The Importance of a Penetration Test
As information technology professionals, we all know that system and network administrators are overworked while developers are notoriously behind schedule. This unfortunate combination causes inherent vulnerabilities to the technical infrastructure of even the most security-conscious companies in today’s market. To compensate for these risks, penetration tests have become a staple of every well-managed security program. When performed by skilled cyber security consultants, these critical assessments uncover issues that in-house admins often overlook, such as:
- Software Misconfigurations
- Rogue Devices
- Application Bugs
- Poorly Configured Systems
The question is, why are these gaps in security happening? Most often, the flaws mentioned above stem from overburdened IT professionals and developers, who are neck-deep in a never-ending stack of tasks. If you’ve spent any time as an IT professional, you can probably relate.
Overworked Employees and Under protected Systems //How New Projects Breed Security Breaches // The Productivity Problem in IT
For IT folks, problems can arise from an onslaught of new projects pumped out by fast-growing organizations. For developers, issues often manifest from the maddening scope of new features which they must implement quickly. When problems like this arise, important projects are often compromised.
According to the Standish Group, “Fewer than a third of all projects were completed on time and within budget last year.” To make matters worse, 50% of project managers indicated that their project failed consistently, according to hive.com. From our experience, when projects are over budget and underdeveloped, security takes a backseat. With time, it is all but forgotten. The result is an organization devoid of proper protection, despite its best efforts.
In the world of IT, overworked employees aren’t the only reason for security concerns. The reality is that IT projects vary in scope and purpose. They can take the form of new servers, new software, or new configurations – all areas that impact an organization’s overall security. While it’s true that basic vulnerability scans can shine a light on unpatched systems and common misconfigurations, there are many flaws hidden beneath a network’s surface that scanning tools overlook.
Addressing such concerns can be difficult, especially for mature organizations that already have a regular patch management cycle and quarterly vulnerability scans. How can there be a gaps in an organization’s defenses with an in-house team dedicated to network security?
The truth is, their IT team only accounted for surface-level protection.
Diving Beneath the Surface // You Can’t Fix What You Don’t Know
A real adversary is not looking for surface-level issues to exploit on a target’s network. Instead, they are looking for a series of minor missteps that, when used together by a skilled practitioner, can result in the complete compromise of an organization’s infrastructure.
In our experience, the following problems present hackers with the opening they need to infiltrate your security:
- Problems in the code of a custom application
- A firewall rule that allows internet traffic to reach internal servers
- The use of default credentials for internal servers
- Insecure communication methods on an internal network
With such a demanding role, it can be hard for security admins to keep up with what they perceive as a minor threat. That is why many savvy organizations are turning to skilled cyber security consultants to perform penetration tests. By revealing their weaknesses, they have the opportunity to strengthen their defenses.
Investing in a Quality Penetration Test // Only Invest With the Best
When performed by a skilled cyber security consultant, a pentest will peel back the layers of your company’s IT infrastructure and find flaws that go unnoticed by most organizations. That’s because an experienced cyber security specialist has spent years emulating real-world adversaries while poking holes in the best-laid security plans. With a proper penetration test, you will truly know how your network holds up against modern-day hackers. Keep in mind that not all penetration tests are created equal. You should only trust an experienced, reputable cyber security company to perform your pentest.
Before you give a cyber security company access to your network, make sure they:
- Employ certified cyber security professionals
- Are insured
- Protect your data during and after pentesting
- Follow a well-defined, documented pentest process
- Provide clear, informative reports
- Offer recommendations prioritized by risk
- Offer retesting options
Charleston’s Most Trusted Cyber Security Firm // Breaking Down the Barriers to Top-Notch Cyber Security
If your organization must meet strict industry compliance standards, or you are a contractor working for a large enterprise, it is crucial that you integrate penetration testing into your security program.
Remember, a low-priority issue today may spawn a severe security breach tomorrow. Don’t settle for surface-level scans and mediocre protection. The best way to reduce your attack surface and risk of a breach is through a comprehensive penetration test. After your pentest is complete, you will gain the knowledge necessary to protect your organization in today’s ever-changing threat landscape.
If you’re ready to address your security concerns head-on, Tandem Cyber Solutions is here to help you take charge. With a vast amount of experience in private and public sectors, we are committed to performing the highest quality penetration testing on. For more information about our advanced security assessments, please reach out to our team directly at [email protected]
Co-founder + Ethical Hacker
Micheal has over 13 years of combined experience in Information Security, Information Technology, and Physical Security. He has tackled some of the most daunting certifications in the industry and his passion for the cyber world is unparalleled with exposure to virtually every industry. He continues to hone his skills in Incident Response, Penetration Testing, and Consulting. Recognizing the need for change in cybersecurity, he volunteers to help entrepreneurs, veterans, and recent graduates.
Tandem Cyber Solutions