Cyber security can encompass a huge range of processes. Whilst many of these processes are based on data, tools, and algorithms…sometimes you might wonder… what are the real-world implications of potential threats?
Secondly, you will want to have some assurance that the investment you have made in security is paying off and that the risk reduction you were promised in exchange for all that CAPEX budget is effective.
This is where penetration testing comes in. Simply put, it is the process of asking two question:
- “What could someone do to harm my company today?”
- “Could my company be used as a platform to harm my customers?”
Rather than focussing on estimates, predictions, and high-level reviews, the results of penetration testing are literal. A penetration test identifies and exploits the actual vulnerabilities in your applications and infrastructure using a team of highly-skilled, multidisciplinary, and creative people.
There are multiple different types of penetration tests you can run depending on what you want to test.
In its simplest form, you may want to validate that an outsider can’t break into your company by exploiting a vulnerability in your perimeter. Or you could be trying to test the effectiveness of your security team in detecting a compromise. Or maybe you want to understand how exposed your people are to being manipulated by skilled “social engineers” that can trick them into doing the wrong thing.
The combinations are only as limited as an attacker’s imagination.
Once all tests are carried out, you’ll have solid findings on key weaknesses within your company and a detailed analysis of the real-world impact of those weaknesses. It’s not enough to know your web server has an unpatched vulnerability or that your domain admin credentials are now “owned” by a malicious actor. The true value of a penetration test comes from translating those findings into critical business consequences such as loss of revenue, loss of intellectual property, capability to commit fraud, etc.
So back to the question, why should you care? Why should your company invest time and resources in penetration testing?
- It enables you to make informed decisions regarding your risk reduction, by providing you with tangible and measurable assurance of your security spend; showing you where your investment was successful and where additional effort is needed.
- It is similar to a fire drill and will give staff a real experience of dealing with a threat. This will give you an overview of weaknesses from offline to online within your business and processes. The more holistic you are, the easier it will be to target where to spend your efforts.
- It will give you the opportunity to detect vulnerabilities and routes into your company you’ve never even thought of previously; a penetration test gives you an insight into the mind of an attacker, which in turn enables you to focus your efforts.
- It enables your teams to go through the actual process of evicting an attacker. A lot of the time and effort is spent on how to detect and prevent a compromise, but not enough is done on the actual removal of a threat that is persistent in your network; a penetration test provide a real experience of doing that, reducing human errors, and preparing response teams.
While penetration tests are key to understanding the bigger picture of the threat landscape you operate in, they can be difficult to navigate and implement. It’s also very common for testers to overlook the business value that these exercises must, ultimately, bring to a company.
With Quorum Cyber, you will be supported by a team of experts, hand-picked due to their knowledge, experience, creativity, and ethics.
To find out more, visit us here.