Nowadays when every business, whatever its size, is connected to the Internet, the threats from malware and malicious hackers are intensified to a degree never seen before. Even if your organization has very little in the way of a computer network (perhaps just a single computer connected to the Internet), there is no room for complacency. Even the smallest network can be vulnerable to the activities of amateur or professional hackers, and even a minor information security incident can cost your business a great deal in lost time and productivity.
This is where a penetration testing service can be of real benefit. For all but the largest firms (which have their own in-house experts), the kind of expertise needed to run a penetration testing service can be accessed only by calling on the skills of specialist information security consultants.
A penetration test seeks to probe the defences of your network and computer system by using the same methods as are used by malicious hackers, although without damaging the systems. Any security vulnerabilities discovered are logged, and a full report made at the end of the test, together with recommendations as to priorities and methods of addressing the vulnerabilities. The report may be presented at a face-to-face briefing where questions can be asked. This business service gives best results when carried out on a regular basis rather than as a one-off occurrence so that new security problems can be found and addressed before criminal hackers have an opportunity to exploit them.
The motivation behind penetration testing services is the insight that even the best passive analysis of a firm’s computer networks is inadequate when assessing its security. It is also necessary to perform a more active test that will demonstrate whether or not the suspected problems really are present, and how far they extend. Without this kind of security test, any analysis of a network is only theoretical in nature.
Regular deployment of a penetration testing service is considered part of industry best practice for maintaining effective information security. This is true whatever the size of the organization, and whatever the complexity of the existing networks or computer systems. Only a penetration test can truly reveal what security vulnerabilities exist.
If the network is essential to the business (and what network is not?), then the resources expended on the penetration testing service could turn out to have been a very wise investment indeed.