With the complexity of software and network architecture increasing with every passing day, closing security loopholes becomes increasingly harder. Investing in firewalls and other intrusion detection systems is a good first step, yes. But testing how well those defenses work in the real world is another hurdle altogether. This is where penetration testing, or pen testing, becomes handy.
Penetration testing is considered one of the most effective methods of testing your cyber defense infrastructure. Not only does pen testing simulate a real-world attack on your systems, but it also gives you unbiased expert insight into your network and systems security.
1. Detect and address security threats
Regular, comprehensive penetration tests ensure that potential security threats are discovered and fixed before an attacker can exploit them.
2. Meet contractual, statutory, and regulatory requirements
Organizations that store data often have to comply with certain requirements. A comprehensive penetration test helps you confirm whether you meet the contractual, statutory, and regulatory requirements in your industry.
3. Unearth the real-world risks of vulnerabilities
Since penetration testing is aimed at intentionally getting past your security, pen testing is considered one of the best methods of unearthing the risks of leaving vulnerabilities unattended. Pen testing will expose the real-world problems behind every vulnerability discovered by the testers so you can prioritize updates to fix the issues according to severity.
4. Get an expert third-party opinion on your security
Any serious attacker that comes after your systems will be a competent security professional in their own right. The only way to get someone with a similar skill-set to assess your systems and networks without compromising your data is by allowing a team of security experts to test your defenses with a comprehensive series of pen tests.
5. Test and validate cyber defense capabilities
There's no way an organization can tell whether an untested cybersecurity infrastructure will hold up to a full-blown attack. Pen testing offers a real-world solution to this issue with information-security experts staging an attack on your defenses. Pen tests are the best way to test and validate your cyber defense capabilities without putting your data or systems at risk.
6. Protect clients, partners, and third parties
As a business, you owe your clients, partners, and other entities interacting with your organization a certain level of privacy assurance. Penetration tests take the guesswork out of cybersecurity and allow you to act responsibly with the client and partner data you store.
7. Mitigate financial risk
A successful cyber attack can cost an organization dearly. While the actual amount spent trying to recover from an attack depends on its severity, the bills (in both direct and opportunity costs) have been known to run into several millions of US Dollars. Take Yahoo's data breaches, for example. In addition to the fines Yahoo paid to the EU and the SEC, they were hit with multiple class action lawsuits that cost them over $50 million.
8. Safeguard business reputation
Getting attacked has many indirect effects on your business. A customer’s or client's perception of your business changes instantly when an attacker breaches your defenses. Continuously pen testing your security infrastructure ensures that anyone interacting with your business always has a positive experience to share with others.
Want more? Read about...
- the hidden costs of pen testing
- pretty much everything you'd need to know about pen testing
- how to select the right pen test vendor for your business
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