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What Is Penetration Testing and How Does It Keep Your Critical Data Safe?

What Is Penetration Testing and How Does It Keep Your Critical Data Safe?

The importance of cybersecurity is growing across all sectors of the economy. As more companies take their storefronts online, the number of reported cyber incidents continues to mount. The upshot of this is that data protection and security in today’s marketplace are more vital than ever.

We consulted with leading cybersecurity firm PCH Technologies, and their senior technicians explained that penetration testing is one of the best methods to avoid a catastrophic cyberattack. In this article, we’ll take a look at the various approaches to security penetration testing and explain how these tests can help secure your company’s most sensitive data.

The necessity of penetration testing

Cybersecurity threats are everywhere. An attack on your business can have consequences that are both costly and long-lasting. In 2017 alone, WannaCry ransomware infected almost a quarter of a million computers across 150 countries. Each of those cases averaged $300 in successful ransom demands for every device infected.

The average data breach at medium to large-sized companies can cost as much as $3.86 million, while a denial of service attack can set an organization back approximately $2.5 million. Those are two considerable sums. And those steep figures reflect the consequences of compliance issues fines, lengthy production downtime, compromised brand reputation, and customer attrition.

With that in mind, a comprehensive series of penetration tests on your system is among the best ways to detect vulnerabilities in your system. A skilled cybersecurity technician will use penetration tests to help identify holes and security weak points in your business websites and applications before advising what steps you should take to prevent an attack.

Approaches to penetration testing

As mentioned above, multiple methods of penetration testing are deployable, and they vary based upon the weaknesses they seek to isolate. The cybersecurity analyst will make an assessment concerning which penetration tests to use based upon the information gathered about your system.

Once the scope of the project is determined, the technician will engage one following approaches to penetration testing:

  • Black Box
  • White Box
  • Gray Box

Black Box testing

The Black Box penetration method is frequently called External penetration testing. This is because a Black Box tester usually comes from outside of the organization, possessing no foreknowledge of the business IT infrastructure at all. The Black Box approach is highly effective because it allows the tester to simulate a real-world attack with an uninformed assailant. It accounts for one of the longest and most comprehensive penetration tests.

White Box testing

The White Box method, also known as Clear Box or Glass Box testing is an internal testing approach. The penetration testing using this method will have complete access and knowledge of the source code environment.

The test serves as an internal security audit of company systems whereby the cybersecurity technician seeks to gather as much information as attainable about all potential faults and vulnerabilities. A White Box test generally takes three weeks to complete.

Gray Box testing

As you might expect, Gary Box penetration tests linger somewhere between Black Box and White Box Testing in scope. Gray Box testing allows the penetration test at least partial knowledge and access to the web applications and network server. Cybersecurity technicians often begin this approach with user privileges only on a host before being given enhanced privileges as a domain administrator. Similarly, the penetration tester may be given access to internal system architecture diagrams and other proprietary software code.

Penetration testing types

Apart from the three holistic penetration testing methods listed above, there exist different types of testing within those same approaches. Without going into too much detail on each of them individually, the types of tests are as follows.

  • Network Services
  • Wireless
  • Web Applications
  • Client-Side
  • Social Engineering
  • Physical Penetration Testing

Network Services testing is the most commonly used type of testing because it is the most important. Network Services testing seeks to isolate weaknesses in the network infrastructure, including firewalls, switches, routers, printers, and individual workstations before they’re targeted by attackers.

Web Application and Wireless testing is self-explanatory as they attend to those specific areas of the system. Client-side testing examines vulnerabilities in applications on the client-side. Finally, social engineering is a test that simulates a malicious actor in an attempt to persuade users into disclosing sensitive information.

Seek expert consultation

Are you considering a penetration test for your organization? PCH Technologies is ready to help keep your business running smoothly through the company’s state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions. Their team of experts can facilitate multiple aspects of your IT, so you remain focused on what you do best.

Call PCH Technologies today at (856) 754-7500 for a brief, obligation-free discovery call to learn how their cybersecurity experts can handle your company’s penetration testing needs.