How to Find Security Issues Before Criminals Do

Cybersecurity is a high-stakes game, pitting your organization’s security against a large population of cybercriminals and hackers. That makes it critical you find security issues and address them before problems start to happen.

While you’re busy growing your business, criminals look for new ways to evade your security and enter your computing environment.

And, unfortunately, the game is stacked against you. That’s because all it takes is a single successful attack to cause extensive damage and thwart your security team’s best efforts.

Once inside the infrastructure, cybercriminals may look to cause havoc by deleting data, or achieve financial gain by planting ransomware or stealing valuable information.

In either case, the best defense against cybercrime is keeping unauthorized entities out of your environment.

Security professionals must understand where vulnerabilities exist, in order to address them before criminals discover them first.

So, how do find security issues within your systems?

Penetration testing remains one of the most effective methods of finding security issues, before they lead to lost or damaged systems.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, or pen testing, is a proactive cybersecurity technique used to identify and test potential vulnerabilities in a computing environment.

It’s often performed either by in-house teams (if you have a large IT department), or third-party ethical hackers. These individuals attempt to evade security and gain entry into an infrastructure using the same methods as cybercriminals.

Although they do their best to break into a system, they don’t actually cause any damage. Rather, they document where your security weaknesses exist, so you can properly address them.

In many cases, several small vulnerabilities can be used together to gain access to business-critical systems. Penetration testing seeks to find security issues both large and small, so you can correct them before an attack occurs.

To go about this, effective penetration testing involves several coordinated steps.

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Related: Learn why Red Team vs. Blue Team exercises are so important in business (click image to learn more)

Inspection and planning

The first step is to gather information about the system or systems to be tested.

This information provides testers with a view of the attack surface and allows them to begin planning the test in detail.

Scanning the target to find security issues

Next, the pen test team deploys targeted scanning tools, to take a closer look at the system.

The goal is to find as many vulnerabilities as possible and prioritize the ones most likely to be exploited.

Attempting to gain access

Testers next use standard cyberattack techniques, like SQL injections, and attempt to gain access to the target system.

If access is achieved, testers make attempts to exploit further security weaknesses.

Once inside a system, testers try to maintain connectivity and exploit vulnerabilities for as long as possible. In a real attack, this is how cybercriminals would extract the maximum value or cause the most damage.

Analysis & remediation

After pen testers finish their work and find security issues that exist, you’ll receive a detailed report for your analysis. Typically, this includes the exploited vulnerabilities, the type of data most at risk, the length of time testers remained connected to the target, and more.

Finally, upon completion of the test, remediation of identified vulnerabilities can begin.

This may involve updating access controls, or introducing new security software into the environment.

Testers should also remove any tools used for the test, since they may offer cybercriminals clues on exploitable vulnerabilities.

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Related: Here's why your business needs effective endpoint security (click image to learn more)

The Benefits of Automated Pen Testing

Proper penetration testing requires significant skills, knowledge, and experience.

As such, most companies lack the necessary skills or in-house resources to perform effective pen testing.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution, commonly employed by businesses everywhere: hiring a third-party specialist.

Blue Bastion, along with the support of our IT division, Ideal Integrations, can help.

We offer the automated penetration testing solutions you need, to help you keep ahead of cybercriminals. Our team of cybersecurity experts can test your systems and allow you to concentrate on running your business.

Tests can be scheduled as frequently as you need, to keep up with the latest trends in hacking techniques.

Simply contact us today, at 412-349-6680, or fill out the form below, and sign up for automated pen testing to strengthen your cybersecurity. When you can find security issues on your own terms, you can plug any leaks before they become problems.

And, as always, stay vigilant.

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