We get asked this question all the time: What’s the best way to confirm that your business’ IT security is firmly protected? Sure, you can implement all kinds of security measures, or have someone else with plenty of professional experience do it for you. But to be even more certain, there’s another trick to try: penetration testing (or also just pen testing).

How Penetration Testing Works

Penetration testers basically function as contracted ethical hackers who give your security a test run with the same techniques that malicious hackers would use, but while working explicitly for you. They then report on their results and recommendations.

There are tree basic types of penetration tests that are commonly performed:

Physical tests: In this case, pen testers literally visit your company’s physical installations and attempt to breach their security protocols. They might try to enter an internal office space and access an unguarded computer to install malware, or they might try to enter a server room for even wider access.

External network attacks: With a network breach, penetration testing hackers try to remotely access your IT systems–either as external attackers, internal attackers or with the unwitting or intentional help of someone inside your company.

Internal network attacks: With this method, pen testers connect into your organizations network and do a run-through of its overall security segmentation. They essentially try to start from a position of low internal access and see how deeply they can hack their way in, until they have access to IT sections and data that no low-level employee should be able to access.

The Benefits of Pen Tests

Modern hackers are more versatile and diverse in their methods than they’ve ever been in IT history. These include ransomware attacks, phishing attempts, employee manipulation techniques and anything else that gets results. Hackers act in real time and opportunistically target anyone who’s vulnerable.

More than any other security test measure, pen testing will let you discover how deeply your organization can be breached in real time, under real-life circumstances. It will let you:

  • Put your existing cybersecurity to the test across all levels
  • Discover vulnerable software, hardware and employee IT procedures
  • Map out which parts of your IT infrastructure and data are least secure
  • Help keep you compliant with regulatory compliance for certain types of customer data
  • Help you beef up your security or see where managed IT services can do this job for you.

Schedule a Penetration Test

Penetration testing is one of the most effective tools for discovering how secure your IT systems are. Elaborate security, carefully trained IT technicians and rigorous software are all enormously helpful and necessary for good IT security. However, you won’t be 100% sure of their quality unless you conduct a penetration test.

When organizing a pen test, just make sure to use a professional managed IT services firm that understands security. You should also set the conditions of the attack beforehand and try to not set set not too many rules to allow for maximum attack realism. Ideally, the provider that handles your IT security can also offer to perform a robust, thorough penetration test of your company. Great Lakes Computer offers both of these services with the latest in both techniques and technology.