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Penetration Testing: How to Achieve Maximum Efficiency?

It is perhaps impossible to give an unambiguous answer to the question “when exactly is it better to conduct a penetration test”. In the end, everything will depend on several key factors and the current situation. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to navigate the issue, and we will help you with this.

In this article, you will learn about when it is better to conduct a penetration test, in which cases it is highly recommended, and why it is so important not to neglect regular checks. Read on to find out more.

When is the right time to Penetration testing?

The main purpose of a penetration test is to evaluate the effectiveness of protection and system stability. Therefore, it can be carried out at a time when the system, network or product no longer requires major changes and is sufficiently stable. If the test is run too early, it may not take into account errors that are likely to be made in the future. However, there are still many more real situations, and most of them can be represented as a list:

Pentest has never been done before

  1. Security breaches

  2. Large infrastructure changes

  3. Server migration

  4. Improving security programs

  5. Certification, changes in the legal field, emergence of new regulations

  6. Requirement of partner or customers

  7. Expansion of business, opening of a new office, and with it the hiring of new employees

  8. Changing enterprise structure.

  9. This list cannot be called exhaustive, but it clearly illustrates that there is no perfect moment for a penetration test. However, this does not mean that planning is impossible.

It is also quite clear that if the company does not have any protective measures, or they are just beginning to be laid, then there is nothing to evaluate. In this case, it is better to invite auditors to make recommendations on a protection strategy.

How often should you PenTest?

Security is a process. Changes in your business happens naturally. New components and applications are periodically added, staff turnover occurs, etc. Therefore, one-time measures will sooner or later not be enough.

On average, a pentest should be done twice a year. Dynamically developing companies or enterprises with risky activities may require quarterly tests, for example, after changes in the application or its technology. For small companies with stable conditions of existence, the frequency can be reduced to once a year.

When evaluating and planning, you should consider the following factors:

  • Company size. The larger the company, the faster it accumulates errors both from the technical side and from the side of employees.

  • Potential exposure to attacks. Obviously, your business may be more attractive to attackers. For example, if you are dealing with finance or large amounts of information.

  • Budget. This is one of the reasons why it is important to choose the right moment for the test. They can be expensive and not all companies can afford to run them often.

  • Laws and regulations. The frequency of pentest can be fixed at the regulatory level. In addition, changes in the legal sector may require you to improve security systems and test them.

  • Working conditions and infrastructure. Any changes in infrastructure, system upgrades, relocation, etc. — all this can lead to a penetration test.

Retesting pentest: what is it and why should it be done?

You will not know if your bug fixes have been useful until the whole system is attacked or retested. Although this procedure seems like a double waste of money, it can be optimized and simplified. That is, when retesting, experts do not check the entire system as a whole, but its individual elements that needed fixing, in order to make sure that security vulnerabilities were actually eliminated. In addition, depending on the situation, it is possible to conduct a vulnerability check of the entire structure where the gaps were found, and not just its individual elements.

Benefits of retesting:

  • Confidence in safety. Retesting allows you to be sure that the measures to fix security holes have brought effective results. Which in turn allows you to optimize existing or build new business processes.

  • Improving relationships with customers and clients. Your business partners, customers or regulatory and supervisory authorities will be more loyal to your business if you show them a progress report from security engineers.

  • Speed of work. The work is carried out in the minimum required time. A team of engineers who are already familiar with your system will quickly carry out the necessary procedures and issue a result.

  • Cost reduction. Retesting the corrected elements of the system is much cheaper in cost than a full test of the entire system after a certain period of time.

In general, a repeated penetration test is a very flexible procedure: both critical and high-priority elements of the system, and the entire system can be retested. Ultimately, we can be truly confident that your security system is working as intended.

What tools are used for testing?

During the penetration test, a wide range of tools is used, the specific list of which depends on the tasks. The arsenal of pentester engineers includes: various network scanners, password crackers, attack software packages, vulnerability assessment tools, etc. It is clear that pentesters use all sorts of hardware and equipment in their work.

Some of the tools are listed below:

  • Nmap;

  • Wireshark;

  • Burp Suite;

  • Metasploit.

In essence, each pentest is unique, although methods and actions may be template. The uniqueness lies in the fact that the style of work of the pentester team and the tools they use will depend on the specific tasks, working conditions, as well as the company in which they will work.

Any errors in software products are potential vulnerabilities. Any vulnerabilities are associated with potential risks. And risks are always the opportunity to lose confidential data, intellectual property, money, business partners, customers and reputation. Therefore, the issue of security is not the case when you need to focus only on costs.

But even if the budget is limited, after conducting penetration tests, you will already be aware of the vulnerabilities and possible risks. Thus, the company, at a minimum, will be able to determine the stability of the security system, the nature of the vulnerabilities, and assess the potential losses if the gaps are exploited by attackers. As a maximum, re-tests, work on bugs, optimization of business processes and other procedures aimed at minimizing security risks will be carried out.

Make well-informed decisions, be agile and invest in the security of your business. Contact us today for an initial consultation and enhanced protection for your critical assets.

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