Penetration testing (which is often referred to simply as ‘pen testing’) is a form of ethical hacking that reveals problems with your current cyber security infrastructure. Having this sort of testing is an expense, but it can save your business a significant amount of money. Here are five ways that it can do so.
1. Improve your overall security
The main reason that any business will have any form of ethical hacking carried out is because they want to improve their internal cyber security and ensure it is up to scratch. Pen testing can do a fantastic job of revealing the weaknesses in your system that could be exploited by skilled criminal hackers. Of course it is a fact that if you were to allow these structural weaknesses to remain in place, hackers would find that way in to your system.
During a pen test, any weaknesses found within your system will be reported to you, rather than exploited as hackers would. Amazingly, the average cost of a data breach involving fewer than 10,000 records was revealed to be nearly $5 million. It’s no surprise, then, that a single hack can prove to be fatal for a business.
Penetration testing puts you in a position where you will be better protected against hacking and can avoid the astronomical cost of a data breach.
2. Reduce overspend on new cyber security measures
When business owners and IT managers hear figures like $5 million per data breach, it’s natural that they might start to panic and throw everything they can into their cyber security budget. Of course, it is almost always recommended that companies should allocate a good amount of money to their cyber security, but sometimes it is not necessarily to put in this kind of huge expense across the board.
When you work with experienced pen testing specialists they will provide you with a comprehensive report that will explain to you exactly where you need to make improvements to your system. It may well be the case that the majority of your defences are structurally sound and that it may only take some minor spending to ensure that you are best protected from hackers.
This is an example of how pen testing can save your business a significant amount of money – instead of huge blanket spending, you can learn the small areas of your defences that are in need of strengthening in order to give you peace of mind.
3. Protection against ransomware
Some of the cyber-attacks that have hit the headlines recently have been those that involved ransomware. Ransomware is specific type of attack that locks users out of their system and threatens them with losing all of their data if they do not agree to pay a ransom within a time limit. A famous and enormous ransomware attack occurred in late 2017 when the WannaCry virus attack the computers in the UK’s NHS.
This has left many businesses concerned about potentially being hit with a ransomware attack. Thankfully, pen testers utilise all of the same tools that a real hacker would in order to simulate a cyber-attack. This means that if your system is vulnerable to these sorts of ransomware, you will learn about it beforehand. This will give the time you need to update your system to keep it protected.
4. Preparation for GDPR
Any business that works with citizens of the EU will need to conform to the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May 2018. The overall remit of the GDPR is make businesses take data regulation more seriously and bring the rules into line with changing technology.
In practice what this means is that companies can face high fines if they fail to adequately protect their data against breaches and cyber-attacks. So not only will businesses suffer from the fallout of the attacks themselves, they will face punishment from regulators. So having pen testing and then preparing your system can help you to avoid these expensive fines.
5. Understand where training is required
Finally, remember that it is often the case that the weak link in your cyber defences are people in the business. Cyber criminals often use techniques such as social engineering to gain entry to computer systems. Penetration testing can reveal if your staff are adequately trained for this eventuality. If not, you can provide them with extra training rather than suffering the consequences of a hack.