What is Penetration Testing, and How Can It Help Your Business?

 In IT Security

Unless you work in the IT industry, you probably have never heard the term, pen testing. It’s short for “penetration testing”, also commonly referred to as ethical hacking. What does that mean, exactly? 

What is Penetration Testing?

Sometimes, in order to keep the “bad guys” out of your computer systems, IT professionals need to think and act like those cyber criminals would if they were searching for vulnerabilities that they could potentially exploit. Essentially, penetration testing is a group of tactics designed to identify the weak points in your information systems and attempt to break through them. The findings, then, are used to develop the appropriate security protocols for your systems (or improve upon the ones you already have in place).

When Should Penetration Testing Be Performed?

By most IT standards, companies are advised to undergo penetration testing at least once per year. That should be considered the bare minimum, though. Certain industries have their own compliance-driven requirements for this, and in other cases, penetration testing should also be performed when any major changes are made to your existing systems. For example:

  • your IT infrastructure has changed or you have added new devices to your network
  • you have moved your business to a new location
  • company policies or industry compliance standards have changed in your niche

In general, larger companies tend to be more vulnerable, simply because they are a more likely target and have more potential points of entry for an attack. Therefore, you may find that penetration testing is recommended more frequently if you own or operate a very large business.

In terms of what is involved and how often it should be done, pen testing recommendations are almost always tailored to the individual organization at hand. That’s why it always helps to work with an IT security team that will listen to your needs and work with you to create a plan that will be most effective for your unique situation.

For more information about penetration testing or any other service we offer, contact a member of the Realnets team today at 773-631-6851.

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