When do you need a penetration test?

Penetration testing is the predominant term that comes to mind when one thinks of fortifying their cybersecurity posture. Data security professionals worldwide endorse regular penetration tests. Time and again, we have talked about how pentesting benefits organizations with their data protection standing. We have also discussed the various types of penetration tests that address specific security concerns elaborately. Yet, many business organizations might still feel inquisitive about the timeline they must adopt for conducting a penetration test.

When should you actually consider undertaking a penetration testing project for your entity? Since penetration testing is a time and cost-intensive endeavor, it is critical to time each of your pentests appropriately. There are a multitude of aspects that affect the schedule of your penetration testing arrangement. Each organization has its unique set of parameters and requisites to manage while defining the timing of a pentest. NaviSec’s cybersecurity specialists are here to elucidate some factors that you must analyze before planning the periodicity of your penetration test. Tick tock! It’s time to begin our research.

Penetration testing as part of your yearly security health checkup

Just as our body needs an annual screening to figure out any red flags of possible health complications, penetration tests are a must to assess the state of our cybersecurity framework. Organizations should consider conducting penetration testing at least once every 12 months. Experts recommend annual penetration tests to ensure that your security approaches are updated, and maximum possible vulnerabilities are identified and rectified. These tests also assure that the workforce complies with necessary security measures and that the probability of security breaches is negligible.

Conducting penetration test as a first-timer

Has your business venture still not undertaken a penetration test even once? Newbies about to embark on a fresh penetration testing project on their premises should perform one at the earliest possible juncture. Companies, particularly small-scale entities, might overlook the need to implement a penetration testing program. However, in this era of rampant hacking attacks and data security losses, the nature and size of your business do not entirely dictate the level of security measures you need. It would be best if you braced yourself with weapons like penetration tests to prevent financial and reputational damages. Hence, do not prolong implementing your initial penetration test.

A pentest will offer in-depth insights about your present cybersecurity preparedness and highlights the points of exposure in your system and applications. The first penetration test will lay down the foundation for successive testing strategies and support the conduct of more effective penetration tests.

Penetration testing as a part of regulatory compliance

Countless regulations, authorities, standards, and certifications demand or recommend penetration testing. Notable ones like HIPAA, PCI DSS, GLBA, and SOC 2 ask all forms of organizations falling under their purview to adopt penetration testing from time to time. Many such companies plan to hold their penetration tests in line with the frequency laid down by regulatory frameworks. For instance, some laws call penetration tests an annual phenomenon, while others suggest conducting them on a half-yearly basis. Hence, contingent on the compliances your organization plans to fulfill, one can delineate their penetration testing program for the future.

Penetration test after introducing new hardware or software

On this technology-dominated planet, we witness a new application system or hardware equipment coming into the picture every other day. Business concerns have started acquiring various hardware and software routinely. You might want to contemplate a penetration test if you have brought a major transformation to your existing hardware or application range. The introduction of an upgraded piece of hardware tool or app may render past information security tactics less effective. Furthermore, you might need to reconfigure your current infrastructure to match the needs of your revamped techno stack. That’s why many organizations carry out a pentest after acquiring a new software system or hardware tool. You must also consult a security professional about the need to conduct a penetration test ahead of such a new purchase.

Penetration testing prior to a new product launch

Launching a new product is a crucial milestone for any business venture. One would not want to jinx any part of its entire product launch phase as it might cause substantial economic and reputational losses. Competitors and illicit adversaries are more likely to target your data system during such times. A penetration test can prove helpful in stopping such occurrences. Therefore, cybersecurity experts advise undergoing a penetration test before your product launches. It can help spot critical vulnerabilities and take immediate corrective action to avoid catastrophic situations during the product launch stage.

Penetration test before or after a security audit

Security audits are part and parcel of sustaining a proper cybersecurity infrastructure and compliance. All of us prefer to remain in the good books of our auditors. A large chunk of business entities, in the wake of an impending security audit, prefer to conduct a penetration test to ensure all constituents of their data protection program are in place. Penetration tests act as a trial run before the actual audit to work on any missing pieces in advance. On the flip side, post-audit identifications may also call for penetration testing to get into the root of the possible security problems and take proactive remediation measures. Thus, business entities might have to define the timing of their penetration test in line with the demands of their security audit.

Penetration test subsequent to a cybersecurity breach

A security incident is one of the last things we want to happen in our company. Have you recently witnessed one or more security infiltration attempts? It might be time for some prompt action in the form of a comprehensive penetration test. A penetration test conducted by an experienced team can help mimic the vulnerability leveraged by the actual adversary and upgrade your defense strategy accordingly. You can better shield your organization against such further incidents by utilizing the discoveries of the pentest.

Penetration tests post a significant workplace change.

There are events or initiatives that you undertake, like opening up a new branch office or a change in the operational style due to the COVID-19-induced work-from-home approach. Such situations can become a source of cybersecurity mishaps as attackers always look for such opportunities. Transformations in your business entity, both virtual and physical, can call for a penetration test. The pentest will help you to fine-tune your security policy and accommodate the revised scenario on your premises.

Penetration tests as per industry requirements

Certain types of ventures involved in business niches are more prone to cybersecurity intrusions and resultant losses than others. Take the case of financial institutions. They have access to sensitive personal records of thousands of clients. They cannot afford to let their guards down even for a second. A bank can face severe repercussions if any hacker accesses even a single client’s data.

Another example is patient health records held by hospitals and insurance companies. Hence, organizations hailing from certain forms of industries might have to adopt measures like penetration testing more recurrently than others. You must assess the industry needs and security environment to decide when you need a penetration test during a given interval.

Plan for your penetration tests on time, every time!

Conducting penetration tests is a serious decision that requires intense brainstorming. The frequency of your penetration testing program is subjective, and your management team should consult security professionals to decide the appropriate course for your entity. An evaluation of all the above facets will help you schedule your penetration tests in a timely manner.

Get cogent support for conducting timely and effective penetration tests with NaviSec!

NaviSec is among the creditable penetration testing service providers in the United States known to have served numerous types of organizations for their cybersecurity affairs. We have an incredible team of cybersecurity experts who will guide you in making precise decisions regarding your penetration test. Our team will evaluate your particular case thoroughly to determine when to conduct a pentest and what type of testing approaches you should use. Reach out to NaviSec security professionals now!

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