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Everything You Need To Know About Penetration Testing

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Penetration testing (Pen-testing) or ethical hacking is a simulated cyberattack on your computer. The purpose of this authorized attack is to help you.

According to Statista, global retail e-commerce sales hit approximately 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021. In 4 years, experts expect this figure to increase by almost 50%, reaching 7.4 trillion dollars. This trend shows that more people and organizations across the world are now shifting to digital businesses.

No doubt, there are tons of benefits attached to starting a digital business. However, you need to keep in mind that this move also has its issues. Today, the biggest challenge you could experience with your digital business is the cybersecurity threat. Interestingly, one of the few effective ways to address this issue is by performing penetration testing.

What exactly is penetration testing and why is it important for your digital business? How much does penetration testing cost? What are the types of penetration testing? These and more are the questions you’ll find answers to as you read further through the rest of this post.

What is penetration testing?

So, you have a fast-growing digital business and you heard penetration testing is one of the most effective measures to protect it from cyber threats. The question is, do you understand what penetration testing is and exactly how it works?

Penetration testing is very expensive to perform. As such, before going ahead to invest thousands of dollars into it, you need to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

Penetration testing (Pen-testing) or ethical hacking is a simulated cyberattack on your computer. The purpose of this authorized attack is to help you evaluate and understand the security policies of the computer system. Through evaluation, you get to find and exploit any vulnerabilities that could give room for hackers to attack your digital business.

Here’s how penetration testing works below:

  • With penetration testing, one area of the system that needs testing is the web application. In this case, pen-testing will help you to identify and validate any exploitable vulnerabilities on your web-based applications.
  • The second area of your computer system that needs testing is the external network. In this case, the evaluation will be on the computer’s operating system, firewalls, and routers.
  • The third area is your internal network; this is where penetration testing will simulate an attack on the computer’s internal systems. The purpose of that is to check for any vulnerabilities and understand the security capabilities of your internal network.
  • Another area that ethical hacking will check is your system’s wireless component. This wireless assessment will look for any exploitable vulnerabilities in the computer’s wireless 802.11 based networks. The assessment will work through a process, called “war walking.” It will help you check for misconfigured/rogue access points.
  • The last part of pen-testing is war dialing. It involves dialing a predetermined set of numbers and looking for any active modem to penetrate the system.

By performing all the different penetration tests above, here are the results you could expect below:

  • First, you’ll identify and address any vulnerabilities and threats on your computer system.
  • You’ll also understand how your computer system will react to any cybersecurity attacks.
  • Last, penetration testing will provide you with an excellent measurement of continuous improvement.

Here’s why your business needs penetration testing

Every organization, irrespective of its size, needs penetration testing for many reasons. Here are the benefits of this security measure below:

1.   Preparation for cybersecurity attacks

One importance of penetration testing is that it allows your personnel to learn how to handle any threats to your system. Pen tests will open your eyes and let you understand exactly how strong or weak your security policies are.

2.   Identification of risk

Another importance of pen testing for your digital business is that it’ll enable you to understand the channels in your applications that are most at risk of cyberattacks. If this happens, the pen testers will provide you with new security tools that could help you prevent any threats.

3.   Reduced errors

By performing penetration testing, your developers will understand exactly how any malicious entity could launch an attack on your software, operating system, or application. This will enable them to make fewer errors when further working on your computer system.

When is the best time to perform penetration testing?

Penetration testing is a simulated cyberattack that your organization could perform at any time. However, the best time to carry out this security measure is if your digital business recently upgraded its applications or IT infrastructure.

Besides, as an individual, if you recently relocated to a new office, you need penetration testing. You also need pen testing if you recently modified your organization’s end-user policies.

Types of penetration testing

Now, let’s talk briefly about the different types of penetration testing that you could perform for your organization. First, there’s white box penetration testing. In this case, you need to provide the hacker with the system and background information of your computer.

Other types of penetration testing include the following:

●    Black box (penetration test)

This pen testing process only requires you to provide little or no background information about your system. In this case, the expert hacker has a lot of work to do.

●    Gray box (penetration test)

For gray box pen testing, your organization needs to provide certain background information about its computer system. However, the information won’t be as detailed as in the case of white box pen-testing.

●    Double-blind testing

For this process, the ethical hacker will perform penetration testing on your computer system without any prior notice to your internal team. This is the best way to test your security policies and understand whether your internal system can handle any malicious attacks.

Cost of penetration testing

As earlier mentioned, penetration testing is expensive to carry on. However, you need to keep in mind that the cost of performing this security measure could vary depending on many factors.

  • The experience level of the ethical hacker
  • Types of penetration testing and tools required
  • The size of your digital business

That said, the bottom line is that there’s no fixed cost for performing penetration testing in your organization. Depending on the factors above, some hackers could charge you as high as $100,000 or as low as $5,000.

Conclusion

As an individual, you don’t need to understand everything about penetration testing. Instead, all you need is to know the importance of this security feature for your business and what you need to get started. Interestingly, this article is more than enough to get everything you need to know about penetration testing. What next? It’s time to check your budget and hire the best ethical hacker to perform pen-testing for your organization.

Gwendolyn Russell

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