A strong and secure network requires constant attention, patching and updates. Software that is deemed to be secure today may have a critical, publicly available flaw identified within it by tomorrow. So, it’s imperative that you maintain a high level of awareness regarding the security of your assets and infrastructure.
Regular vulnerability assessments can help to identify missing patches and security flaws, but a penetration test will take those vulnerabilities to their natural, logical conclusion. This could result in the chaining together of a series of seemingly innocuous vulnerabilities to produce a critical attack vector or merely exploiting a vulnerability and pursuing it as far as possible with the aim of compromising internal systems and networks to demonstrate what could be possible by malicious threat actors. A penetration tester thinks like a real-world hacker, exploring multiple avenues of attack within the confines of a mutually agreed scope.
Ultimately, the aim of a penetration test is not only to identify vulnerabilities in systems but also to highlight the associated business risk and to help our customers understand what mitigation techniques and remediation can be implemented to improve their security posture.
Penetration tests are more rigorous and exhaustive in their assessment of systems and networks and aim to translate the vulnerabilities identified into tangible risk for your business. For example, an unpatched application on one server out of several hundred may seem trivial, but a penetration test would describe how this vulnerability could be used to gain root/admin access to the device and how that access could be used to mount further attacks on other systems to compromise the entire network.
Similarly, penetration tests can be used to measure how staff members react to various situations, and how far these scenarios can go in compromising assets and networks.
They are a more in-depth approach to testing and provide a more accurate representation of your security posture than vulnerability assessments.
They are confined to a mutually agreed scope and adhere to well-defined rules of engagement and methodologies.
They can be used to test both application and network layers.
Penetration tests are usually performed from an unauthenticated perspective.
Better results are obtained when your security systems (IPS/WAF) are relaxed (for our test systems only) for the duration of the assessment.