7 Reasons You Need a Penetration Test in 2019

7 Reasons You Need a Penetration Test in 2019

Penetration tests are an important piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. We like to begin with the end in mind and understand your goals before we recommend any assessments, gap analyses, or pen tests. Read more to find out why you should consider a penetration test. 


What is a Penetration Test?

A penetration test, also called a pen test, is a common test that is done to find out if there are issues with an organization’s network or cybersecurity system.

The test is performed to identify both weaknesses and vulnerabilities, including the potential for unauthorized parties to gain access to the system’s features and data, as well as strengths, enabling a full risk assessment to be completed. [Source]

It may also be referred to as a form of cyber attack due to the procedure that is followed when making the test. However, it is not an illegal attack as it requires authorization from the owner of the systems the test is being carried out. This test helps to evaluate if there are any potential loopholes in your security system which may be exploited by cybercriminals.

How a Penetration Test Works

When a penetration test is launched, the aim is to carry out a risk assessment of your organization’s security system and controls. This is done by evaluating and picking out the parts of your security firewall that may be targeted by attackers. These parts are then subjected to an attack through a penetration test. When vulnerabilities in the security system are detected, the individual or company may then find out ways to eliminate the potential risk that may arise from these loopholes. This may be done by either getting rid of the defective systems or strengthening them to ensure that they are not exploited.

7 Reasons to Carry Out a Penetration Test

1. Discover the Vulnerabilities Hidden in Your System Early 

It is imperative to identify and uncover the vulnerabilities in your system before the people who pose a threat to you do. In this regard, you have to dig deep into the threat and establish exactly what kind of information could be brought out if it is discovered.  By revealing whether or not an organization is susceptible to cyber-attacks and making recommendations on ways to secure your system, you protect yourself. It is important to understand the extent to which your organization is vulnerable to hackers.

2. Avoid Remediation Expenses and Reduces Overall Network Downtime

It is very costly to recover from a system attack following a security breach. These costs could be regulatory penalties, loss of business operability and even protecting your employees. By identifying the areas of weakness in your system, you not only shield your organization from massive financial losses but also spare it from reputational prejudices. Through your qualified security analysts, you can get clues on ways through which you can take steps towards, and even make investments that will establish a more secure atmosphere for your organization.

3. Establish Thorough and Reliable Security Measures

From what you discover after the penetration test, you will be able to develop necessary measures to ensure the security of your information technology systems. The results can serve as pointers to security loopholes, how real they and the degree to which they can affect the performance and functioning of your systems. The test will also make the proper recommendations for their timely precautionary measures while at the same time enabling you to set up a security system that you can rely upon to make the safety of your IT systems a priority.

4. Enable Compliance with Security Regulations

Practicing the habit of conducting occasional penetration tests can help you stay by the security regulations as laid out by the security standards in authority. Some of these standards include HIPAA, PCI, and ISO 27001. This will be instrumental in helping you stay safe from the heavy fines which are normally common when compliance guidelines are not adhered to. To remain compliant with such standards, system managers ought to carry out frequent penetration tests alongside security audits as guided by qualified security analysts. The outcome or the results of the penetration tests prompt can even e presented to the assessors of the organization as a symbol of due diligence.

5. Protect Company Image and Customer Trust

When your systems fall victim to cyber-attacks, the company image becomes tarnished in that the way the public used to view the company takes a negative hit. Consequently, customers begin to develop a concern about the security of their information in the hands of the company. The outcome of this may be a consideration on their part to seek the services of an alternative company for the same services you were offering them. Penetration testing will, therefore, help you avoid putting your company in such a position and by so doing, protect the company image as well as maintain the loyalty and the trust of your employees.

6. Prioritize and Tackle Risks Based on their Exploitability and Impact

Penetration testing will identify the areas that are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and using such results, you may be able to prioritize the potential risks and come up with a counter plan on how you are going to shield the company from the named risks. Your list of priorities could base itself on the degree to which individual risks are susceptible to exploitation by prospective hackers. You may also choose to attack the risk with a priority put upon the risk that would make for a graver impact on the company. By so doing, you will be cushioning the company against heftier hits in the event of a cyber attack crisis and by so doing deal with the risks that can easily be contained or whose impact is less harmful.

