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What does an effective penetration test consist of?
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What does an effective penetration test consist of?

Dean Moulden

Written by Dean Moulden

8th April 2020

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what does an effective penetration test look like

It’s one of the most reliable techniques for improving data protection, but what does an effective penetration test consist of?

There’s no doubt that we’re living in uncertain times, but one thing businesses should be confident of is their data security. Penetration testing is a way to gain that confidence – allowing organisations to gain a clear picture of how their infrastructure stands up to the kinds of probing and prodding that a malicious hacker would attempt.

But what exactly is penetration testing and what does an effective penetration test consist of?  Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we get here at SRM.

The process

A penetration test is designed to simulate the actions of both external and internal cyberattacks, in order to help identify weak spots and bolster your defences.

During an effective pen test, there will be many tools and techniques at play. Vulnerability scanning involves finding potential weaknesses within your organisation’s systems. By finding them now, you can take proactive steps to improve them, rather than reacting to a successful attack . . . by which time it is usually too late.

Finding weaknesses within an organisation also involves understanding how attackers might try to manipulate employees within the business. Often, the human is the weakest element to security. Team members can be easily coaxed and coerced into divulging information through phishing and other common techniques. This is referred to as social engineering and is a surprisingly common tactic for cyber criminals. At SRM we are often asked to conduct social engineering tests alongside standard penetration tests.

With this intelligence in place, penetration testers can then exploit the weaknesses they’ve found. By attacking the infrastructure under controlled conditions and in a non-threatening environment, testers can reveal gaps in business defences before a real attack takes place.

Once the process is complete, the team compile a risk report outlining the state of the business’s defences in clear terms. From here, IT team members and developers can work to resolve the risks and significantly reduce the chances of a successful cyberattack taking place.

The personnel

Penetration testing is a collaborative effort between external testers and internal members of the business. That’s why the best pen testing services are those that offer a bespoke experience, tailored specifically to the needs of your organisation.

At SRM, our highly qualified ethical security testers are well-versed in using their skills and experience to exploit critical systems and gain access to sensitive information, highlighting the vulnerabilities within your organisation.

The best testers will bring things down to a human level, making their findings easy to understand and therefore easy to act on. Identifying potential threats without the jargon is key to mitigating risk in the future and implementing improvements.

The expertise

Expertise is key when it comes to effective pen testing. Two of the most reputable accrediting bodies to look out for are CREST-certified penetration testers and CHECK-certified penetration testers. Here at SRM, all of our penetration testers are CREST certified.

By finding testers with the right qualifications and skills, you can get the most out of your penetration test. This ultimately translates to:

  • Preventing data breaches
  • Checking security controls
  • Meeting compliance requirements
  • Monitoring application security
  • Establishing a security baseline
  • Assessing effectiveness of incident detection and response

No business is 100% immune to a cyberattack, but penetration testing can help you identify your vulnerabilities before an incident takes place, putting you in a much stronger position.

Get in touch with our team today to see how we can help you. Give us a call on 03450 21 21 51 or click here to fill in a contact form.





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