What is penetration testing and what does it mean for your business? Can a managed IT provider perform a penetration test? What are the benefits?
If these questions have been plaguing you for ages, you've come to the right place. This is your guide to managed IT penetration testing (and why it matters for your business). Let's get started!
What is Penetration Testing in Managed IT?
You probably don't consider yourself a hacker--and for the most part, that's a good thing. However, if you don't know how hackers think, you can't fully protect yourself, your data, and your company from their attacks.
That's where penetration tests come in.
What is a penetration test?
A penetration test is like a security assessment, but far more intricate. It's essentially a "mock cyberattack" that acts just like a real one to help uncover vulnerabilities.
Firstly, there are two basic types of penetration tests:
- Informed: In this case, the tester gets background information on your business. They know everything about your firewalls, accounts, passwords, and operating systems. This doesn't necessarily mimic a real cyberattack, because while hackers can learn a lot about your setup, they probably won't have every detail; however, it results in a more complete range of results.
- Uninformed: Sometimes, a tester doesn't have any background info other than your company name. This is more closely related to a real cyberattack, because the tester will have to work with whatever information they can find--which tells you more about which details are readily available.
Once you decide how much information the tester will get, the test takes a few different paths. It generally looks at internal and external infrastructure, firewalls, physical security in your building, and more.
Who performs a penetration test?
Your managed IT services can perform a penetration test. This is an ideal scenario because you and your provider will work together to determine the details of the test, keep track of every type of "mock attack" performed, and translate the results into actionable insights.
What does a penetration test tell you?
After a penetration test, you'll essentially be given the story of your business from a hacker's perspective. You'll get information about:
- Process issues.
- Firewall weaknesses.
- Human error.
- Network vulnerabilities.
- Unreliable software.
The Benefits of Managed IT Penetration Testing
So, now that you're an expert on penetration testing, why should you take advantage of this mock cyberattack? Let's take a look at some of the biggest benefits of penetration testing with your managed IT provider:
Some businesses, like those that must follow HIPPA regulations, are required to perform penetration tests for compliance purposes. By working with your managed IT provider to fulfill these requirements, you'll avoid noncompliance fines and dodge potential risks in the future.
It's often difficult to decide where your security improvements should begin or what form they should take. A penetration test shows you where your biggest issues are, which vulnerabilities are easiest to exploit, and how you could proceed to make a stronger IT environment. That means you won't have to worry about taking the wrong steps, because you'll have a roadmap right in front of you.
Are you about to make a big change in your IT setup? If so, you likely want an effective way to track results. The good news is that a penetration test can make this happen. Your managed IT provider can perform one test before all the changes and another one after. You'll be able to compare results and keep an eye on any improvements--that way, you know exactly what happened, where the impacts are, and what that means for your business going forward.
At the end of the day, the biggest benefit of managed IT penetration testing is the ability to think like a hacker without actually being one. By performing this mock cyberattack ahead of time, you'll take advantage of your own vulnerabilities--which means a hacker won't be the one to do it. You'll also be able to see your company from a fresh perspective and protect your data in fresh new ways.
In conclusion, a penetration test is the best way to find out where your weaknesses are and how they might be exploited by a malicious actor. By performing regular penetration tests with your managed IT provider, you'll get all the insights necessary to keep your security as strong as possible.
Do you need a penetration test? Contact us today to get started with managed IT services!