refers to the process of determining the effectiveness of a system’s
security controls against a capable and committed human cyber attacker. As the
owner of a startup, you need to invest in penetration testing because it offers
significant benefits that will be critical for the growth and longevity of your
business.

Penetration
testing is often mistaken for compliance assessment or vulnerability screening,
however, it is a step up from these two because it does not just stop at
identifying vulnerabilities. It also assesses the impact of a successful attack
and offers evidence that business owners can use to justify an increase in
investment in security tools, technology, and personnel.

 Here are the eight why like
yours need penetration testing.

1. Pinpoint areas for improvement

Recent
studies show that more than 0% of startups and small businesses suffer from a
cyber attack each year. More than 60% of these compromised organizations go out
of business within the next six months. These figures show that doing the bare
minimum for cybersecurity measures is no longer advisable.

Instead,
startups like yours should be prepared to invest in technology and personnel that
can fortify your defenses. A penetration testing should be your first
investment because it will reveal where you’re the weakest and which areas of
your business require higher levels of security. Some companies even offer penetration testing training to
provide your cybersecurity personnel with the right set of skills to
effectively deal with security threats.

This
includes a wide range of strategies from simple measures such as avoiding
opening phishing emails and using strong passwords to techniques that involve
technical expertise such as training.

2. Determine the impact of potential
attacks

Investing
in penetration testing will enable you to determine the extent of the impact of
successful attacks, especially when it comes to your operations. Knowing which
aspects of your business will be potentially affected adversely will allow you
to come up with an effective course of action to respond appropriately to any
threat.

Unlike
a typical vulnerability assessment, penetration testing does not stop with
identifying weakness in your system. Instead, penetration testers will exploit
the weaknesses they find to precisely determine the extent of damage that an
actual hacker can do to your business. Below are some of the most common
services that penetration testers offer:

  • Application testing
  • Network testing, which incorporates
    firewall bypass tests, domain name servers or DNS attacks testing, and system
    crash tests
  • Wireless testing, which entails finding
    weaknesses within the network’s access points
  • Payment Card Industry or PCI
    testing, which aims to protect sensitive card data

Once
penetration testing has successfully established the potential impact of actual
attacks, they can help your business design remediation programs and system
improvements. An improved and secured system will help you better achieve your
business objectives and prevent unexpected financial losses from hacks and
attacks.

3. Identify vulnerabilities

Unlike
the other types of vulnerability and risk assessments, the focus of a
penetration test is on the team of testers that will be working on your system.
For best results, make sure that you schedule regular penetration testing for
your startup. Their skills and experience in the field will be crucial in
determining how they repel and leverage an actual attack on your system.

Many
business owners are overconfident and believe that won’t target them
because of the size of their company. This cannot be further from reality.
Hackers are getting smarter by the minute and can target anyone. Penetration
testing will enable you to find vulnerabilities in your
system, website, or app. These include the following types of weaknesses:

  • Vulnerabilities that may be tough or
    nearly impossible to detect using your usual security tools and software
  • High-risk vulnerabilities which are
    made possible because of low-risk vulnerabilities that are exploited
    simultaneously
  • Holes in the operating system
  • Misconfigurations and errors
  • Unsafe or risky behaviors of
    end-users in your system

Whenever
there is a change in your network infrastructure, you need to invest in
penetration testing to evaluate what security controls you need to have to
match the changes made in your system.

4. Simulate real attack scenarios

One
of the best benefits of a reliable penetration test is that it simulates the
same stresses that your system would go through in case there is an actual
hacking attempt. Penetration testing gives you the experience you need to deal
with any future attacks, without suffering from the dangers of an actual
intrusion.

A
penetration test will help you identify vulnerabilities and provide you with
the opportunity to resolve them before a real attack takes place. While a
penetration test may not actually compromise any sensitive information or steal
sums of money from your business, the company conducting the penetration test
will be able to provide you with extensive details on the following:

  • How they were able to break into
    your system
  • What needs to be done to stop an
    attack in its tracks
  • How to remove a hacker from your
    system

A
penetration test ensures that you do not have to learn your lesson through an
expensive, real attack. This means that you can correct any errors before a
hacker can exploit any vulnerabilities in your system. It’s definitely better
to learn from a simulated attack instead of an actual one.

5. Meet compliance standards

A
penetration test is essentially a
mandatory requirement for businesses, agencies, and organization in many states
and countries around the world. The reports provided by penetration testers can
help your business observe due diligence and demonstrate to the relevant
government agency that you are complying with their standards.

Many
governing bodies across the globe impose hefty fines for non-compliance and
failure to protect customers’ data. In fact, in many countries, businesses that
are hacked and lose valuable data because of the lack of proper security
measures tend to face heavier fines and penalties. With penetration testing,
you do not have to worry about paying for costly penalties on of the
financial losses from data loss or breach.

Just
keep in mind that you should always choose an accredited and experienced penetration
tester. This is necessary not only to ensure that you are not wasting your
money and time, but also because your choice will influence the outcome of the
test and the possibility of a successful security breach in the future.

6. Prevent network downtime

Every
minute that your website is down, whether from a security breach or any other
reason, represents a lost opportunity to close a sale or attract a new
customer. Penetration testing helps ensure that you can stop these attacks from
happening in the first place and prevent lengthy downtime.

Security
breaches, in particular, can take some time to properly resolve. Recovering
from a security breach can get very costly. From IT remediation efforts to
legal recourse, you’re looking at a ton of expenses for your business over a
prolonged period of time.

7. Protect brand image

Compromising
your customers’ personal data and information because of the lack of proactive
action or negligence can effectively destroy your reputation. Not only does it
adversely affect the image that your customers have about your brand and their
loyalty to your company, it will also considerably impact your bottom line.

Security
breaches essentially produce negative press, bringing down customer trust in
the reliability and quality of your products and services. In fact, studies
show that customer’s loss of trust cost businesses several millions of dollars.

Investing
in penetration testing will help your business avoid security breaches that
ultimately put your brand’s image at stake. It is a process that does not only
protect your network and system, but also your reputation and brand.

. Save money in the long run

It
may sound counter-intuitive since penetration testing can cost a considerable
amount of money, but investing in penetration tests can save you money in the
long run. The average cost of a penetration test ranges from 4,000 USD to
100,000 USD, depending on the range of services. However, you should also
remember that preventive measures are always less expensive than remediation
efforts and financial losses.

Penetration
testing will identify areas where you’re most vulnerable and design an
intricate system of defenses to counter possible attacks. Without penetration
testing to guide you to the areas that you need to improve, you will most
likely spend more money because of the broader scope you need to cover.

Furthermore,
penetration testing offers protection from dangerously expensive cyber attacks
that can lead to substantial financial setbacks. The process will require the
expertise of an experienced team of specialists who will assess your system for
weaknesses that potential attackers may use.

Conclusion

Sophisticated
hacks and organized human attacks are becoming an increasingly serious problem
in the realm of cybersecurity. It’s up to the leaders of organizations and
businesses to make sure that their systems are protected against such threats.
Startup owners are no exception. You should always be confident about your
system’s defenses, and penetration testing helps make this possible.

A
reliable and experienced team of penetration testers can improve your efforts
to ensure better data protection and privacy for your customers and your brand.



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