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Safeguarding Your Data with Penetration Testing

Why is safeguarding your data with penetration testing important? Over four billion data breaches occurred in the first six months of 2019, and that represents only 10%-12% of the real number. Over 85% of companies experience phishing and social engineering attacks each year. It is predicted that businesses will be subject to ransomware attacks every 14 seconds. With the numbers in the billions every year, what can your company do to increase its cyber security?

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is like hiring a burglar to tell you how they can access your home. Using intrusion detection tools and hacking techniques, testers simulate a cyberattack on your internal network. This white-hat hacking is designed to expose vulnerabilities in your security so that you can prevent real criminals from exploiting them by putting additional measures in place. Pen testing can not only reveal gaps in your security, but it can test the preventive security policies, compliance, and detection and response protocols.

Being proactive about your potential vulnerabilities can mitigate considerable financial risk and safeguard your company’s reputation. A typical intrusion takes 197 days or over 6.5 months to uncover and another two months to remediate. Data breaches cost businesses $3.92 billion in 2019 and did immense damage to customer confidence. With that in mind, it makes an investment in pen testing one that will ensure a positive ROI.

Who Is at Risk?

While no company is immune to the threat of a data breach, there are numbers that support which size businesses are most at risk. Almost 50% of all cybercrimes are committed against small businesses. While large corporations tend to have significant investment in cyber security, many medium and small companies don’t have the full-time security personnel that their larger counterparts do. Unfortunately, small businesses tend to invest less than $500 in cyber security measures.

Techniques for Testing

The most effective way to prevent hacking is to think like a cybercriminal. According to Forbes, some tips for replicating a hacker’s approach are:

  • Understand your risks
  • Create actor profiles
  • Test entire network
  • Create a response plan

To truly understand the type and potential impact of risks, you must take the time to interview people in the organization. Once you have a list of the risks, then you can create profiles of who might benefit from accessing your network. Actor profiles can be important in guiding testers to find ways to breach your cyber defenses.

Another common oversight to avoid is limiting the scope of testing to only software applications. While bad actors will exploit known software vulnerabilities, they can also find gaps in your infrastructure and other components of your network. Once testing is complete, you need to examine the weaknesses that were uncovered so that you can create a detailed response plan for each of them. As you complete each action, you must retest them to ensure that they are robust.

By 2021, it is estimated that cybercrime will cost almost $6 trillion. With those numbers, it makes the decision to invest in pen testing a wise one. To find out more about cyber security and how penetration testing can protect your business, contact Hancock & Poole Security today.