and a higher price point. But a vulnerability assessment is more affordable and can be done quarterly.
The last report for pen tests briefly discusses how data was compromised during the scan. In contrast, the report for vulnerability assessment provides a detailed account of the vulnerabilities discovered and how they have changed since the previous scan.
The question most business owners and managers have, even after learning the differences between the two, is, “must we do both the tests?” The simple answer is yes. This is because the two are co-dependent. Vulnerability scanning reveals the fundamental weakness of a business’s IT infrastructure, and pen-testing conducts further investigations to show whether the flaws open the organization to potential attacks.
Network Penetration Testing Services By Mainstreet IT Solutions
Penetration testing is a worthy investment for any small business. It will go to unimaginable heights to reveal any weaknesses that make your business susceptible to cyber attackers. So, take the leap today to have your systems, networks, data, and applications more secure by detecting and responding to any loopholes.
Mainstreet IT is a managed IT service provider dedicated to doing your business, employees, customers, and clients safer at all times. We will help you identify the common and uncommon cyber threats and proactively protect you against attacks. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about penetration testing or the best pen test for your organization.