What Are the Benefits and Best Practices of Cybersecurity Penetration Testing?

Cybersecurity Penetration Testing—Benefits and Best Practices

As cybercriminals continue to expand their reach, maintaining your workplace technology has become more difficult. Software and security protocols provide some protection, but your organization should also regularly conduct penetration testing. Conducting a penetration test will help your organization evaluate workplace cybersecurity effectiveness, identify potential cyberattack opportunities and recognize potential vulnerabilities.

What Is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing occurs when an IT professional mimics a malicious cybercriminal’s actions. The testing targets a specific workplace technology, such as the organization’s network(s), website, applications, software, security systems or physical assets. It can leverage various attack methods, including malware, social engineering, password cracking and network hacking.

Penetration testing is often performed by a contracted IT firm. A professional, with no association with the assessed organization, can perform an authentic cyberattack simulation. The experiment will either be performed as an external or internal format and differentiate by the following:

  • External penetration testing requires the IT expert to attack an organization’s external-facing workplace technology from an outside perspective. The IT professional is not permitted within the organization’s physical establishment during the external penetration testing. The cyberattack is executed remotely to imitate the methods of an actual cybercriminal.
  • Internal penetration testing allows the IT expert to attack an organization’s internal-facing workplace technology from an inside perspective. This testing helps the organization understand the potential damage an employee could inflict through a cyberattack.

These two distinct penetration tests differentiate based on the information an organization provides prior to the simulation. Specifically:

  • An open-box test occurs when the organization communicates some technology or cybersecurity details to the IT expert prior to the attack launching.
  • A closed-box test take place when the IT expert is not provided with any details before conducting the attack.

Your organization should select a penetration testing format and type based on the workplace technology elements and cybersecurity measures you want to evaluate.

Benefits of Penetration Testing

Improved Cybersecurity Evaluations

Realistic cyberattack simulations help assist your organization accurately evaluate security strengths and weaknesses and reveal the true costs of security concerns.

Greater Detection of Potential Vulnerabilities

A failure of your workplace technology or other cybersecurity protocols during a penetration test can provide a clearer picture of vulnerabilities and be used to rectify security gaps or further cyber initiative investments.

Increase Compliance Capabilities

Some organizations are legally required to engage in penetration testing. For example, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard calls for organizations that accept/process payment transactions to execute routine penetration tests. The assessments not only maintain your organization’s compliance but also uphold sector-specific expectations.

Bolstered Cybersecurity Awareness

Imitating real-life cyberattack circumstances can highlight the value of prevention for your employees and encourage workplace cybersecurity prioritization.

Penetration Testing Best Practices

Establish Goals

Determine your organization’s penetration test objectives, including:

  • What will my organization gain or better understand from penetration testing?
  • Which cybersecurity threats and trends are currently most prevalent for my organization and industry?
  • How can these threats and trends be applied to the penetration test?
  • What specific workplace technology elements or cybersecurity protocols will the penetration test target?

Select a Trusted IT Professional

Consult and communicate your organization’s goals with an experienced IT expert to assist with the penetration test.

Have a Plan

Prior to the penetration test, collaborate with the IT expert to create an appropriate plan. This strategy should outline:

  • A general testing timeframe
  • Individuals who should have prior knowledge of the test
  • The test type and format
  • Regulatory requirements to satisfy through the test
  • The boundaries of the test (e.g., which cyberattack simulations can be utilized and what workplace technology can be targeted)

Document and Review Results

Maintain detailed notes during the penetration test and review results with the IT professional. Examine which simulation cybersecurity tactics were successful and the measures that fell short. Request suggestions to properly rectify security gaps.

Make Changes as Needed

Implement any necessary adjustments to your workplace technology or cybersecurity protocols based on penetration test results, including updating security software or revising workplace policies.

Follow a Schedule

Conduct penetration testing on an annual basis and after implementation of any new workplace technology.

Cyber threats are becoming more prevalent and can cost your organization everything. You’re not alone, we’re here to help! For more risk management guidance and insurance solutions, contact a member of our team.

Cybersecurity Penetration Testing—Benefits and Best Practiceshttps://www.cbiz.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=nplhBU_i11g%3d&portalid=0As cybercriminals continue to expand their reach, maintaining your workplace technology has become more difficult. Software and security protocols provide some protection, but your organization should also regularly conduct penetration testing.2021-08-11T16:00:00-05:00As cybercriminals continue to expand their reach, maintaining your workplace technology has become more difficult. Software and security protocols provide some protection, but your organization should also regularly conduct penetration testing.Risk MitigationProperty & Casualty InsuranceYes