Network penetration testing plays an important role in protecting businesses in the ever-changing world of cybersecurity. However, business leaders and IT pros have misconceptions about this process, which affects their security posture and decision-making.
This blog acts as a quick guide to network penetration testing, explaining what it is, dispelling common myths and redefining its role in today’s security landscape.
What is the network penetration test?
Attempting to enter the network a proactive approach to cybersecurity where security experts simulate cyberattacks to identify gaps in an organization’s cyberdefense. The main goal of this process is to identify and correct vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them. This process is sometimes called “pentesting” or “ethical hacking.”
Network pentesting examines the chinks in an organization’s armor to help mitigate cyber risks and protect against data, financial and reputational loss.
Differences between internal and external network penetration tests
Internal and external network penetration tests target different areas of an organization’s defense posture and are important for different reasons.
Internal network penetration tests assess the security of an organization’s internal network components such as servers, databases and applications. Their goal is to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an insider — a malicious employee, someone who accidentally causes harm, or an outsider who has gained unauthorized access.
On the other hand, external network penetration tests look for threats from outside an organization caused by cybercriminals. They assess the external-facing parts of an organization’s network, such as websites and web applications, to simulate attacks carried out by cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access. access.
It is not a question of choosing one over the other. Internal and external network penetration tests are complementary layers in a comprehensive cybersecurity approach.
How network penetration testing works
The network penetration testing process can be divided into seven stages.
- Scope determination: The organization decides which systems to test using which methods and which are not limited in collaboration with experts or penetration testers.
- Information collection: Testers collect network information, such as IP addresses and domain names.
- Identifying vulnerabilities: Testers identify networking vulnerabilities using a variety of manual and automated tools and techniques.
- Exploited vulnerabilities: Testers exploit exposed security flaws to try and gain unauthorized access to systems and sensitive data.
- Post exploitation: Testers use information gathered in previous stages to increase access to systems and sensitive data to test and demonstrate the impact of a potential attack.
- Vulnerability reporting: Testers report known vulnerabilities and recommend security fixes.
- Fix vulnerabilities: Based on the report, the organization mitigates risks and improves security posture.
Network penetration tests help organizations get a clear view of the effectiveness of their cyberdefense, helping them make informed and strategic security decisions.
Common misconceptions about network penetration testing
Now that we know what a network penetration test is and how it works, let’s dispel some common myths.
Myth 1: Network penetration attempts are a form of hacking.
While the testers’ methods may be similar to those sent by hackers, network penetration testing is a behavioral process aimed at protecting organizations. The same cannot be done with hacking because the intention is malicious.
Myth 2: You only need to run a network penetration test once.
Many factors determine an organization’s security, including the ever-evolving and evolving capabilities of threat actors or cybercriminals and changing components of an organization’s IT infrastructure.
New avenues of threat are constantly open due to changes in these factors. Therefore, you need to perform network penetration tests regularly, not just once, to keep up with changes and identify potential vulnerabilities to reduce risks and stay ahead of threats.
Myth 3: Network penetration tests are only for large corporations.
Small and medium enterprises are the main targets of hackers because these organizations often lack the means to protect themselves effectively. About 40% of small businesses lose data due to cyberattacks, and about 60% went out of business within six months of a cyberattack. Network penetration testing can help these organizations improve their defenses by identifying vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit in advance.
Myth 4: Network intrusion attempts disrupt business operations.
The fear around trying to break into a network is understandable. However, you can perform network penetration testing with minimal disruption using advanced tools and technology. In addition, you may request that the pentest be conducted outside of business hours and on weekends.
Myth 5: Manual network penetration tests are the only way to comply.
Compliance requirements vary by industry and geography. The scope, frequency and testing requirements for network penetration testing are different for different standards. There is no one size fits all, and manual network penetration testing is definitely not the only way to go.
Manual versus automated network penetration testing
Network penetration testing, whether manual or automated, offers the clear advantage of identifying and correcting vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them.
As such, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages.
Manual penetration testing is more hands-on and guided by human intuition, allowing you to explore security threats and vulnerabilities through the lens of security experts.
However, it is also prone to human errors and inconsistencies. The methods used by testers may fail to keep up with the evolution of threats. More importantly, manual network penetration testing is notoriously time-consuming and expensive.
As far as automated network penetration testing is concerned, its effectiveness depends on your choosing the right solution. However, if you can manage that, then automated network penetration testing can help you overcome the limitations of manual penetration testing.
Automated network penetration testing enables you to identify vulnerabilities that a malicious actor can exploit faster and more consistently. It is also less prone to human errors and is more scalable and cost-effective.
An advanced automated network penetration testing solution like vPenTest from Vonahi Security allows you to stay ahead of issues by running tests more frequently and enables you to monitor your organization’s risk profile. in near real time. Improve your network and cybersecurity defenses – explore the benefits of vPenTest today at www.vonahi.io!
Protect your business with automated network penetration testing
Due to the complexity of modern IT infrastructures and the innovation of new attack methods, network penetration testing should be part of your cyber defense because it allows you to proactively check for vulnerabilities and fix it to avoid cyber disasters.
While manual penetration testing can be tedious and expensive, automated network penetration testing offers an efficient, cost-effective, and reliable alternative, allowing you to test more frequently with on-demand scheduling and monitoring. your network in near real time.
In the battle for greater cybersecurity, automated penetration testing is an effective shield, helping organizations protect against downtime, reputational and financial damage and data loss incidents.
Strengthen your organization’s cybersecurity with Vonahi Security’s vPenTest – the industry-leading automated network penetration testing solution. Protect your business against cyber threats effectively, cost-effectively, and in real time. Join over 8,000 organizations that benefit from vPenTest. VISITORS Security in Vonahi to secure your network and stay ahead of emerging cyber risks.
About Vonahi Security
Vonahi Security, a Kaseya Company, is a pioneer in building the future of offensive cybersecurity consulting services through automation. vPenTest from Vonahi is a SaaS platform that fully simulates manual internal and external network penetration testing, making it easy and affordable for organizations to continuously assess cybersecurity risks in real time. vPenTest is used by managed service providers, managed security service providers, and internal IT teams. Vonahi Security is located in Atlanta, GA.