There are so many businesses around the world that are victims of security breaches and cyber-attacks. Different kinds of exploitations, such as spyware, malware, ransomware, and DDOS, hit businesses every day. These attacks have grown sophisticated and complex. Companies these days require advanced strategies to prevent these attacks and make sure that service remains uninterrupted.
One of the most popular solutions for preventing cyber attacks is penetration testing. Simply put, penetration testing is a security test to find out if there’s any need for enhancement in your current configuration. This test identifies both your vulnerabilities and your contingency strategies.
The basic idea behind this is that you’ll authorize an outside vendor/professional to attack your system. Parts of your security will be picked out and tested. The system goes through a stress test similar to the one it would go if it’s hacked. You’ll then get the report with the results and some insights on which you can take action.
Penetration testing is safe and controlled. People who are tasked to do it are professionals from QA testing companies, and the main idea is showing you your mistakes in a real case scenario. The whole test is safeguarded, so you can also predefine the models or settings that you want to test and see how your systems would hold up were they attacked for real.
There are many reasons you should do a penetration test on your system. Some of them include the following.
1) Discovering vulnerabilities
It determines the status of your current system and its vulnerabilities. It discovers the exploitations in your systems such as code bugs, software mistakes, configuration errors, merge errors, etc. It also judges your team’s ability to handle an attack.
If you’ve recently done any major infrastructure changes to your security, you should carry out a penetration test. That will help you validate and patch loopholes in your system. It’ll also help your system pass quality assurance.
2) Saving Time and Money
The primary purpose of penetration testing is to show you gaps in your current security that could potentially cause millions of dollars of damage to your business. Loss of business, downtime, and remediation amount could cost you a lot more than a single test.
By 2021, researchers estimate that software businesses will lose $6 trillion in cyber threats. Cyber attacks also cause regulatory penalties, and lots of time and money is required to recover from the attack. There are other factors too, like loss of trust, loss of reputation, etc.
Downtime can be the most expensive cost a software business has to bear. According to statistics, downtime can cost between $140,000 to $540,000 per hour.
Even if you have an advanced security setup, penetration will identify which parts of your structure need more resources so that you can invest accordingly. That will help you save unnecessary expenditure so that you’ll only target specific areas based on exploitability and Impact.
3) Security compliances
As a software business, There are many security regulations that you have to comply with, such as:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): It has rules that apply to personal data processing, free movement of data, and protection of fundamental rights related to data safeguarding.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS): This standard was created for organizations that handle credit card information. Its objectives include protecting card-related data, maintaining secure systems, network testing, and mentoring and implementing access control measures.
- Information Security Standard 27001 (ISO 27001): Published by ISO, it details a management system whose purpose is to examine and understand an organization’s risks, implement security controls for avoiding those risks.
Being in compliance with these standards improves customer’s trust in your brand. Non-compliance with these standards can cause you to lose business and be subject to fines.
That’s why you should advise your IT heads and system managers to perform regular penetration tests. If there’s any significant system change, you should do penetration testing afterward to ensure that the new configuration is also up to standards.
4) Develop safety measures
Once you have performed penetration testing on your infrastructure, you can take appropriate steps to improve your company’s security. Penetration tests provide QA pointers to strengthen your current protection.You also get a list of recommendations about the identified investments that you should do to enhance the system’s performance.
It will also help prioritize your risks, for example, in categories such as low, medium, and high. You have to decide which ones you should fix first. A decision can be taken based on criticality and resources required to fix that issue.
5) Keep your Leadership up to date
Through penetration testing, your leadership will come to know about your company’s security standards. It provides critical statistics and keeps you in loop about what’s happening with the company. The meaningful insights in the report will provide actionable info so that you can make informed business decisions about everything related to security.
6) Customer trust
One of the biggest reasons to do penetration testing is to prevent losing the trust customers have in your brand. Your company’s image takes a massive hit if it’s hacked, especially when there’s a loss of sensitive data. It impacts the customer’s loyalty and tarnishes the company’s reputation.
In many situations where ransomware is involved, people don’t even report the cyber-attacks to maintain the company’s image. Of course, that’s a bad strategy, as breaches (especially ones that are of considerable importance) are always known. In the end, companies hiding the attacks receive more flak for trying to conceal the issue instead of owning up to it.
Penetration testing is a unique tool that will make your system security better. It will take a realistic test of your current security scenario and will identify weaknesses. In most cases, this test detects the most glaring holes in security and gives you the possibility for you to close them. Instead of investing time and money in recovering from an attack, it’s better to invest in QA and testing strategy.