A foundational component of any security program is ensuring that the organization has a clear understanding of where risk resides. One of the most effective ways to understand infrastructure weaknesses and test your defenses is with a penetration test (aka: ethical hacking) assessment.
The growing number of malware and ransomware attacks is a key indicator of the severity of risk for organizations and the critical need to embrace effective information security practices. Penetration testing not only helps your team identify exploitable weaknesses, but provides other security and business benefits as well.
We’ve identified 7 reasons why to schedule your next penetration test:
1. Achieve Compliance from Regulators and/or Auditors with Penetration Testing
Businesses today are faced with a daunting number of security standards and regulatory obligations. While the wording in each of them differs, the basic tenet of protecting sensitive and confidential data remains.
Some standards are simply recommended industry best practices and guidance, while others such as GLBA, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS are mandatory, with each carrying large penalties if an organization falls out of compliance. Fortunately, the detailed reports provided by penetration tests assist in helping organizations demonstrate ongoing due diligence to auditors and/or examiners.
Related Resource: Penetration Testing. What You Need to Know
2. It’s a Security Best Practice to Pen Test after System Changes
The primary goal of pen testing is to find vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited by a malicious hacker as part of your ongoing risk management practices. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that penetration testing after major system changes and updates is a security best practice and a PCI DSS requirement 11.3.1 and 11.3.2.
Over the past several months many organizations have undergone some form of digital transformation to support customers and staff who shifted to conducting business online. Pen testing significant changes ensures that the security controls are still in place and working effectively and also identifies new weaknesses that may have been introduced.
3. Determine if Potential Vulnerabilities are Exploitable
Vulnerabilities in modern operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Linux distributions are often very complex and subtle. Yet, when exploited by skilled attackers, these vulnerabilities can undermine your defenses and expose you to data loss.
Before a cyber criminal attacks, have a “white hat” hacker test your network to help your organization understand exploitable vulnerabilities and shore up security before a person with malicious intent breaches defenses.
4. Give Your Customers Security Assurance
Today’s consumers are security savvy and are concerned that businesses they support and partner with may be the next cyber criminal’s target, allowing their personal information to get into the wrong hands.
Having a security program in place that includes a penetration test helps organizations attract prospects, win business and keep existing customers happy by giving security assurance that your organization is working to harden networks against attack and misuse.
5. Test Your Incident Response Preparedness
A penetration test simulates a real-world attack and can help an organization measure the success of incident response security controls. A simulated attack that attempts to gain access to sensitive data helps organizations identify strengths as well as opportunities for improving attack detection and response.
6. Demonstrate Security Posture to Key Stakeholders
When a penetration test is conducted, a detailed report of the assessment findings should be provided. This report should clearly communicate the high level objectives, methods and findings of the exercise.
Use your pen test report as a tool to share insight with technical staff on the organization’s security initiatives as well as the security posture of the company. Being able to share the overall effectiveness of the penetration test and the goals for improvement can help the technology leadership of the company to better understand risks and determine what future resources may be needed.
7. Avoid the Cost of a Breach or Ransomware Attack
The average cost of an information security breach is $4.54 million. Legal fees, remediation, customer protection programs, regulatory fines, loss in sales and reputational damage can negatively impact an organization’s bottom line. Ransomware can even be used to exploit multiple targets, multiple times with a single deployment.
The increased cost required to resolve security incidents and the financial consequences of losing customers when a breach occurs, is sound reason to invest in proactive security such as penetration testing.
Penetration tests deliver a ROI beyond security assessments. These 7 reasons to schedule your next penetration test should show you why you should work with an expert penetration testing company, like Digital Defense.
Related Resource: Penetration Pen Test Pitfalls to Avoid
Take advantage of our end-of-year discounts and schedule your penetration test today.
Where Should You Start With Penetration Testing?
Get answers to your pen testing questions with the Penetration Testing: What You Need To Know Now Guide and learn how it can help improve your cybersecurity strength.