Businesses and organizations of all sizes are wrestling with issues related to cyber security. With the evaluation of business aspects, digitalization has become the bulwark of any organization. Companies store more and more sensitive data in online locations, increasing the scope of the attack surface.
Cyber-attacks like the Kaseya Ransomware attack shows beyond doubt that these attacks are turning more sophisticated and furtive. With more sensitive data, more information, and more vulnerabilities, attackers have more locations to target. This is where the requirement of penetration testing or pentest becomes integral.
So, what is penetration testing or pentest?
Pentest can be defined as the process in which a skilled tester uses a combination of manual exploitation techniques and tools to discover the real-world vulnerabilities in your Application and Cloud infrastructure. This testing is done to uncover potential flaws that compromise the security’s main pillars or CIA – Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability.
The goal of penetration testing
The primary goal of penetration testing is to
- Recognize vulnerabilities
- Identify potential compliance contraventions
- Test the internal Incident Responses (IR)procedure
- Improve the awareness of the employees
How to Choose Your Pentest Partner in 2022
A penetration testing partner servers as a new set of eyes to your Application and Cloud infrastructure. They can provide you with an unbiased review of your company’s security posture and provide helpful reports on how to improve it. A professional pentest partner is equipped with well-versed methodologies and advanced skills that are required to implant are liable IT penetration test. But before choosing a Pentest partner in 2022,there are certain things you must keep in mind:
Establish your needs
You must have a baseline understanding of your budget ,testing requirements, and objectives. This piece of information will ensure and guide you towards the right pentest partner. You must evaluate the terms and cost of the pentest provider. Sometimes the offer is too good to be true, in that case, you must be cautious as quality pentest can be expensive. Pentest adds value to the company and secures your sensitive data. Remember that, some pretest providers conduct glorified vulnerability assessments in the name of penetration testing, which is why their offers might seem comparatively cheap.
While looking for a pentest partner, you must categorize your assets based on how critical it is for your company. For a critical asset, you must conduct an in-depth and manual effort pentest every quarter. For internal applications or infrastructure, you can choose to perform an Automated vulnerability scanning along with a penetration test annually. For instance, an XYZ company with assets like:
- Public apps such as mobile apps and web pages must go for frequent manual pentest along with source code audit
- For exposed servers, Ips, and cloud assets they must go for automated vulnerability assessment and annual pentest
- For internal company network vulnerability assessment will be enough.
To uncover all the exposed and targeted assets, a company can also choose to perform an attack surface enumeration. Attack Surface Analysis is usually done by security architects and pen testers to map out the risk areas in an application, make security specialists aware of what parts are open to attack, find ways to minimize the attack, and understand the risk perfective of the Attack Surface changes.
Find a long-term and quality partner
After establishing your requirements, it’s time to shop for suppliers. Look for providers you can establish long-term relationships with aspenetration tests must be conducted annually. While looking for a penetration testing technology partner, look for someone whom you can trust and hold expertise in this department. Your partner must understand your requirements and can help youdetermine the right tests to meet your objectives and budget. You need a team that has the potential to add value to your cyber security strategy and can grasp the complexities of penetration testing.
Good indicators of a vendor’s technology competency are:
- Proprietary tools and technology
- Vendor’s involvement in vulnerability disclosures in known products/applications
- Vendor’s reputation in the security research community
Credentials and reputation
You must also focus on the vendor’s real knowledge rather than checking their credentials. By focusing on certifications, you might end up eliminating top-notch penetration testers who developed their credentials through practical knowledge. Penetration testing, as an industry hasn’t managed to reach a meaningful certification structure. Penetration testing is a methodology and previous experience-based technical skill which elevate with every passing experience.
Engage and ask necessary questions
Once you have a list of potential pentest providers, it’s time to engage and ask crucial questions to figure out the right fit for the job. Here is a list of questions you might consider asking:
- The methodology they will use for the pentest. This question will clarify the doubts regarding the expertise and knowledge of the penetration test provider.
- Ask for a sample report. To ensure that the test fits the purpose it is helpful to review the test report beforehand.
- Consequences of the test. A genuine penetration test provider will provide remediation guidance in their report, and discuss the results with you.
Once you find answers to all these questions and are satisfied with the answers, you can finalize your preference and discuss terms and scope with your Pentest partner.
What not to do while choosing a pentest partner?
There are many penetrations testing companies that employ several commercial pentest tools like Netsparker, Acunetix, Core Impact, or Intruder for various platforms and frameworks. This application of a commercial tool is a way to lure the organization wherein these commercial tools are of no use. A successful pentest depends on the methodology and manual efforts.
A penetration testing methodology is a manner in which a penetration test is organized and executed. Different methodology configures the process a company might take to uncover the vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing is the most effective method to ensure that your network is secure. It stimulates real-world cyber-crime to understand possible vulnerabilities and provides essential insight on how to reinforce your cyber and information security. There are many penetration testing providers with impressive strategies and remediations. But they may not have the real expertise in front of the keyboard. Good penetration testers are are breed therefore, you must check if the pentest provider can assess your security environment and run a proper test. They must be able to advise follow-up remediations based on their findings. Pentest is integral for your cyber security.
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