When a company is categorised as a highly regulated industry, such as healthcare or finance, its computer system is at risk of attack by hackers. If your data is stolen, your reputation could be ruined, and it could cost you dearly. Penetration testing is a risk management process that can help you to uphold compliance, protect your clients from breaches of data, and maintain business cohesion.
Simulating a cyber attack
Penetration testing, or pen testing, involves simulating a cyber attack against your IT systems to discover areas of vulnerability. Once detected, security policies can be updated, defences can be put in place, and flaws can be fixed before a data breach can occur. Such a specialised service is best carried out by a cybersecurity team.
Benefits of pen testing
Pen testing can provide your business with crucial information that will enable you to meet regulatory requirements and information security standards, such as GDPR. Carrying out regular pen tests helps security personnel to spot weaknesses in your system and enables them to recommend policies that will strengthen your cyber security. Since data breaches can disrupt business operations and cause mass financial loss, minimising the damage can ensure there is likely to be less disruption if an attack should occur. Furthermore, carrying out this type of risk management helps to assure stakeholders and clients that their data is being protected and kept secure.
When to carry out a pen test
Hackers are continuously stepping up their game to find ways to get into your system, so you must take regular precautions to make sure that they are unable to gain access. Conduct periodic pen tests once or twice a year as well as every time new web applications and IT infrastructure are dispatched to your teams.
How to arrange a pen test
Firstly, it is important to make sure that you engage a cyber security professional who is certified to carry out a pen test as they are essentially an ethical hacker and use the same techniques that illegal hackers use. Find a company that not only delivers penetration testing services UK but also listens to you and understands the challenges your organisation faces. A good team will consist of security analysts, network engineers, developers, and system administrators. As well as protecting your IT system from cyber threats, they should provide you with the latest technology and support to keep your system and business running effectively.
What to expect
The first stage of a pen test involves the completion of a risk assessment to check which systems require protection. The team will gather information, such as domain and network names, as well as user accounts, so that they can plan a strategic attack based on suspected vulnerabilities.
Next, the tester will use a variety of different tools and methods to identify different entry points that hackers could use to gain access to your system. They will then exploit these access points to discover what damage could be caused, like the stealing of data, the interception of traffic, the escalation of privileges, or long-term persistent access.
Lastly, the pen testers compile a report detailing their findings, including the vulnerabilities found, any sensitive data that could be accessed, and how long they were able to remain undetected in your system. This information might then be used to create a plan of action to strengthen your defence, fix any gaps, and minimise the risk of being hacked in the future.
Getting a penetration test for your IT system is like getting a health check to make sure your business can keep running smoothly. Regular testing will check the strength of your cyber security and pick up any threats that could expose you and your client’s data. It is well worth engaging certified professionals to do the testing for you as they will be able to carry out the necessary hacking activities legally and ethically.