7. Keep Executive Management Informed about Your Organization’s Risk Level

Any properly working executive management of a company would always want to be kept in the loop whenever the company is at risk. More importantly, they also want to know of the level of protection the company operates in at any given time from potential cyber attackers.

Penetration Tests

Penetration tests are evidently of utmost relevance to the successful running of a company and should, therefore, be integrated into the maintenance procedures of a company. They can put you in a better position to identify the areas in your system that is vulnerable to cyber attacks, help you design a list of priority in terms of your precautions, enhance compliance measures and make everything legitimate for the good of all stakeholders of the company in their various capacities, including the customers.

A Penetration Test is a Piece of the Cybersecurity Puzzle

Penetration Tests and Vulnerability Assessments are two key tools utilized to improve and harden an organization’s security program.  Penetration Tests are used to identify key weaknesses in specific systems or applications and provide feedback on the most at-risk routes into the target.  These tests are designed to achieve a specific, attacker-simulated goal.

Alternatively, Vulnerability Assessments are designed to identify and affirm where key gaps are in your overall security program and yield a prioritized list of vulnerabilities that can be addressed to strengthen the environment.

We like to begin with the end in mind and understand your goals before we recommend any assessments, gap analyses, or pen tests.

Cybriant’s security professionals can assist in selecting the right approach to achieve your objective. We won’t just tell you that you have a problem; we will show you how to fix it, or we can perform the services on your behalf.

Here are 6 important considerations for your next security assessment vendor.

Penetration Test vs. Vulnerability Scan

No matter your size, all organizations should regularly check their network and systems for vulnerabilities that can allow outsiders to have access to your critical data.

There are two methodologies to do this – Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing. A common error in the cybersecurity world is to confuse these services or to use them interchangeably. Most cybersecurity experts will agree that both services are important and should be used together to have a comprehensive security program.

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Cybriant in the News: Do I Need a Penetration Test?

Cybriant in the News: Do I Need a Penetration Test?

Jason Hill, Director of Strategic Services, was featured on the AlienVault blog.

Do I Need a Penetration Test? 

When most people think of a security breach they think of some pimply-faced teenaged genius sitting in a dark basement furiously hacking away at their infrastructure trying to gain access. Often, they will turn to a security vendor to test for this very scenario, this test is known as a penetration test.

I cannot tell you how many professionals consider this as the de facto (and sometimes only) test of their security. Unfortunately, when taken alone they’re testing the wrong thing. In the recent Cyber Security Intelligence Index, IBM found that 60% of breaches occur from insider threats. That means that 60% of the time your data isn’t stolen by someone breaking into your network, you gave them the keys.

Don’t get me wrong, a penetration test absolutely has its place in a holistic security program but a security program it is not. The insider threats statistic mentioned earlier doesn’t necessarily mean your organization is full of individuals waiting for the right time to sell your intellectual property to your biggest competitor; it means that the breaches that occurred were a result of insider action.

Full Article: https://cybersecurity.att.com/blogs/security-essentials/do-i-need-a-penetration-test


Top Cyber Security Testing Tools

Why You Must Perform A Security Assessment

Why You Must Perform A Security Assessment

Recently, we discussed why it is important to have a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) system, and why it is crucial for skilled Administrators to actively use and monitor it. For a quick refresher, here is the article in Wired that sums up the presentation by Rob Joyce, Chief of NSA’s Tailored Access Operations, that inspired this series. This week’s post will cover why your organization needs to perform a Security Assessment to analyze your organization’s operational risks.

One of the biggest issues facing organizations today is that security is an invisible attribute.  IT administrators will set up devices or services, configure the security parameters and rarely if ever, consider security settings again.  Organizations routinely write policies for user access and infrastructure and never update them.  Systems are tested and vulnerabilities discovered but left unresolved. This is the “Set it and Forget it” Syndrome and almost every organization suffers from it.  As Rob Joyce points out, Nation-State Hackers and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are relying on these issues, and unfortunately, we are making their jobs easy by not assessing our systems and processes regularly.

