The pandemic, increase in cloud adoption, and remote working culture has contributed to the growing importance of Penetration testing in an organization. Due to the increase in digital transformation, data breaches have been fueling across industries and cost a lot while remediating, plus have a negative impact on corporate’s reputation too.
Thus, when attackers try to hamper your organization’s reputation using cutting-edge technologies, you need to resolve this issue and act accordingly. The best part is to discover vulnerabilities in your system, network, and applications and fix them in order to reduce the risks of cyber-attacks.
Make sure, while making strategy for this, you must be consistent and proactive because when it comes to application’s security, it is essential not only to leverage technologies like pen-testing tools, vulnerable scanners but also you must have a robust mindset with an ability to manage a plethora of vulnerabilities.
Yet, the point is, how should you perform penetration testing to assess your security before an attacker does? Well, to obtain this answer, you need to scroll down and read some important details before moving to Penetration testing, its types & tools, and then finally, we will help you know the 6-step process to conduct pen testing and get rid of cyberattacks.
Contents Of This Article
- 1 Scan for Security Vulnerabilities
- 2 What is Penetration Testing?
- 3 Significance of Penetration Testing
- 4 What is the Process for performing Penetration Testing?
Scan for Security Vulnerabilities
The initial step is to scan for security vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure. At the most basic level, vulnerability scanning aims to look for systems that are vulnerable to known flaws.
Whereas penetration testing aims is to identify weaknesses/loopholes in particular system configurations and organizational procedures that can be used to compromise security.
Therefore, before switching to pen testing, it is important to perform vulnerability scanning that helps identify vulnerabilities before cybercriminals do. Also, it aids you in determining the overall effectiveness of your security measures. If your system is overloaded with vulnerabilities, which means it is full of flaws, and you need to be rethought.
Besides, vulnerability scanning needs to be considered to meet data protection requirements. Undoubtedly, vulnerability scanning is not required by the General Data Protection Regulation named GDPR. Still, the security testing service provider needs to follow the regulation in order to ensure that personal data of applications will be secured in terms of technicality and the organization’s security measures. Once you have done with the Vulnerability Assessment, you can initiate pen testing to stop hackers to avoid exploiting your environment’s weaknesses.
So, are you ready to acquire instructions about Penetration testing? Sounds’ great! You’re at the right place. Below, we’ve curated the information about What Penetration Testing is, why the security testing service provider gives more importance to Penetration Testing, how you should conduct this type of testing to assess your security before an attacker does.
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing, also recognized as Pen testing, is a technique/method to obtain detailed information about your IT environment & check how hackers know about your system’s vulnerabilities and take advantage of those weaknesses to commit cyber-attacks.
In addition, Penetration testing is popular as Ethical Hacking performed by pen testers to mimic the actions of hackers, but with permissions. By following an effective process for Penetration testing, one can identify blind spots that hackers use to breach your cybersecurity framework. Not only this but also pen testing helps you to enhance your security posture and make it possible for you to prioritize the vulnerabilities as per potential risks associated with them. Moreover, it ensures that your testing framework meets the standards set out by various compliances.
Significance of Penetration Testing
Pen testing involves an investigation of all your potential attack surfaces before an actual cyberattack. It’s vital to consider it in continuous cycles because it aims to safeguard your security framework before becoming an issue as an expensive liability.
Here are some reasons how Penetration testing helps in evaluating your security before a hacker does:
Allows you to Discover Crucial Security Flaws
One of the best ways is to prevent your IT environment from attackers and resolve all your application or system’s weaknesses. When performing Penetration Testing, it allows you to scan your systems, networks, operating systems from Microsoft Windows, Mac OS to Linux with applications. Also, it lets you detect security loopholes in a better way and make it easy for you to check hidden issues by social engineering techniques.
Enables you to Find Solutions for Severe Vulnerabilities
As you may know, the major intention of Penetration Testing is to examine the extent of a potential attack. Similarly, it assists you in getting solutions for severe vulnerabilities & they can be based on short-term or in the form of long-term plans so that you can carefully improve the quality of your systems.
Allows you to Bridge the Gap with Robust Security Measures
Security researchers discover various flaws in your security mechanisms and protocols while evaluating your network, system, and apps. If you are planning to get security testing services from penetration testing experts, the chances are they will help you receive actionable insights and recommendations on how to eliminate security weaknesses make it easy to bridge the gap by revamping your existing/latest security protocols & processes.
Assists you in Adhering to Security Regulations
Adhering to the security standards from HIPAA, PCI, ISO 27001, GDPR, to many others is essential to serve the right product to end-users. Besides, the governing authorities expect that you will conduct audits regularly to assure compliance, and in case of non-compliance, you may have to pay hefty fines.
Thus, getting a pen testing can become a valuable option when you leverage various types of Penetration Testing, such as Network Services Penetration Test, Web Application Penetration Test, Client-Side, Wireless, Social Engineering, and Physical Penetration Test since all of them have different uses for sure, but the purpose of all is to help you provide 360-degree security to your organization’s IT infrastructure.
Accordingly, you should know how to conduct Penetration Testing or what are the ways to operate a pen test efficiently. To help you over this, below, we have explained the six-step process that you can check and implement in order to develop a scalable and repeatable penetration process in your company.
What is the Process for performing Penetration Testing?
In order to become successful in penetration testing, one should have proper planning or preparation to focus on the application’s scope & objectives. For this, you can consider any Penetration Testing Service Company to get your work done because they have a group of stakeholders and detailed knowledge of different Penetration Testing Tools such as Port Scanners, Application Scanners, Vulnerability Scanners, Web Application Assessment Proxies, etc. to focus on direct testing and crash issues that occur when your system experience inflated network traffic.
Make sure, while performing penetration testing, you must invade a system/network illegally and assure that you have taken legal clearance from the company before initiate a testing process.
After planning the pen test, you must collect information to conduct network surveys and find the number of reachable systems. From domain names, ISP, database server names, network maps to IP addresses, everything you can consider as a result of the survey. Besides, after completing the network survey, you can switch to port scanning to detect the open and closed ports in the network.
Check for Vulnerabilities
As discussed above, vulnerability scanning is the first step that you need to perform before penetration testing. After all, it helps you scan for vulnerabilities and allows you to automate your testing process. Plus, based on vulnerabilities identification, you can prioritize them as per risk scores or target those issues that are easier to exploit.
Conduct Testing, Analyze & Report
After finding the vulnerabilities or issues in the system, you can finally perform penetration testing and leverage social engineering techniques and password cracking practices to make the application 100% free of bugs and problems.
Once you’re done with Penetration Testing, you can highlight the most important vulnerabilities that could substantially impact the company. Also, you should cover a summary of the process in your report with a detailed list of collected information, a list of issues, their definitions, recommendations, and suggestions for the remediation process.
Cleaning up is the final step of the penetration testing process. In this stage, you need to clear the mess that may come while performing the pen test. Make sure the execution of cleaning up should be done securely without affecting the normal operations of your organization. Basically, if you’re a penetration tester, then you need to understand this it is your responsibility to inform your company about the transformations or changes that you have made during the penetration test and you must evaluate the application’s security before an attacker does.
Author Bio: Kanika Vatsyayan is Vice-President Delivery and Operations at BugRaptors who oversees all
the quality control and assurance strategies for client engagements. She loves to share her knowledge
with others through blogging. Being a voracious blogger, she published countless informative blogs to
educate the audience about automation and manual testing.