Penetration Testing

 

Penetration testing is a security discipline where a white-hat security provider simulates a hacker or virus to attempt to get access to your IT systems.

Commonly confused with Vulnerability Scanning penetration testing is easily described as an active breach of your network rather than just looking for possible entry points into your systems.
 
Penetration testing has evolved from individual consultants using a variety of tools through to complete web-based systems providing a complete framework and checklist for your test.
 
Regulated industries and potentially organisations that fall under the scope of PCI-DSS (credit card payment standards) are required to conduct regular vulnerability scanning and penetration testing of the network.
 
With large scale credit card theft and database hacking, penetration testing has moved beyond being a luxury to becoming an essential part of an organisations security posture; with the costs of the test far outweighing the potential reputational harm and loss of service.
 

 

There are compelling advantages for any organisation that wishes to use a cloud based penetration testing suite. We have listed out some of these advantages below to help guide your decision.

  • Protect your online assets
Knowing where the weak areas of your network are allows your IT team to close these vulnerable points. 
  • Conform with regulatory requirements
Many organisations are required to conduct regular security testing of their network and systems. A thorough penetration test will provide a report that shows the strength of your network and your organisations commitment to protecting systems.
  • Beyond single tools
A well defined cloud penetration test suite will go beyond using single tools to providing a complete framework for mitigation, remediation and re testing of systems. Doing a penetration test in a structured way such as this will allow your organisation to reap the benefits of the testing and management reporting.
  • Latest system and threat technology
Using a cloud penetration testing systems delivers to the subscriber the latest technology and web-based threats that a hacker would use to breach your systems. Being current and up to date in terms of exploits and threats is essential to ensuring zero-day threats are mitigated. 
  • Test the claims of security vendors
Marketing around security products tends to provide levels of trust which sometimes are not borne out by the products when tested. When conducting a penetration test check whether your current systems have detected the threat and logged the intrusion and the tools used to conduct that intrusion.
 
 

With any technology deployment there are things to keep in mind and consider. We have listed out potential pitfalls to consider when purchasing a Cloud penetration testing service.

 
  • Notifications
Always inform your internet service provider that you intend to conduct a penetration test, inform them about the scope of the test and the systems that are within the testing pool. Be aware that illegally accessing or testing intermediate systems that you do not own (such as an ISP’s router) may leave your organisation open to breaches of the computer misuse act.
  • Support
What advice and support does the cloud penetration testing provider offer and does this match your internal skill-sets? Use a consultant if you find that a lack of understanding of the system may hamper your testing.
  • Understanding and interpreting results
Penetration test results may run into many pages of content. Ensure that your provider offers a simple easy to understand reporting structure that prioritises areas that need to be addressed.
  • Re-testing
Never subscribe to a one off test always do multiple tests until all high severity items are addressed and patched or hardened.
  • Complete a vulnerability test first
Vulnerability tests check areas of your network and systems without actively exploiting them. By conducting a vulnerability test initially and mitigating high-security threats exposed your systems will be hardened and ready to be actively tested for penetrations.
 

At Compare the Cloud, we’re here to help you get started and to identify suitable technology partners to help with your deployment. Take a few minutes to tell us about your company in our Cloud Comparison Tool, and we’ll present you with some informed options – and help you take full advantage of penetration testing and selecting a cloud penetration testing provider for your needs.

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