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Penetration testing (also called pen testing) is the practice of testing a computer system, network or Web application to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit.
Pen tests can be automated with software applications or they can be performed manually. Either way, the process includes gathering information about the target before the test (reconnaissance), identifying possible entry points, attempting to break in (either virtually or for real) and reporting back the findings.
The main objective of penetration testing is to determine security weaknesses. A pen test can also be used to test an organization’s security policy compliance, its employees’ security awareness and the organization’s ability to identify and respond to security incidents.
Penetration tests are sometimes called white hat attacks because in a pen test, the good guys are attempting to break in.
Benefits of Penetration Testing
For many businesses, one of the most popular benefits of penetration testing is that it will give you a baseline to work upon to cure the risk in a structured and optimal way. A penetration test will show you the list of vulnerabilities in the target environment and the risks associated with it. A high order evaluation of the risk will be performed so that the vulnerabilities can be reported as High/Medium/Low-risk issues.
The sequence of the risk will help you to tackle the highest risks first, and then others.
Increase Business Continuity
Business continuity is the prime concern for any successful organization. A break in the business continuity can happen for many reasons. Lack of security loopholes is one of them.
Insecure systems suffer more breaches in their availability than the secured ones. Today attackers are hired by other organizations to stop the continuity of business by exploiting the vulnerabilities to gain the access and to produce a denial of service condition which usually crashes the vulnerable service and breaks the server availability.
Protect Clients, Partners & Third Parties
A security breach can affect not only the target organization but also their associated clients, partners and third parties working with it.
However, if company schedules a penetration test regularly and takes necessary actions towards security, it will help professionals build trust and confidence in the organization.
Penetration tests will give you an independent view of the effectiveness of existing security processes, ensuring that configuration management practices have been followed correctly.
This is an ideal opportunity to review the efficiency of the current security investment. What needs to be improved and what is working and what is not working and how much investment needed to build the more secure environment in the organization.
A good public relationship and company reputation are built up after taking many years struggle and hard work and with a huge amount of investment. This can be suddenly changed due to a single security breach. The viewpoint of the public for an organization is very sensitive to security issues and can have destructive consequences which may take years to repair.