The 11 Biggest Penetration Testing Questions Melbourne Businesses Are Asking
As a form of ethical hacking, penetration testing is central to business security. In many cases, it’s also essential for compliance reasons.
What is penetration testing exactly?
Generally speaking, pen testing involves the launch of simulated cyberattacks designed to uncover exploitable vulnerabilities in your network, system, website, and any applications that may be connected to your business. When it comes to technology, knowledge truly is power, and penetration testing gives you the powerful knowledge needed to eradicate these vulnerabilities and ensure your cybersecurity is as close to impenetrable as possible.
As with all things in the digital world, ethical hacking is only valuable when it’s guided by strategy and expert knowledge. To ensure you’re able to handle penetration testing optimally in your business, we’ve created the following guide. Read on for answers to the most important questions Melbourne businesses ask us about this essential cybersecurity measure.
1. How Often Should Penetration Testing Be Done?
IT experts recommend at least one round of penetration testing per year, but some systems may benefit from being tested bianually or quarterly. Ultimately, the schedule you set will depend on the parameters of your business, your compliance requirements, the attack vectors of concern, and your risk tolerance.
While a regular schedule of penetration testing is central to cybersecurity, you should also have your managed service provider or IT support team perform additional rounds whenever they do major work or upgrade your hardware.
2. How Do You Conduct Network Penetration Testing?
While it is possible to perform penetration testing yourself – it’s simple enough to buy a pen testing tool online – the low effort involved in amateur, tool-based penetration tests translates to low value.
Can you do your own penetration test?
Will it give you the peace of mind you want for your business?
So, what’s the right way to conduct penetration testing?
Cybersecurity professionals employ sophisticated penetration testing tools and add their expertise and years of experience to the equation. The resulting penetration report is one that does more than simply tick the “penetration test” box on a protocol list. Instead, a professionally conducted penetration test offers a superior level of comfort and confidence in your IT environment. That kind of peace of mind will never come from a do-it-yourself pen test.
3. How Much Does Penetration Testing Cost?
Once again, this is one of those questions that doesn’t have a set answer. You’ll need a cybersecurity professional to survey your IT systems and provide a quote. Any company that’s willing to give you a flat price is likely pricing high and/or hoping that your network is simple.
Working with a managed service provider like Invotec makes life significantly easier on this front as penetration testing can be worked into your regular maintenance schedule. In addition to being cost-effective, this is the most methodical and effective approach to penetration testing and cybersecurity.
4. How Does Penetration Testing Work?
Penetration testing is sometimes used synonymously with ethical hacking, but in reality, it’s a very specific subset of the general field of ethical hacking. Your MSP or IT expert of choice will employ specialised tools and ethical hacking techniques to attempt to gain unauthorised access to your network.
Depending on your needs and the parameters you set ahead of time, penetration testing can include physical entry into your facility, insider knowledge of your system, or a blind approach to your network and its configuration. Any vulnerabilities discovered by the technician will be detailed in a report designed to help you patch the holes in your security. Though we can’t speak for all MSPs and IT companies, Invotec ensures penetration testing reports are free from confusing jargon and presented in a way non-IT professionals can understand.
5. Why Do Penetration Testing?
Cybersecurity is, of course, the main motivation behind penetration testing. However, for many companies, compliance mandates are also an unavoidable reality. If you’re getting penetration testing in Melbourne, for example, it’s likely to ensure you’re in compliance with security standards like ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. Depending on your niche, there may also be industry and regulatory compliance requirements that demand penetration testing.
6. What Are The Best Penetration Testing Tools?
The penetration testing options available to the average person run the gamut from useless free tools and utter scams to half-decent tools. The sophisticated tools that help you do the job properly are available only to business IT support and security professionals. This can be somewhat frustrating to those who love to do everything for themselves, but there’s a very good reason why penetration testing tools are set up in this way.
The tool used, the expertise of the person operating it, and their ability to interpret the findings are crucial contributing factors to the overall value of the test. This is what makes the difference between a result you can use to improve your cybersecurity and a result that has little relevance. The former will give you confidence in your security measures going forward, while the latter can leave you vulnerable but with a false sense of security.
7. Is There A Difference Between Penetration Testing And Ethical Hacking?
As mentioned earlier, penetration testing and ethical hacking are sometimes used synonymously, but in the interests of accuracy and improved understanding, it’s important to separate these terms out.
- Hacking – What the bad guys do to gain unauthorised access to your company’s network.
- Ethical Hacking – A discipline in which a cybersecurity professional attempts to think like a criminal to discover a way into your IT systems. Once in your network, that IT security professional moves around to see what can be accessed by a criminal using the same methodology. Ethical hacking goes much further than a penetration test does and can utilise more methods than a pen test.
- Penetration Testing – A narrowly defined segment of ethical hacking in which an authorised person applies tools and other means to try to gain access to and evaluate your system’s vulnerabilities.
8. Is Penetration Testing Allowed on AWS?
The short answer is yes – you can do penetration testing with Amazon Web Servers. However, as per the AWS website, it’s essential to obtain the relevant permissions before conducting a pen test.
9. What Options Are Available For Penetration Testing In Melbourne?
You’ll find plenty of companies offering penetration testing in Melbourne, so finding a provider isn’t the issue. The question isn’t so much about who can do it as who should do it. As mentioned, basic penetration tools are readily available on the internet. So, it’s important to understand that there may be some providers out there using the same sorts of tools you could access for free on the web. This is why we recommend working with a reputable managed service provider or IT company that has the background and the credibility to give you unfiltered and unbiased pen test results you can count on.
10. What Is A Penetration Testing Framework?
Think of the penetration testing framework (PTF) as a roadmap for the penetration test. It shows the tools employed and how the network is to be approached in an authorised simulated cyber-attack.
11. What Is A Penetration Test Report?
A penetration test report is what you’ll receive from your MSP or IT professional once the testing has been completed. Your penetration test report should, at a bare minimum, include these four elements:
- An executive summary – to help you with decision making.
- Technical Risk Evaluation – to show you what needs to be remediated.
- Vulnerability Impact Assessment – to display what damage a real hack could have done to your system or network.
- Remediation Options – to determine your best course of action in the remediation process.
These and other relevant details should be presented to you in a simple, straightforward format that’s free from industry jargon and unexplained acronyms. Once you have this report in your hands, the penetration testing phase is over, and it’s time to move on to creating and implementing a strategy for addressing any vulnerabilities found and improving your cybersecurity.
Would you like to explore more helpful articles by IT security professionals? Invotec regularly publishes IT news and how-tos to help you stay on top of your tech.