Penetration Testing 101: How Does It Work And Why Is It Important? 

Penetration Testing 101: How Does It Work And Why Is It Important? 

In this modern world, computers or cloud services stores a lot of our files and important data. All forms of protection are also used to prevent that private information from getting into the wrong hands. You install anti-viruses, use a VPN or a proxy server, and password-protect everything, but you’re still not 100% confident that your data is safe. One way to ensure your cybersecurity is to do a penetration test. 

What is a Penetration Test? 

A penetration test is a test to find weak spots in your cybersecurity. There are various services that offer solutions for people, especially companies, who want to protect their computers from cybercriminals. They emulate hackers by using similar methods to find out the cracks and holes in your system. 

How Does It Work? 

Penetration testing is not exactly a glamorous job. A “pen” (short for penetration) tester usually spends hours, even days, doing the tests. They also have to run the same tests over and over to make sure that they get the desired results. The scenario is usually like this: 

  • It Starts with the Company 

Companies, businesses, or organizations all have computer systems. The advancement of technology allowed them to have modern work tools and machinery to make things easier. Most of their business transactions are done on those computers, so a lot of sensitive data is stored there. 

As great as it is that technology made us more efficient, it also gave rise to cybercriminals. Hackers find ways to steal information that should be kept private. It endangers lots of people, especially if it’s a hospital computer system that they hacked. One way to prevent this is using a proxy server.  

  • Installing Antiviruses 

The first step anyone always does to protect their computer data is to install antiviruses. It does protect the system on some level, but as you know, nothing is perfect. There is always a plot hole, and we sometimes do things that make us victims even though we try simple ways to protect ourselves.  

  • Penetration Testing Comes to the Rescue 

Now comes penetration testing. Penetration testers have similar methods as hackers, but unlike them, testers have good intentions. They use the same techniques, but the goal is only to identify those weaknesses to find solutions to improve your security. 

Why Is It Important? 

1. It Finds the Weakest Points of Your System 

You must have already installed the best antivirus and you are quite confident with your system’s cybersecurity. However, some experienced hackers are still way too skilled to be kept out of stealing your sensitive data. You need to have your system tested to make sure that everything is in order. 

During the test, you will uncover weak spots that you would not even think are vulnerable. These tests are meant to detect vulnerabilities that any regular malware scanners cannot identify. 

2. Pen Testers Give Feedback

Pen testers always give you feedback on what they found during the test. If you are a business owner, that report is something you should have. As the head of the company, you should know about the vulnerabilities that your system has.

Your company’s website collects information from your customers, right? If so, then make sure that you keep that private data safe. You must ensure the safety of the information they shared with you. 

When you have the feedback, it can serve as evidence when a need for an increase in security budget arises. Using company money isn’t as easy as withdrawing from your bank account. It needs the approval of the board which is why you need to convince them that you’re spending it on something that is necessary. 

3. Provides Real Experience For Security Personnel 

Conducting a penetration test can give your security personnel a real-life experience in handling a cyber attack. If you are a business owner, you can devise a scenario where your security staff doesn’t know that it’s fake. Hire pen testers and let them do their job and see if your security personnel will be able to handle it. 

It’s an excellent way for you to determine whether you hired the right people or you need to hire new ones. Testing their abilities will help you evaluate them. You’ll know what skills they are excelling at and what areas they are lacking in. 

4. Gives Room For Properly Countering the Attack 

Hackers work fast. They are like cancer cells. Intrusive and so slowly forming that you won’t even know they are there until they have manifested in your system. You may not have enough time to recover before they destroy you.

Having your system tested gives you a heads up in case a real attack happens. Since you already ran the test, you know what kind of attack hackers would launch on you. When you see what it is, you can take the appropriate action to counter it. Because you have already experienced a similar attack during the test, you already have a plan to get in motion.

5. Helps In Developing Better Cyber Security Systems 

Mistakes help us learn, right? Developers can use the reports made by the pen testers to improve on their systems. If technology continues to grow day by day, then expect that criminal methods will also find ways to upgrade. It’s only a matter of who does it first. Are we on the opposition or the defense? 

If developers know what the chinks in their armor are, then they can come up with ways to strengthen it. Admittedly, not all systems are perfectly solid. One way or another there will always be an imperfection. If they know the vulnerabilities, then they can work on that towards improving their systems to deliver better security for the consumers. 

Conclusion

In this world, real or virtual, security is essential. There’s no other way to live comfortably but to always keep safe which is why we need protection for our online systems. Doing a penetration test will give us another level of comfort and safety. Of course, we hope that results will always come back negative, but if they don’t, well, at least we know before anything serious happens.