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Prepare for the Threats You Don’t See with Penetration Testing and a Vulnerability Assessment

By September 7, 2023No Comments

When hackers go after your data, they meticulously search through your network to find areas they can exploit. Unfortunately, these vulnerabilities are often overlooked until it’s too late – the first time you find out about them is after an attack has taken place. This brings up an important question – how can you prevent a data breach if you don’t know where to improve? Fortunately, penetration testing (pen test) and a vulnerability assessment are important tools designed to pinpoint your network’s weak points before hackers can find them themselves.

What is a Pen Test and a Vulnerability Assessment?

Pen Test:

  • Penetration testing is a security test method that simulates the methodology and typical actions of a hacker, at all stages of a breach. Cybersecurity experts will go into your network and perform the same strategies as a cybercriminal, utilizing their knowledge of modern tactics without any malintent. A penetration test is aimed at gauging your real-world cyber risk, so it needs to be deliberate and meticulous ensuring that testers have room to experiment manually with the potential avenues of exploitation (as a hacker would) as well as document their findings.

Vulnerability Assessment:

  • SWK’s Vulnerability Assessment is a comprehensive service that includes a broader network security review, leveraging a software scan to identify vulnerabilities within your systems to test your exposure to both external and internal risks. Vulnerability scanning software is a key measure designed to prevent networks from being hacked, revealing any weak spots in critical areas. This scan encompasses a broad approach to finding vulnerabilities, and seeking out weaknesses in computers, apps, and network infrastructure.

Why are These so Valuable?

As these measures are preventative, there may not be a clear and obvious benefit to your investment. However, the ROI of blocking a future attack is immeasurable, as one breach can cause incalculable damage to your business.

In 2017, Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, experienced one of the most significant data breaches in history. This breach exposed the personal information of over 143 million individuals and resulted in the company paying out $700 million in fines and settlements. If they had utilized penetration testing to discover where their network was most vulnerable, then the cost and breach of information could have been avoided.

When a hacker gets into your network, there’s no limit to the damage they can do. Removing security flaws reduces network downtime, informs future strategy, and supports compliance and privacy initiatives. Additionally, in cases like Equifax, their name will forever be associated with their security breach due to the magnitude of the attack. Being plagued with a similar negative connotation could mean that customers are less likely to do business with you in the future. So not only could a Vulnerability Assessment and Pen test save your company money, but also its reputation.

Another reason to invest in these solutions is that many insurance companies are now starting to require network penetration testing as a condition of coverage. Penetration testing and a Vulnerability assessment provide a clear example that a company has taken proactive steps to identify and address vulnerabilities in its network. Insurance companies are indicating that they will not offer to cover the costs of an attack unless the organization can demonstrate initiative to mitigate the risks created by potential cyberattacks.

Penetration testing ensures that testers will be able to quantify the severity of vulnerabilities found and includes external and internal factors such as public-facing user information, support lifecycle age of solutions installed, and the ease as well as the speed at which identified gaps can be exploited. Any weaknesses in your network will then be reported directly back to you. The documentation aspect of the process is one of the most important parts, allowing you to interpret exactly where your network needs to be bolstered. These findings are not simply an expert opinion, but a concrete example of exactly where your network failed.

A vulnerability assessment provides you with the same assurance, that after the network-wide scan is completed, you will know exactly what aspects you need to improve in order to appropriately defend against hackers.

Penetration testing does not have to be a one-and-done solution. As each day passes, hackers and cyber criminals develop new strategies to breach your network and take your data hostage. In order to keep up with the ever-developing landscape, it’s crucial to schedule an annual penetration test and vulnerability assessment where a trusted professional can see how your network stacks up against the latest tactics.

What SWK can do to Help

SWK’s Vulnerability Assessment scanning service is specifically designed to identify potential threats quickly, giving you the knowledge you need to discover hidden cyber risks. Our award-winning Managed Cloud Services team will work with you to prioritize and remediate uncovered dangers and protect your network.

SWKs scanning software will map and scan up to three public IP addresses on your network to determine if they are vulnerable to the latest threats. For each vulnerability identified, we will perform additional penetration testing to determine whether these vulnerabilities could be exploited by a cybercriminal as well as how to close the gap. The reports provided by SWK will help you establish a security baseline to understand how well-prepared you are to mitigate a cyber breach and navigate an attack. Our Team will then provide you with a detailed report explaining our findings while providing recommendations on potential remedies.

SWK’s external penetration testing includes all the OSINT (open-source intelligence) research that an external attacker may conduct, and our consultants will gather information through publicly available channels that are often a target for malicious actors. An example of a publicly available channel hackers may use to assist in their attack is your own social media page. Instagram, Facebook, and other popular apps can be a treasure trove of credential information for diligent hackers – since so many people reuse the same passwords repeatedly, anything that helps build a profile on a user makes it easier to guess and obtain their login.

Contact us Today

SWK understands that the best defense against a potential breach is preventing one from happening in the first place. If you want to learn more about our penetration test and vulnerability assessment services or schedule one for your company, make sure to contact us today.

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