Penetration testing simply establishes benchmarks for your business to expose gaps and/or weaknesses in your IT infrastructure. Performed by an ethical hacker, pen tests are used by businesses to achieve compliance, otherwise meet regulatory requirements, or just to ensure they have a heightened security framework. After the process is complete, your business will receive a grade as well as an actionable list of items your IT engineering team must address to secure your infrastructure. From this point on, IT teams must abide by tighter cyber hygiene controls and keep security top-of-mind.
If you want to ensure that your IT environment and data are truly as secure as possible, implementing advanced cybersecurity solutions and services and maintaining a comprehensive IT security strategy is only part of the process. It's important to make sure that the protections you've put in place actually work with regular pen testing.
How Pen Testing Works
What is pen testing? It essentially involves a simulated cyberattack targeting a certain aspect of your IT environment to assess your security posture. The process will give you an idea of how effective your cybersecurity measures are in practice and whether you currently have weak points that a hacker could potentially exploit. Typically, due to the sophisticated hacking skills necessary, you'll need to work with a third-party provider to perform this procedure for your organization.
Although pen testing is recommended for organizations in any field that want to achieve the highest possible level of security, this security assessment is required for compliance with certain regulations, such as SOC 2, HIPAA and PCI DSS. That means it's a must in industries like healthcare and finance. FINRA and SEC have recommended tighter controls as well as performing penetration testing for trading firms.
Pen Test Types
Providers can perform various types of tests to evaluate possible weaknesses in specific facets of your IT environment. The different varieties of pen testing can include the following:
- On-site physical
- Application (e.g., if you have your own proprietary code, as is the case for many accounting firms and trading firms)
Following testing, you will receive a report/"call to action" document detailing any weaknesses that were successfully exploited during the simulated attack.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Testing
These recommendations will help you business maximize the return on your investment.
- Test regularly (at least once per year or whenever your IT environment or security strategy changes) if you're not already required to do so for compliance with industry regulations. Pen tests can be followed by monthly or quarterly vulnerability scans.
- Following the simulated attack, address any issues identified and then re-test after 45 to 90 days to ensure everything was fixed. Do not implement new technologies during this time. Simply resolve the issues that were identified and try not to re-test past 90 days.
- To minimize your risk level after pen testing, maintain tight security controls, conduct ongoing vulnerability scans, and keep your cybersecurity road map up-to-date.
Stratosphere Networks partners with various pen testing providers and can help you determine which one is right for you, based on your current situation and requirements. Our advisors employ and objective approach and can negotiate on your behalf with vendors to ensure the best possible value for your organization. Learn more today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.