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What is Penetration Testing? Everything You Need to Know [2021]



Remote work has uprooted most standard security protocols and lowered traditional cyber defenses that had been relatively successful for decades leading up to the pandemic. The pressure to ensure top-notch cybersecurity for customers, affiliates and staff is mounting. However, IT setups of most businesses often carry legacy elements and incorporate software and services of multiple origins, making it harder to uncover the loopholes cybercriminals may use to slip through. 


Enter penetration testing which is routinely practiced in large corporations. Not as popular yet for small and medium businesses (SMBs), it is a critical step towards keeping your digital data and both digital and physical assets safe. You may be familiar with operational audits or quality inspections: think of penetration testing as a similar QA process but for your security protocols. 


Based on whether the organization needs to review its entire management infrastructure or only those areas defined as targets, penetration tests may be performed on a more or less comprehensive scale.



What is Penetration Testing (or Pen Test)?


A penetration test (or pen test) involves checking the reliability of the data system by conducting attacks to detect system flaws and suggest security fixes. It’s a comprehensive safety audit approach that allows for quantitative and qualitative measurements of possible threats and their preventative mitigation. 


Pen tests require the scan for technical vulnerabilities that cannot be found by automated software, and the process of systematic manipulation of defined flaws.


Pen testing tools check the real-world security vulnerabilities to detect and manipulate protection flaws that could contribute to compromised accounts, leaked passwords, intellectual property, personal information, payment card information, or secure medical information.



Why Is Penetration Testing Important?

Research names the top three causes of data breaches: malicious cyberattacks, human error, and network glitches. Pen testing can help you gain clarity on the possible sources of data breaches that are unique to your IT setup. Here is why pen testing is important: 


Risk Identification

 Pen tests give information about the most vulnerable platforms, users, and henry points in your enterprise or system. These tests also help you know what kinds of new protection technologies you can invest in or procedures you should adopt. You can discover several major system weaknesses that you might not otherwise have known about.


Fewer Errors

The developers in your team can use the pen testing reports to monitor system vulnerabilities and flaws. They will know how a suspicious party initiated an attack on a software, web browser, or another program and proactively prepare a mitigation strategy. 


Effective Security Protocols

More often than not, a side effect of a professional pen test is the discovery of multiple bugs in your network frameworks and configurations. Not bad, considering you not only secure any gaps in your systems but also overcome structural weaknesses constructively for an air-tight sustainable IT environment.

 Penetration testing specialists will also offer you implementable feedback and guidance to fix these compliance vulnerabilities, allowing you to redesign the current security policies and processes.


How to Run a Penetration Test?


Security experts use dedicated technical tools to conduct various kinds of penetration tests. These techniques include vulnerability scan, port scanners, device scanners, and many others pulled into a single multi-step scenario to perform a comprehensive penetration test.


You will use these penetration testing resources, whether open-source or authorized, depending on the characteristic of the test you are running. A wide range of pen-testing tools are available in the market and you can get these tools depending on the type of penetration test you are looking to perform.  


Types of penetration tests

  • Wireless penetration test
  • Physical penetration test
  • Client-side penetration test
  • Web application penetration test
  • Social engineering penetration test
  • Network services penetration test


With the right pen testing strategy and tactical plan in place, your in-house developers can play hackers with these tools trying to break into their own systems. If it’s your first time planning penetration tests or you are running your company without in-house IT, working with an expert to get the strategy, tactics, and cadence in place is a good idea.  


3nom team has planned and performed hundreds of penetration tests for our new and permanent SMB IT clients in NY, NJ, and FL, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with you. Let’s tighten your network security with a comprehensive pen test—get in touch to schedule a free initial consultation today! 




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