Penetration testing is a simulated scenario of potential network breaches. It does not take down any systems or infrastructures. You hire a third party to come in and safely attempt to access your network using both internal and external sources. They act as a hacker would, trying to gain access to internal information or system-critical applications. For example, employee personal information, internal company records, financials, customer personal information and financials, etc.
The type of data sought out by the hacker greatly depends on their motive. Their goal could be to expose immoral policies and practices, contract negotiations, or financials. For more information on the different motives of a hacker, see our blog, Most Common Cyber Attacks.
Why is it important?
Many industries are moving more and more towards regular penetration testing and compliance regulations. Customers and regulators want to know that you are taking the highest precautions when it comes to your network security and the security of your customer information. No company is exempt from potential network security breaches; even JP Morgan Chase, Target, the NSA, Netflix, and so many more have had their run-ins with security breaches.
Having a high-profile security breach can be damning to a company’s public image. Performing regular penetration tests greatly reduces your company’s risk of becoming another victim of cybersecurity hacking.