Pen Testing – Why Outside Help Is Mandatory

If you were to ask a sample group of a thousand business owners how many of them had no security systems in place whatsoever, chances are no more than one would raise their hands. Now more than ever, the subjects of network and data security are pretty pivotal in the eyes of business owners for the simple reason that the world’s cybercrime community is growing and evolving by the day. Whereas crime used to involve shop fronts being smashed and goods being stole, it now involves banging away on a keyboard and hacking your way into private business networks in order to then do whatever the hell you want with other people’s private property and data.

And given the fact that millions of websites are right now wide open to attack, it’s a pretty terrifying thought.

Real Threats Vs Perceived Risks

One of the biggest problems of all that leads to the perpetuation of cybercrime on a global scale is the way in which there’s a huge difference between the perceived threats a business owner may think they face and the actual threats they face day in and day out. For example, the fact that there are millions of other small businesses just like yours doing the rounds today often leads to an “it will never happen to me” way of thinking, having fallen into the assumption that the odds are on your side. And indeed they are, but at the same time it’s important to realise that when cyber criminals go out looking for targets, those that turn a blind eye to security are exactly the businesses that end up in the crosshairs.

After all – why waste days or weeks trying to hack into a secure online business when there are thousands just like it with their back doors wide open?

As far as cyber security testing experts are concerned, it’s a somewhat paradoxical situation where online business owners are generally aware of the threats web businesses face, though at the same time assume they’re immune. The trouble is…as so many have found out the hard way…you need only be successfully hacked once by a criminal gang to not only bring your business to its knees, but perhaps find yourself facing the mother of all legal battles.

Suffice to say, folk these days don’t take kindly to their personal data being stolen…and that includes your customers.

A Third-Party Perspective

The simple and overriding point to bear in mind is that unless you yourself are a seasoned and highly skilled network security expert, you cannot consider yourself as able to assess your own security needs or provisions. What’s more, as an insider working with the business your views and thoughts will be uniquely skewed one way or the other as it’s impossible to look with an unbiased eye at something you’re so intrinsically involved in.

This is why it pays to take on the services of a third-party penetration testing service provider, who unlike those within the business will be able to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb 100% objectively and without bias. The process works by effectively authorising a professional provider to get to work trying to hack into your systems from the outside in order to find out just how easy it might be for a criminal to do so, were they to target your business. They’ll see how far they can get in and how quickly, what kind of damage they might be able to do and ultimately how to make sure none of these horrid scenarios ever play out for real.

Theory Vs Reality

Much as it may be a bitter pill to swallow, every single security measure you have in place may not be worth the paper the invoice was printed on if it can be beaten by hackers. The trouble is that when most businesses cover their networks with a bog-standard security package, it tends to be the last time they give it any thought. Sadly, cybercriminals are working 24 hours a day and every day to find ways of getting the better of even the most popular security systems and software packages on the market, so there’s a good chance you’re nowhere near as safe as you think you are.

Full systems testing at the hands of the professionals is quite simply the only way of finding out for sure whether you’re covered and to what extent. And if there are any gaps in the fence, it’s better for you to find them now than to have them pointed out to you by a criminal hacker group.

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