Communication is the lifeblood of business and enterprise today. Every word, number or symbol that is spoken, typed or automatically entered into an electronic device is part of a global, fast-moving ecosystem of information that drives the economy and life as we know it. All of this information needs to be protected. Any enterprise that collects or deals with customer information is responsible for shielding private data from hackers. The basic security measures that every enterprise must invest in are:
- Automated security scanning
- Firewall protection
- Password protection/encryption
While the importance of the basic security measures listed above should never be underestimated, it is important to note that they may not be enough. Motivated attackers will relentlessly search a network for vulnerabilities and weak points that can be exploited. As a result, IT managers are discovering that efforts to protect their networks must go farther. Penetration testing is becoming an increasingly popular way to detect weak points in IT security before the hackers strike. This innovative approach combines technology and human brainpower to detect holes that might otherwise be undetectable. Cyber Vulnerability & Prevention IT professionals around the world now have a lot to chew on following the large-scale cyberattack that was recently waged on the Wendy’s fast-food chain. More than 300 restaurants were targeted in a sophisticated exploitation of the company’s credit card systems. The attack involved malware that targeted the point-of-sale system to capture customer information.
This is just the latest in a string of high-profile cyberattacks that have targeted businesses in all industries. It is clear to see that such sophisticated attacks can only be fought off by even more sophisticated preventative measures. As a result, penetration testing is on the rise among enterprises everywhere. Penetration testing is unique because it doesn’t just stop at identifying potentially vulnerable areas. It goes a step further by exploiting those vulnerabilities in a controlled setting in order to prove how deep an actual attack against a business’s IT system or data security network actually goes. The aim is to get as close to a real-world experience as possible.
In addition to automated tools, a team of testers is brought in to use their skills to do their worst against an enterprise’s existing security measures. A penetration test is especially effective because of the way it allows for multiple attack vectors to be used against a single target. This is important because it usually takes a careful combination of shared information and vulnerabilities throughout a system in order for hackers to successfully compromise a system. The main questions an enterprise can hope to answer with help from penetration tests are:
- How feasible is an attack on a particular set of vectors?
- Do hidden vulnerabilities exist that may be difficult or impossible to detect with automated software?
- How large of an impact would a hack have throughout a system?
- Are current measures good enough to detect all attacks?
Answers Lead to Action Businesses need to make sure their security measures are up to date. Combining a vulnerability assessment with penetration testing is a cutting-edge way to anticipate the moves of cyber criminals and get a clear, unbiased picture of the true vulnerabilities in a network. The results of the test can give an enterprise the ability to move forward with creating a network that complies with legal standards for data security.