Pentesting: The Important Things You Need to Know

From Cyberlaw: Difficult Issues Winter 2010
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Pentesting determines the security of an information system. It's a great way to find out what your company needs to do in order to keep confidential data safe from prying eyes, and it can be done by anyone who has the knowledge- including you! This blog post will answer some frequently asked questions about penetration testing so you can make sure your business is doing everything it needs to be secure.

What is pentesting?

A penetration test assesses the security of an information system. This involves scanning for vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure and web applications, finding out if any vulnerable sensitive data, and determining where to access it. The pentesting team performs this type of vulnerability assessment by simulating real-world attacks against your company's systems. It can be done by both manual and automated penetration testing processes.

Should Your Company Conduct Pentesting?

The benefits of pentesting can outweigh the costs when conducted by experts. The following people should consider pentesting:

Those who have a high interest in pentesting, such as those with security clearance or background Businesses looking to become PCI-DSS compliant and need penetration testers as part of their compliance program Any company that values the protection of customer information should consider pentesting. The costs are minimal in comparison to the benefits pentesting provides.

Who Conducts Penetration Tests

Anyone looking to hire penetration testers should make sure their team members have the following skills:

Knowledge of penetration testing tools and techniques

Ability to conduct a penetration test from beginning through the end, including a detailed report on findings Understanding of common vulnerabilities that exist in operating systems, networks, applications, and databases is necessary for pentesting

Who Should Conduct Penetration tests?

Anyone with the knowledge and expertise can perform penetration tests- including you! This is a great way to find out what your company needs in order to keep data safe from prying eyes, but it's recommended that only people aware of potential issues attempt pentesting. Penetration testers have been known to attempt attacks against a company's systems in order to find out where the weak points are and how they can be fixed.

Phases of pentesting

Pentesting is divided into several phases, including the planning phase. This section provides an overview of penetration testing and its various phases.

Penetration testers use specialized tools in order to assess your company's security measures against real-world attacks. These include social engineering tactics, denial of service attacks, penetration through network protocols, and more.

Source: Guru99

The penetration test should be tailored to the needs of your company and its systems so that it can provide accurate results. Penetration tests are divided into several phases, including:

Planning phase - in which the team will define what they are going to do during the pentesting process

Discovery phase - collects information about your company's systems, devices connected to it, users of these systems/devices, etc

Attack phase - penetration testers will attempt to gain access and security breaches

Reporting phase - penetration testers prepare a report of their findings which includes vulnerabilities, potential threats, or attacks that could be exploited by hackers. This is where you learn the true state of your company's network and systems; this is why pentesting can provide more insight than pentesting alone.

Benefits of pentesting

Pentesting is one way to determine if your company’s security measures are up to snuff. Here are some benefits pentesting provides:

Identifies vulnerabilities in networks and systems so they may be fixed or addressed Identifies vulnerabilities in policies and procedures. A penetration test can be used to determine the compliance of security standards set by a governing body such as PCI DSS or HIPAA. Pen tests help individuals gain knowledge about how hackers view your company’s systems, increasing awareness across all employees. This helps keep everyone on their toes. Exploits weaknesses by simulating real-world penetration tests, software flaws, and cyberattacks to determine if they are exploitable to gain unauthorized access or information

How much will pentesting cost?

Most companies include pentesting under their existing security maintenance contracts. Otherwise, they might have an internal team of experts who are familiar with the business information system, perform the test with no additional costs. The cost of penetration testing depends on the size and complexity of your company's information system. For example, companies with a large network infrastructure may have to pay for pentesting while smaller companies will not need to do so.


Pentesting is a necessary part of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy. It can be time-consuming and costly, but it also offers many benefits if done correctly. To help you determine whether penetration tests are right for your business, we’ll provide an overview of the process as well as some guidelines to follow when deciding who should conduct them or how often they need to happen. We hope this helps! So don't forget to conduct regular penetration tests.