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IT security for business: Getting started with penetration testing

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Hacker attacks are fast becoming the norm and with more and more businesses under threat. It pays to be clued up on the measures you can take to protect your company and its online assets before disaster strikes.

Penetration testing is one such way of ensuring vulnerabilities don’t leave your data and devices exposed. What is penetration testing? Why is it important? Were do you begin when enlisting a penetration testing company that can assist you in managing your defense?

What is penetration testing?

Also known as a pentest, penetration testing is a service provided by many ethical hacking and IT security companies. It is recommended across the business world as a vital step towards discovering your infrastructure’s vulnerabilities and eliminating them for a more secure network.

Penetration testing essentially stimulates a cyber attack to highlight these vulnerabilities and uses the latest techniques to exploit them just as a hacker would. After all the weaknesses in your network, system, website or web application have been discovered, you and your IT security expert can work together to close these loopholes and secure your infrastructure from potential breaches.

Penetration testing goes further than vulnerability scanning and the use of automated tools; using manual hacking, the pentest can present a more realistic portrayal of an attack, ensuring even the smaller vulnerability is picked up and resolved effectively.

What types of pentests are available?

There are three penetration tests that could be of use to your company when increasing your protection against hackers. Internal and external pentests are commonly used by companies of all sizes in their bid to improve defense.

Internal penetration testing covers the connected system inside your company, testing everything from client side application, malicious content, employee attack and Trojan horse attack. External penetration testing focuses on the publicly exposed areas of your network. External pentests use remote attacks to target servers, web-based applications, corporate telecoms and your wider infrastructure to expose the weakest parts of your system.

It’s not just internal and external parts of your IT infrastructure that need attention, hybrid penetration testing can be enlisted to ensure your business is protected against any type of hacker attack. This pentest is particularly thorough and uses a lethal cocktail of local and remote attacks to assess trusted networks, portable devices and wireless networks.

Hiring an ethical hacker

There are many experts out there all claiming to offer the most thorough service at the best possible price and choosing, managing and evaluating services can be difficult. Understanding why penetration testing is important to your business and the protection of its users, devices and data is essential when hiring a compatible ethical hacking service to take the lead with the security of your IT infrastructure.

Look at the proven track record of a company before hiring and find a hacker that is adept in using the latest network tools and techniques to crack the most secure systems and find vulnerabilities. Whilst checking references isn’t always an option when hiring an ethical hacker, doing some digging to check their authenticity is essential.

Managing an effective relationship with your security consultant is also fundamental to giving your network, system, website and web applications the best possible security. Maintain clear lines of communication to ensure you have a firm understanding of the level of service you are receiving from your chosen vendor.

Note: Content contribution from Brittany Thorley, who is a business security expert. She regularly shares her expertise to ensure companies of all sizes have the information they need to take the steps to secure their IT infrastructure via penetration testing services.

Contact: Marv Dumon at marvin.dumon@gmail.com

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