A penetration test is an attempt by a team of security engineers, using a variety of tools, to test a computer network and identify weaknesses. These tests are usually performed by third- parties that have little- to- no prior knowledge of the system and are meant to simulate a real- world attack. Pentests may include all networks, applications, devices, and even physical security and allow organizations to evaluate the overall security of their infrastructure. While pentests provide a number of benefits, these are some of the most important:
1. Pentests uncover vulnerabilities that may be hidden to your organization.
Since pentesters have no prior knowledge of the system, it allows them to think like an attacker and use different methods to find vulnerabilities that may have been otherwise overlooked by the organization. The pentest also provides the organization an opportunity to fix these vulnerabilities, as the pentesters usually provide recommendations for improvements. Pentesters may offer information on what security controls your organization needs to implement. They may also expose how the exploitation of low- risk vulnerabilities can lead to sever damage at higher levels.
2. Pentests will improve your organization’s overall governance and requirements.
Several standards, such as PCI DSS, require that your organization completes an annual pentest by an outside party. Remember to address the requirements of applicable standards in order to maintain compliance.
3. Pentests can enhance your ability for business continuity.
Pentests will allow you to prioritize and protect your critical data. This will help you in incident response by allowing you to assess the potential impact of a successful attack on your organization. Pentests will also allow you to construct efficient security measures and response methods for business continuity.
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Continuous security monitoring of your systems is critical to protecting your company and your customers. Ongoing security tasks such as vulnerability management and penetration testing are vital to protecting your networks and applications.