The Basics of Penetration Testing

Computers have changed the business landscape forever. There aren’t too many companies that don’t rely entirely on computers for at least one aspect of their business, if not completely reliant on them for everything. While the technology is quite useful, it can also be a dual edged sword. Computer vulnerabilities can allow unauthorized persons to gain access to sensitive data ranging from proprietary data to customer credit card information. Every business that utilizes modern technology should make use of penetration testing.

What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing is a method in which a hired security team checks the integrity of the network. They are trained to use the same methods in which computer hackers would use to gain unauthorized access to the system. The experts will then let the company know where they are weakest and what they need to do in order to prevent anyone from getting into the network and gaining access to sensitive data.

Why do companies need to have penetration testing done?

How much damage can be done to a business will depend upon the skills of the hackers targeting the company. Even hackers with very little skill can cause major inconveniences. People with few skills can deface or take down a company website if it is not properly protected. They can gain access to a network and inject Trojan horses, viruses or worms that can slow down or completely shut down the network. Anytime a corporate site or computer network is down means lost productivity from employees, potentially lost sales from customers or lost clients. In other words, it can cost a lot of money if someone should exploit any security holes.

A skilled hacker can cause significant problems once entry is gained. There are individuals out there who target a company in order to steal customer data. This can lead to everything from fraudulent credit card purchases on customer accounts to identity theft. If this should happen, the reputation of the targeted company can be irrevocably harmed. Consumers and clients would think twice about doing business with that company because they didn’t do enough to protect their important information.

Another reason why a company should consider penetration testing is if they have a large client list, a lot of research and development, or proprietary data or trade secrets they wouldn’t want to get into rival hands. While it isn’t talked about very often, some hackers are employed by corporations both foreign and domestic to gain access to this kind of data for corporate espionage.

Penetration testing shouldn’t be looked at as an expense. It should be seen as an investment and a cost of doing business. Because should the security be breached the expense could far outweigh that of having a penetration test done in the first place.



Source by Jeremy P Stanfords

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