Blog Post November 9, 2022

Importance of Penetration Testing in Cybersecurity

Penetration Testing Ethical Hacking

By: Brittany Demendi, Corporate Communications Manager

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also known as “pentesting” and commonly known as “ethical hacking,” is a technique used by professionals like Adlumin’s Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Team to shine a light on potential vulnerabilities. Pen testing involves identifying and testing these vulnerabilities within an organization’s network in a controlled environment. In our case, the MDR Team takes on the mindset of a cybercriminal and mimics the actions or strategies of an attack to evaluate where the weak points are. Penetration testing can also test compliance regulations to resolve any risks.

In a previous blog post, we covered the Four Critical Areas for Planning a Penetration Test. This blog will dive into the benefits of implementing a Progressive Penetration Testing Program and how it can improve overall security posture.

#1: Meet Industry Data Compliance Regulations

Every industry now requires some type of data compliance regulations and/or guidelines to ensure customer trustworthiness, protection of data, and to achieve proper security posture. Penetration binds organizations to the reality of their network health. When it comes time for compliance reporting and monitoring, penetration testing takes it to the next level by suggesting actions for remediation.

Regardless of the ever-changing industry landscape (threats and regulations), the goal is to ensure compliance. Standards like PCI DSS, NIST, HIPPA, NCUA ACET, FFIEC CAT, and others have become more than just a paperwork exercise or checkbox. Most auditors ask teams to use data-driven processes to show regulatory compliance and improve cyber-risk maturity.

# 2: Minimize Risks to Improve Cybersecurity Postures

A penetration test is one of the best ways to expose vulnerabilities and risks to a network. This ensures all systems are as secure as they can be. Adlumin’s MDR Team simulates different vantage points to see if any critical data can be accessed. Then, they can disrupt the kill chain by understanding the attack vectors leading to essential impacts.

All steps are meticulously documented so weaknesses can be exploited. A penetration test gives a baseline to work off to remediate the risk optimally and structurally. A sequence of the risks is provided, as well, to help tackle the highest risks first, then the others.

# 3: Stay Ahead of Cyber Threats and Hackers by Being Up-to-Date

Thinking ahead with the mindset of a cybercriminal sets proactive organizations apart from the ones that are only reacting to attacks. It is one thing to have an incident response plan for when an attack occurs, as this is vital for every organization regardless of industry. It is another thing to get ahead by penetrating a network as a cybercriminal would. Take advantage of programs that exist, like Progressive Penetration Testing, to see where the weak points are.

IBM states that in 2022, the average cost of a data breach will be $9.44M in the United States. Many organizations would fold if they were put in a situation like this. Thinking ahead can be the difference between an organization going under and thriving because data breaches are inevitable.

How are Penetration Testing Results Documented?

Complete results the most critical component of a test and should always be the result of a properly implemented penetration test. For example:

  1. Executive Summary report for high-level topics
  2. Pentest technical report for specific vulnerabilities and tasks
  3. Segmentation Report for understanding the types of attacks used
  4. Fix Actions report for resolving any issues uncovered

It’s essential to have comprehensive results that explain and document each vulnerability, evidence, impact, recommendation, and observed instance. Managed Detection and Response platforms plus services take the burden off already bogged-down IT teams, by implementing these tests and delivering actionable results.

The Proactive Cybersecurity Approach

With limited resources, most organizations struggle to prioritize vulnerabilities, identify exposures and weak points, and align to the larger business objectives to meet regulations of protected assets. Traditional penetration tests use limited formulaic methods and have not evolved to the constantly changing threat landscape organizations face.

Adlumin’s Progressive Penetration Testing provides real-world scenarios that are industry-specific threat assessments offering actionable recommendations. Every step is documented, providing a reverse-engineered blueprint to demonstrate how a cybercriminal can access the environment and gain access to critical systems laterally. Penetration tests ‘kill two birds with one stone’ by hitting multiple benefits that are required anyways. It just takes it a step further.