Advancements in technology have made it easier for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.
But there’s a dark side to this.
As businesses become more dependent on digital and internet technology, so too is the prevalence of cyber threats to the security and integrity of you and your business.
In this blog post, you will learn how penetration testing can help protect you and your business from data theft and other forms of cyberattacks.
What is penetration testing?
Penetration testing (also called pen testing) is a process where an IT professional attempts to break into your online assets the same way that a hacker would.
The difference is that instead of exploiting the vulnerable areas of your website, application, storage, and network, penetration testers report these vulnerable points so that they can be addressed.
There are five kinds of penetration testing commonly used. Each of these focuses on a specific aspect of your business’ networks, websites, and storage.
For instance, network services penetration testing aims to find areas of weaknesses in your business’ internal and external networks.
Some of the things done here include evading installed firewalls, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS).
On the other hand, mobile application pen testing involves identifying weaknesses in your business’ mobile app’s iOS and Android versions.
Why conduct penetration testing?
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Identify and address security threats.
This is the most common reason why businesses conduct penetration testing.
A professional penetration tester can identify weak points and vulnerable areas in your network that hackers can exploit for their personal gain.
These points are then categorized according to the potential risk and damage it can cause to your data and business in general. That way, you know which areas to address first.
Comply with security requirements.
Businesses involved in specific industries are required to conduct penetration testing to their network and databases regularly.
If auditors come and inspect your security practices, and they find that penetration testing is not among your priorities, you can find yourself facing hefty fines for not complying with these policies.
Additionally, businesses who have experienced a PCI breach or their business processes and stores millions of credit card transactions are also required to conduct regular penetration tests.
Keep your business running.
When your business’ network security gets breached, it’s expected you immediately address and resolve this as quickly as possible.
In most cases, that would mean having to shut down your website and mobile apps.
And for many business owners, this is disastrous, especially in this day and age when many business transactions are done online.
That’s because, for every day that your website and mobile app are down while you’re in the process of resolving the breach, you’re losing thousands—even millions—of dollars in revenue.
Protect your business’s online reputation.
Customers choose to do business only with companies they can trust.
That’s why they take it upon themselves to first carefully research not just about a business’ product or service, but also the company’s reputation.
And for that, they would usually turn to review sites like Capterra where they’ll go through the feedback left by the company’s existing and previous customers.
Some would even turn to Facebook groups and Quora to get feedback about a particular company’s product or service.
Whatever feedback they gather plays a significant role in their buying decision. In fact, customers are more willing to believe customer feedback and reviews when choosing what product or service to get.
The last thing that you’d want to happen is to put your business in a bad light because your network’s security was breached, and your customers’ information was compromised.
And sadly, all it takes is just one disgruntled customer to make all of this happen.
Avoid additional expenses.
It’s not just the cost of upgrading your cybersecurity that you’ll incur when your business becomes a victim of a data or network breach.
You’ll also find yourself facing a plethora of lawsuits and hefty fines from regulating bodies.
Altogether, your business could be facing an average of approximately $4 million in additional expenses.
That amount is enough to cost many small businesses to go bankrupt and eventually end up closing altogether.
Advantages of hiring a penetration testing company
Now that you understand why conducting regular penetration tests to your network security is essential, the next question is: How to do it?
You have two options:
First, you can have your IT team do this for you so that you can cut back on costs.
The downside is that not all of the bases may be covered, leaving some weak areas vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The second option is hiring a penetration testing company to do the job for you.
Of course, this option is going would require an additional investment on your part. But many companies opt for this option for the following reasons:
First, a penetration testing company has a team of qualified testers who have been accredited by regulatory bodies like CREST and ISO 27001.
Second, these companies are well-versed in the different kinds of penetration testing and know which type to conduct based on your assets and needs.
Finally, the company is obligated to provide you with a comprehensive report about the different vulnerable areas they discovered.
More importantly, they’ll be in a position to properly advise you to improve the security levels of these areas.
Some penetration testing companies would even do the security enhancements for you.
Penetration testing is a must in your network security best practices.
In this blog post, you’ve learned what penetration testing is and why it’s a must to keep your network and your data safe and secure.
Although penetration testing won’t eradicate cyberattacks from happening, conducting this regularly will significantly minimize the likelihood of your business becoming a victim.
Cybercriminals are on the prowl every day, looking for businesses that they can prey upon.
You’ve heard the saying: Prevention is better than cure.
The question is, which would you rather choose for your business’ cybersecurity?