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What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also commonly referred to as “pen test/pen testing”, is a security test configured especially for a mock scenario or purpose. The idea is to penetrate an existing system and test its response to a cyberattack. 

Types of Penetration Testing

While all types of penetration testing attempt to test an organisation’s security system’s response to being exploited, there are numerous types of pen testing to be aware of. They all have different use cases and aim to uncover slightly different vulnerabilities and inconsistencies within an organisation. 

Internal Network Test:

In this type of network testing, attacks are simulated from within an organisation. The “hacker” will attempt to exploit the organisation’s security systems and internal infrastructure from the mindset of a cybercriminal. 

External Network Test:

An external network test typically involves “cybercriminals” leveraging publicly accessible information via domains such as the Internet to exploit an organisation’s assets. 

Web Application Testing:

Web application testing is a critical practice to ensure the quality and reliability of web-based applications. Web applications are software programs hosted on remote servers via web browsers and can be accessed from different devices and operating servers. The purpose of web application testing is to evaluate the security, functionality, and user experience. 

Hardware Pen Testing:

This type of pen testing involves assessing the security of physical devices and connected hardware components. The aim is to identify vulnerabilities in devices connected to a network, including laptops, mobile devices, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and operational technology (OT). 

Personnel Pen Testing

Personnel pen testing is precisely what you’d expect it to be; it focuses primarily on assessing employee cyber hygiene standards and susceptibility to social engineering attacks or phishing attempts. This is perhaps the most important type of penetration testing, as more than 90% of cyberattacks are made possible, to a greater or lesser extent, by human error, according to IBM data.

Risk Identification and Mitigation

Validation of Security Controls

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Why is Penetration Testing Important?

Penetration testing can be a great way to find vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an organisation’s security system. Penetration testers can “hack” into the company’s network in a simulated attempt to exploit and steal any sensitive information or data they can access. 

After testing the entire system, they can give the organisation feedback on any obstacles they ran into when “hacking” into the system and detail which areas of the network may need strengthening to ward off cybercriminals in a real-time scenario. 

Why SMEs Should Carry out a Penetration Test?

  • Identify Vulnerabilities: Penetration testing helps SMEs identify and prioritise vulnerabilities within their systems and networks before cybercriminals can exploit them. By uncovering weaknesses in security defences, businesses can take proactive steps to address them and reduce the risk of data breaches or other cyber incidents.
  • Compliance Requirements: Many industries have regulatory requirements mandating regular security assessments, including penetration testing. By conducting pen tests, SMEs can demonstrate compliance with industry regulations and standards, enhancing trust and credibility with customers, partners, and regulatory authorities.
  • Enhance Security Posture: Penetration testing provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of existing security controls and practices. By identifying gaps and weaknesses, SMEs can make informed decisions about strengthening their security posture and investing in additional security measures where needed.
  • Protect Customer Data: SMEs often handle sensitive customer information, such as personal or financial data. A data breach can have devastating consequences for both the business and its customers. Penetration testing helps SMEs identify and mitigate security risks, ensuring the protection of customer data and maintaining trust.

Find Out How to Conduct a Penetration Test Today!

Click the link below to learn how you can carry out a comprehensive penetration test to identify your business's cybersecurity weaknesses and vulnerabilities. 

Download Our Pen Test Guide
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Want to Learn More About Penetration Testing?

If you're worried about your IT infrastructure or have doubts about the security measures your business has in place, get in touch with our cybersecurity experts today!

Jacob Hedges: Technical Services Engineer
Jacob Hedges 
Technical Services Engineer
Liam Bishop: Senior Service Engineer
Liam Bishop

Senior Service Engineer

Jade York: Service Coordinator
Jade York

Service Coordinator

Adam Turner: Service Desk Team Leader
Adam Turner
Service Desk Team Leader
Ben Lack: Technical Services Engineer
Ben Lack
Technical Services Engineer

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