PEN Testing Basics

Pen Testing as a Cybersecurity Measure

Because hackers’ methods are evolving to use tools that are already an integral part of your system, cybercrime prevention requires more nuanced and proactive action. How do you know if your business technology system has weaknesses that are vulnerable to hacking?  

 Penetration testing (also known as pen testing or ethical hacking) allows you to discover your business systems weaknesses in a controlled environment. 

What is a pen test? 

Businesses hire experts to perform a pen test, which is a simulation of a hack on your system. This exercise reveals vulnerabilities in your system that may not have been noticed otherwise.  Needless to say, having an expert do the test is crucial to find vulnerabilities a hacker could locate and exploit.

There are a few varieties of pen tests: white, black, and gray box. White box pen tests share information about the system with the executor before assessment. Black box pen tests share no information. Gray box pen tests are a combination of the two, where some information—but not all—is shared.  

 The goal of a pen test is to breach your system using a variety of the same types of methods that hackers would ordinarily use. The expert who performs the test will then report strengths and weaknesses back to the business and make recommendations about how and where its system should be strengthened. An expert IT professional can provide recommendations as a result, with a variety of potential solutions.

Vulnerability assessment vs. pen test 

Pen testing is just one weapon in a company’s arsenal against cybercrime. Vulnerability assessment is another, and the two are sometimes confused, but not the same thing. When an IT expert runs a vulnerability assessment, he or she identifies and ranks the weaknesses in a business system, which can then be addressed. There is no simulated hack involved in that process. 

 Pen testing and vulnerability assessment are both pieces of a full cybersecurity audit, which ensures that your business has the appropriate security measures in place, and that security procedures are being carried out as planned. 

What a pen test accomplishes 

A pen test can help give businesses peace of mind. By allowing a trusted entity to attempt to breach your system, you will know the most likely ways in which a hacker could attack. And then you can take action toward prevention. 

 Cyberattacks are becoming more complex and more prevalent. It is not a good idea just to cross your fingers and hope nothing bad happens when there are methodologies, like pen tests, that can give you useful information to protect your business. 

What BNC can do 

Business Network Consulting (BNC) has experts on staff who can orchestrate and perform pen tests, offering some of the best managed IT services for those areas. They’ll walk you through the process so you know what to expect and explain the results so you know which next steps you must take to protect your business. 

 If you are located in Dallas, Denver, or Austin, BNC has local offices with managed service provider consultants that can work with you to determine what security strategy your business should undertake. 

Don’t bury your head in the sand: Find out if a pen test is the right way for you to ensure your system is impenetrable to hackers.