One of the best and most effective methods to uncover weaknesses and flaws in an organization’s security posture is by having an independent third-party carry out scheduled “attacks” on the network or system. A pentest is all about finding or exposing gaps present in the network’s defenses so they can be patched or plugged before someone with a malicious intent takes advantage of those gaps. There are different types of penetration testing methods that are designed to target various parts of the organization.
From the network infrastructure to the applications and devices and even employees, there is an array of different attack avenues for a criminal that has targeted the business. Any quality partner will approach this problem with an open mind and try to mimic the actions of a malicious hacker, looking for weaknesses and trying different tools and techniques for breaching the network. Having the right pentest framework in place is also essential.
Unfortunately, there are some mistakes with pentesting that are more common than others. Knowing what they are is the best way to avoid them.
Not Prioritizing the Risks
The first thing a person should do when trying to improve their organization’s security posture is by establishing a baseline for risk. It is necessary to identify where the biggest risks are. This information is a must to ensure the pen testing goals are achieved. This testing needs to have a target at the beginning. This may be company financial data, intellectual property, or customer data. By prioritizing risks, it is possible to focus on security efforts, which is where the tests can add the most value.
Try to think of the worst-case scenario for an organization or business and then build the penetration testing goals on that. This will help ensure the process is successful.
Not Using the Proper Language or Wording
There are all types of penetration testing tools available; however, it requires a large amount of expertise to figure out what tools to use and how to configure them. If someone thinks they can purchase off-the-shelf tools for penetration testing and have the internal IT team run them, this usually isn’t the case. Unless the business has an experienced in-house team, it is best to hire a third-party service provider to help.
Poor or Improper Reporting
Understanding the vulnerabilities that have been discovered along with the potential impact on the business may be challenging if the third-party penetration testing team doesn’t provide actionable reports on what is found. It is essential to have information that is easy to read and understand that outlines the specific issues and what may happen if the problem is not fixed promptly.
Penetration testing is the best way to find network vulnerabilities. While this is true, the testing must be conducted properly and by the professionals to ensure the efforts are successful. Being informed and knowing the most common mistakes are the best ways to minimize issues and achieve the desired goals.