Pen testing is a method of determining the security of an application, computer, or network by simulating an attack from a malicious source. It can determine potential security holes which could be exploited by hackers. Pen testing is generally performed internally by the company, but some companies offer an external pen testing service, which is a paid-for service where an external company with specialist knowledge and software tools accesses the system.
Types of pen testing
There are two types of pen testing:
The black box is where an external company has no knowledge of the system and performs a ‘blind’ test, which is where the tester has no previous knowledge of the network. It can be carried out using automated tools, but there may be instances where the tester needs to attempt to attack the system manually.
Black box testing can also be carried out as a form of white-box testing, where the tester knows the system, although not as much as a white box tester. Black box testing can be carried out using specialist software, with no need for manual intervention.
White box testing is when the tester has full knowledge of the system, including detailed specifications and documentation. The tester has unlimited time and access to the system. All of the test cases can be pre-defined, which gives better coverage of the system. This is often referred to as ‘test case coverage’.
White box testing can be carried out using specialist software, for example, Nessus, which is a vulnerability scanner.
Another form of white box testing involves the use of crawlers and scanners, where bots or engines scan the system for vulnerabilities.
Why you should involve pen testing companies?
Hiring pen testing companies can be very beneficial for your organization. First of all, the cost of hiring an external pen testing company is much lower than hiring an in-house pentester. In addition, hiring a company with specialist knowledge and software tools may be the only way to know your network’s security status and your security vulnerabilities. The following are the top reasons why you should hire a reputable company;
1. To maintain compliance – businesses are already subject to many regulations, but this is set to increase due to the growing importance of data security. Pen testing companies can help you demonstrate compliance by showing that your system is secure.
2. To increase customer confidence – by demonstrating that your information is secure, you can maintain customer confidence which will lead to increased sales and improved customer retention.
3. To improve business efficiency – it is important to have secure systems which can be accessed with ease by your employees, whilst also making it difficult for hackers to access your systems. If your information is not secure, employees may waste a lot of time trying to work around the security apparatus. If your systems are secure, employees can focus on getting their work done without worrying about security breaches.
4. To eliminate the possibility of security breaches – by identifying potential security holes before hackers do, you can reduce the chance of a serious cyberattack.
5. To reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack – external pen testing companies will identify potential security holes, enabling you to quickly deal with any issues before hackers exploit them.
6. To save money in the long-term – hiring pen testing companies is a lot cheaper than hiring a full security team, and can also save money by preventing cyberattacks.
Hiring pen testing companies is an essential part of maintaining a secure system. It can also be beneficial for your business, as it will increase security, reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack, and save money in the long term.