Security breaches can result in major financial damage to a company, but that’s not the only reason to avoid them. As the world becomes more tech-oriented, business owners may underestimate the vulnerabilities that exist within their IT infrastructures. Fortunately, regular penetration testing can help to uncover potential security threats. Keep reading to learn more about how penetration testing works and why it’s essential to your company.
Is Your IT Infrastructure Vulnerable to Hackers?
For many of us, our business operations are becoming more digitized, especially during the last year. There are, of course, many benefits to moving in this direction, such as greater efficiency and convenience, but it does raise questions about how secure we really are from cyber attacks. In order to keep your company’s systems and infrastructure safe, it’s important to be able to prevent and detect a variety of vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing mitigates these risks, and can help save you time, money, and devastating data losses. After all, downtime can result in huge financial consequences. Unfortunately, these types of cyber criminals are always trying new methods, making it all the more essential to invest in IT security and consulting services.
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing is also referred to as white-hat or ethical hacking, or sometimes shortened to “pentesting.” Instead of being used to exploit, the main purpose is to perform a cyber security assessment. The general scope of this process will vary from one situation to another, but it can include software applications, a solitary web application, computer systems, and networks. Basically, any tech with security loopholes that a hacker could take advantage of.
The harsh reality is that cybercrime is on the rise, and it’s only going to become more sophisticated as technology improves. Penetration testing is simply the best way to stay on top of these criminal trends and put a stop to them before they do damage to your company.
With that in mind, let’s review some reasons IT security is a top priority in this day and age.
1- Brand Image and Reputation
A company’s reputation can really take a hit if it experiences a data breach. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see these occurrences announced in the news, primarily when major companies are targeted. This unfavorable PR can sway the public’s opinion of even the most popular brand. For example, a bank that is the focus of a cyber crime will look like a less secure option than other financial institutions, and some customers are likely to close their accounts and take their money elsewhere. A decline in customer confidence always leads to a corresponding drop in profit margins.
2- Risk Analysis
Penetration testing will provide you with a clear picture of your company’s top security risks, as well as what needs to be done in order to patch them up. This information is invaluable to the well-being of your IT infrastructure.
Also, consider what it would actually cost your business if it were compromised. Could your company’s operations continue to function? Regular security assessments, along with skilled IT consulting, can identify the key vulnerabilities that could take your business offline. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
3- Compliance Issues
Additionally, stricter data privacy laws have been gaining support and attention, particularly in European countries. Suffice to say, laws have not kept up with advances in technology and steps are being taken to implement new regulations that protect user data.
With data privacy in the spotlight and encrypted messaging apps, like Signal, becoming more popular among the general public, IT consulting is essential for managing compliance issues. While penetration testing is not specific to this topic, it is related in that it’s vital to ensuring data privacy for your customers.
4- Reduce Network Downtime
Depending on the company, network downtime can cost a business owner thousands of dollars in profit loss or fees, such as regulatory fines. In fact, the average global cost for a data breach is on the rise, ranking at $3.86 million in 2018. In some cases, it can even take weeks to recover from a major security breach. This is a nightmare scenario for managers.
In general, penetration testing should be performed once or twice a year in order to implement more robust security measures and prevent downtime. An IT consultant can develop more efficient security measures for a company, then help put them into action.
5- Remote Employee Risks
If your company has employees that work from home, there are additional security threats to consider. A remote workforce needs to be properly trained and managed because it expands your network perimeter. Of course, in order to do their jobs, remote employees need access to websites, servers, and sensitive data—all from home while using their own routers and wifi connections. This presents new challenges for business owners, but an IT consultant can walk you through the steps of setting up a VPN (virtual private network) for your remote employees. Internal penetration testing can review how secure a VPN is, as well as the ultimate consequences of such a cyber breach. Unfortunately, with more people now working from home, cyber criminals are looking for new ways to take advantage of this increase in security challenges.
IT Consulting Services
It’s important to conduct penetration tests on a regular basis in order to keep a security system up to date. It’s simply the most comprehensive way to make sure that your IT infrastructure is secure from malicious attacks. Another key point is that it can help decision makers determine how best to move forward with security investments. And finally, While penetration testing is a vital process for greater cybersecurity, it’s not the only tool a company can rely on. For the best results, IT support is invaluable.