In the world of cybersecurity, it is hard to predict exactly how threats will evolve. However, there is one thing we can be sure of in 2019: securing your business against hackers is going to be more important than ever. Gone are the days when customers and user would forgive data breaches, so as online threats become more sophisticated, what can you do to make sure your business is secure?
In this post, I’ll be looking at a growing area of cyber defence that involves mimicking the tactics used by hackers to try and find weak spots in your security systems. This is known as penetration testing – an active form of cyber defence that seeks to find gaps in your security before hackers do, allowing you to plug them. To understand more about exactly what happens during penetration testing take a look here.
Why Does My Business Need Penetration Testing?
You probably have firewalls, email filters, antivirus software and access to information sources like Better Defend. So you might be wondering why you need to take the extra step. Well, the fact is that threats from hackers and other malign actors are constantly evolving, and while you may keep abreast of all the latest updates your software needs, new types of attack can come about that you are simply unaware of.
This is where penetration testing comes in. It is a holistic assessment of how your security holds up in the face of attack. This is more than just dealing with spam emails, or generic phishing attempts. It assesses how your business would hold up against a deliberate attempt to steal data that is tailored to your systems. While this may seem like overkill, these sorts of attacks are becoming more and more common. Also, penetration testing can give you peace of mind by letting you know that the security procedures you have in place are up to the task.
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The problems found by penetration testing will often involve a mixture of changing or updating software and hardware but also addressing certain practices in the workplace that may be dangerous. This is an area that is often overlooked, but is also the area that many businesses slip up.
Human error is the most common cause behind hacks, with unaware employees downloading malicious software by mistake or falling for phishing attacks. One of the bonuses of penetration testing is that it can find these kinds of weaknesses as well ones based in software and hardware. As any IT security professional will tell you, educating the workforce about IT security is just as important as firewalls and anti-virus software.
Is Penetration Testing safe?
While it might sound scary to let someone try to access secure data, it’s important to realise that penetration testers are professionals who will handle any and all data with the utmost care. They will certainly not cause any damage to your systems and will not disrupt any of your businesses processes.
At the end of the testing, they will create a report detailing any weaknesses found, and will also work with you to help amend these problems.
However, it is important that if you engage the services of a company or individual to do penetration testing that they have credentials and qualifications from a trusted body, like CREST. This ensures that you can trust the results, and you can trust that any sensitive data is safe. This is especially important now that GDPR rules are in full effect, because it is your responsibility to protect user data.