Everyone has blind spots which cause them to overlook important issues.  Infrastructures constantly change which introduces new vulnerabilities while new methods of attack are discovered or invented daily.  And, often what was secure yesterday is likely not secure today. Periodic assessments can help your organization identify these blind spots so your teams can design an effective security program.  Assessments can help determine the best methods to prevent a breach, as well as protect assets and corporate reputations.

>>>>Why You Must Have a SIEM<<<<<

Why perform a periodic Security Assessment?

Organizations are increasingly bound by governmental regulations which dictate what security measures must be in place and how they are to be audited.  PCI, FISMA, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, NERC, and GSA among others all dictate how to secure different types of data and the systems that manage them.  These regulations also require regular security posture assessments.

While regulations are often the driving factor, they aren’t the only reason why an organization should perform (or better yet, have a third party perform) periodic assessments of their infrastructure.  A Security Assessment is the equivalent of an organization’s State of the Union.  It is a report that looks at every aspect of security and details the severity and potential impact of risks to the company.  Furthermore, it produces the fundamental information required to create a roadmap to a successfully secure business.  To navigate to any destination you must first know where you are.

Security Benefits of Identity and Access Management (IAM)


What should be assessed?

To begin, most organizations only focus on IT data systems or penetration tests during Security Assessments, and this is where things go wrong very quickly.  Yes, the firewall must block bad guys, and workstations are kept secure, but what about phone systems or printers?  Will your users recognize and report a phishing email attempt?  What is the process for when an employee exits your organization? Did anyone remember to disable their key card to the building?  A thorough Security Assessment will go beyond the typical IT systems assessment.  Here is a list of security domains that should be considered during a Security Assessment:

  • Access control
  • Information Governance and Risk Management
  • Infrastructure Architecture and Design
  • Cryptography
  • Operations Security
  • Network and Telecommunications Security
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans
  • Governmental Regulations
  • Incident Management Policies and Procedures
  • Physical Security
  • IT Security Training Programs
  • Network Boundaries

What about after the Security Assessment?

It is shocking to think that most companies will pay for a third party to audit their systems, processes, facilities, and personnel; then, do nothing to resolve the discovered issues.  This is exactly what Rob Joyce points out in his video.  A high percentage of companies will fail to close gaps discovered during security audits.  A vulnerability of any size is important no matter where it exists.  All an APT needs is a toehold.  Once one is presented no matter how small, attackers will use it to gain access to your company’s data.

Once you have received your assessment results, it is imperative to either fix discovered issues or create compensating controls to avoid these issues from being leveraged.  As Rob Joyce points out in his video, most companies and organizations fail to act even after issues have been discovered, documented, and reported.  Joyce also says not to assume any crack in your defenses is too small or insignificant to be exploited.  These toe-holds are exactly what Advanced Persistent Threats are looking for in your environment.

Companies put a lot of effort into securing revenue streams, banking information, and payroll information by default. These areas, they feel, are important to protect.  Most companies have a provision in the employee handbooks that instruct employees not to discuss salary information with fellow employees.  We don’t often find this level of care and communication when it comes to IT security.  Accountants frequently audit the bank and companies for fraudulent activities.  It’s time that companies added IT security to this list of very important, very well-understood activities.  Yearly assessments should be the norm and the findings should be well communicated within the company.  IT security cannot be the sole responsibility of a few guys in the back of the building.  Every employee has to be involved because every employee is a target.

The journey to a secure organization begins with the first step.  Your first step should be a Security Assessment to know where to place your foot, and how to find the path ahead. Start here >>>>https://www.cybriant.com/security-analysis/

by Byron DeLoach

How a Cyber Security Maturity Model Protects Your Business

Infographic: Vulnerability Scan vs. Penetration Test

Infographic: Vulnerability Scan vs. Penetration Test

With recent cybersecurity attacks like WannaCry making international headlines, it may be time to revisit your organization’s cybersecurity policies. No matter your size, all organizations should regularly check their network and systems for vulnerabilities that can allow outsiders to have access to your critical data.

There are two methodologies to do this – Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing.

For more information, please go to the recent article, “Does your business need a Vulnerability Scan or a Penetration Test? Here’s how to tell.” by Andrew Hamilton, CTO of Cybriant.

The CEO’s Guide to Penetration Testing