What is Network Penetration Testing?
In a technologically advanced world where every corporation and individual is cementing their online presence to reap the uncountable technology benefits, the emphasis on being protected in the cyber world is equally high. Misuse of stolen data and attacks have become the norm in recent years, presenting detrimental consequences to people whose personal information has been hacked.
Therefore, secure infrastructure is vital to your company's cyber security. Given the financial consequences of experiencing a breach, it is recommended to perform network penetration testing. Network penetration testing, also referred to as infrastructure penetration testing, is the security service process of identifying and detecting network vulnerabilities, threats, and security misconfiguration that can harm any organization's devices, systems, applications, hosts, and networks. Network penetration testing purposefully utilizes malicious techniques to assess the network's security response or lack of response.
There are two types of network penetration testing, including internal network penetration testing and external network penetration testing. An internal network penetration testing is conducted to help the organization gauge what a hacker could accomplish after accessing a network. It mirrors insider threats, such as workers performing malicious actions intentionally or unintentionally. On the other hand, external network penetration testing is developed to test how effectively the security controls detect and prevent attacks. It also identifies vulnerabilities in internet-facing systems, such as mail, web, and servers.
Why is Network Penetration Testing important?
The primary objective of network penetration testing is to detect security exploits that put the organization at risk of hacking and data breach before attackers can discover the vulnerabilities and exploit them. Network penetration testing is essential for different reasons, including:
- Protect organizational data
Guarding organizational data against breaches and attackers is single-handedly the most important reason for network penetration tests. The test can be described as an ethical hack, and it simulates data breaches as best as possible. Any minor vulnerability can let out personal data, which can affect the customers' trust and result in bigger violations of rules. Thus, organizations perform a network penetration test to determine the degree of intrusion and identify the risk levels the company is exposed to, and work on it.
Ensuring overall network security
Be it sensitive and personal information, the entire business structure, or a new application, ensure that no overlooked weakness can dent the corporation's integrity by utilizing network penetration tests. Security assessments should not be taken lightly; instead, they should be one of the organizational strategies, more so if there is the management of sensitive data.
- Compliance requirements
While some organizations conduct network penetration tests to identify weaknesses and strengthen their network security, some are required by the law to conduct these tests occasionally. For instance, the payment card industry and the banking industry have millions of customers' personal data, and data breaches can be detrimental for many people and the company. Thus, such organizations must comply with the rules to protect customers' sensitive and personal data.
- Regular maintenance
Network penetration tests need several runs for a continuous period to ensure long-term security is achieved. Thus, the tests provide continued maintenance of security throughout the company.
Benefits of Network Penetration Testing
Penetration testing can offer many benefits to an organization concerned about potential security breaches.
Primary benefits of pen testing include:
- Identifying network security vulnerabilities.
- Understanding risk levels
- Mapping out an organization's general security posture.
As we move deeper into the age of technological advancements, the methods available to digital criminals to exploit weaknesses in operating systems and networks continue to evolve. Some of the weaknesses that digital criminals are looking for in an OS or network include poorly configured firewalls, outdated software versions, social engineering attacks, and malware.
Security flaws could expose sensitive or private data, resulting in bad press, violation of compliance requirements, and loss of customer trust. Conversely, network flaws that merely lead to losing a coffeehouse chain next month's menu may not pose as much threat to the targeted company. Hence, it is crucial to determine the risk levels involved to make an informed decision on allocating required resources.
An organization's security posture refers to its overall cyber-security status for processes, data, network, software, and hardware. It engulfs security control, management, and reaction and recovery when security threats occur. All organizations must assess and document the security measures they have in place before they can even hope to improve them. Leaders can make confident decisions in an organization with a strong security posture. Customers will also have more trust in the company. The most efficient way of safeguarding your security posture is to employ qualified network penetration services.
Primary goals of Network Penetration Testing
The primary goals of Network Pen testing include;
- Identify network/application security flaws present in the environment.
- Understand risk levels for your organization.
- Help address and fix the application flaws identified through the network pen testing
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