what is penetration testing

      What Is Penetration Testing?

      Looking to enhance your organisation’s security? Understand the part penetration testing can play.

      What Is Penetration Testing?

      Penetration testing (often referred to as pen testing) is a security process involving the assessment of your system’s susceptibility to find and exploit underlying vulnerabilities in IT systems.

      It seeks to identify any weak spots in your system’s defences that attackers can infiltrate and exploit the situation.

      How Does Penetration Testing Work?

      Executed by cyber security experts and using advanced software, penetration testing typically follows this process:

      1. Reconnaissance

      This is the initial phase of the process, and it involves the collection of relevant information before carrying out the tests.

      2. Enumeration

      It entails recognising the possible entry points into your system to assert the level of susceptibility.

      3. Vulnerability Analysis

      This phase of the penetration testing process helps to define, locate, and categorise the vulnerabilities in your network or system.

      4. Exploitation

      In this stage, ethical hackers compromise the security of your system and expose it to more attacks.

      5. Reporting

      This is the final phase of the penetration testing process, and it involves documentation of the steps that led to successful penetration and other vital findings.

      What Are The Types Of Penetration Testing?

      Penetration testing is divided into four primary types. Internal Testing involves probing a company’s internal network with limited initial access to determine how much further access can be gained to its systems, applications, and sensitive data. This simulates an attack by an insider or someone who has breached the network perimeter.

      External Testing, on the other hand, starts with just the company’s IP address to identify whether external actors can access the network and exploit vulnerabilities, mimicking an external cyber attack.

      Cloud Testing is targeted at assessing the security of both public cloud services, like Microsoft Azure and AWS, and private cloud configurations, pinpointing vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Penetration testing can particularly be important for hybrid cloud setups to ensure there are no gaps between physical and cloud security measures.

      Lastly, Web Application Testing focuses on evaluating the security of websites, web portals, and web applications to check for potential unauthorised access, compromise, or data leakage.

      Each type of testing helps organisations identify specific weaknesses and formulate robust defensive strategies accordingly.

      The Importance of Penetration Testing Within A Cyber Security Strategy

      In 2021, IBM reported that the global average cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million in 2020 to $4.24 million dollars in 2021.

      While this is clearly based on larger organisations, the increase in the cost of data breaches emphasises the need for organisations of all sizes to identify weak spots in their network and system through penetration testing and strengthen them.

      Below are major reasons why penetration testing is vital for any organisation’s cybersecurity strategy.

      Identification Of Risks

      Penetration testing gives a clear perception of the different ways through which your systems are at risk.

      It helps uncover your system’s weaknesses that you might not have even thought about.

      Strengthening Of Security Measures

      The findings of the penetration testing process can help you establish your present level of cyber security protection.

      As a result, you can fix susceptibilities based on their level of significance and impact. Fixing the vulnerabilities in a timely manner will help in establishing reliable models for supporting your organisation’s information security.

      As no system is ever fully secure, organisations can also identify what are acceptable risks for their operations.

      Improves Preparation To Deal With Cyber Attacks

      It is dangerous for your organisation not to be ready for cyber attacks. Through penetration testing, you can assess the effectiveness of your firm’s cyber security approaches – before someone more malicious does.

      Moreover, the process helps in ensuring your IT professionals know how to deal with any kind of cyber threat.

      Carrying out regular ethical hacking is a proactive way of identifying the major weaknesses in your cyber security approach and aids in avoiding major financial losses. After the testing process, it is important to have actionable and sophisticated security measures.

      Akita delivers all types of penetration testing services for private and public sector organisations. Discover more about our approach:

      Back to feed