That’s what a penetration test tells you.
There’s a lot of confusion between what a vulnerability scan is and what a penetration test is. Both are vital components of your company’s security, but they fulfill different obligations. A vulnerability scan lists how a given network, program, or piece of hardware could be exploited. It’s a general list of things that could go wrong, and, depending on how big your company is, that list could be hundreds of pages long. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there are hundreds of pages’ worth of ways to steal your company’s data. It just gives you and your IT department a list of things that need to be looked into for potential exploitation and data loss.
What is a penetration test?
A penetration test is much more to the point. It’s a wake-up call. It involves a real attack on your systems to find out how people can both get in and get out. A trained professional will work their way through their own list of your company’s vulnerability points and keep going until something gives way. They’ll crack through your company’s security to get data or demonstrate precisely where they could insert ransomware or redirect funds.
If a vulnerability scan is a list of what might one day be used against your company, a penetration test document is a how-to guide on how someone already did. They just stopped before causing damage because they were hired to help your company instead of hurt it (and because going further would be potentially illegal). Schedule one to uncover these two gaps in your security:
What will you do when something goes wrong?
Malware and attacks aren’t a matter of ‘if,’ they’re a matter of ‘when.’ Knowing where your company physical and virtual vulnerabilities aren’t enough, so don’t just stop with a vulnerability scan. You need to know precisely what your systems will do in response to an actual incident. Your attack vectors shouldn’t be tested in a real emergency first because there is no time to modify them in the moment. A penetration test is a controlled environment in which your employees’ and your software’s responses can be tested without the risk of disaster. Any gaps in your plan to stop or trace attacks after they happen can’t be improved unless you see where they fall short.
How do you stop your system from being overloaded?
Compliance audits are all about making sure you have the minimum mandated protections. Usually, these requirements work in isolation. Do you have the correct security measures in place to protect against X? Do you have the correct security measures in place to protect against Y? There’s a longer list than two variables, but very rarely will a compliance test ask if you are protected against X and Y simultaneously. This means you might be using the same tool or RAM allowance to protect against each threat in isolation.
But attacks don’t work that way. Both penetration testing teams and criminals who want into your system are going to try and overload it. They’re going to crawl over every vulnerability all at once, and eventually, something is going to give. A penetration test gives you the difference between cautious redundancies and the infrastructure you really need to stay secure.
If you want to make sure your company has both the best defenses and the best responses possible, don’t stop just at compliance.
Why do you need both vulnerability scans and penetration testing?
A vulnerability scan gives your company a proactive to-do list. Once you have a list of potential problems, your IT department or service can start systematically protecting against those weaknesses. But a penetration test double-checks that work to make sure your company is as secure as you think it is. Also, because a penetration test is performed by an individual with lots of tools on hand instead of just being a scanning program, can test unique problems. Penetration testers can find weaknesses in your passwords, for example, or play of your employees to get deeper insight into the system. Go to Kotori Technologies, LLC. to see if your company is up to the test. If you fail, we can help you pass the next one.