The eyes of a malicious hacker and an ethical hacker are looking for the same thing— security vulnerabilities to exploit in an IT infrastructure. The difference is, an authorized ethical hacker (pen-tester) hacks in a controlled environment and tells you how safe your infrastructure is before a black-hat hacker can get to it.
Every company, including yours, has a cyberinfrastructure even if it doesn’t have a designated IT team. If you are connected to the internet, sharing files, storing customer data, handling transactions, you have assets that shouldn’t end up in the wrong hands.
With cybercrimes growing at an alarming rate, businesses of all sizes are taking cybersecurity seriously. It’s no longer enough to blindly believe that the sensitive data housed within your IT systems is secure. A penetration test rigorously analyses systems and networks to identify issues and propose effective security measures to fix these vulnerabilities. The best pen testers can replicate all types of cyber attacks that a malicious hacker would make. If you’re based in the UK, visit this page to learn about the benefits you can reap from getting a penetration test done.
5 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pen Testing Vendor
Penetration testing is an investment that locks in the security of your organisation’s sensitive assets. Among other things, it can help you discover undetected breaches and compromised networks. It can be an expensive endeavour, which makes it even more important that you pick the right pen testing provider.
Do they seem trustworthy?
At the end of the day, you will be giving your chosen pen-test provider access to your company’s sensitive information and core operations. You don’t want them to take advantage of this intelligence and of the found vulnerabilities. To avoid this, partner with a company who has been in the business for several years and has raked in a strong reputation by working with many clients. Their track record should be verifiable through customer reports, testimonials and reviews.
Generalists or specialists?
Does the company you are looking into specialize in pen testing or is it offered as a value-added service? Big cybersecurity firms might not always be a good idea because often the consultants are generalists. Specialists are the ones that hold the deep expertise to handle more specialized attack surfaces. The team should also be able to show you their industry-recognized ethical hacking certifications like ones by Tigerscheme and Crest.
Ask for their methodology
Knowing their methodology will basically show you that they have a defined plan of attack and know what they are doing. Ask them what tools will be used and what the procedure looks like. You don’t want a pen tester who is obsessed with a “check-list” style approach where they stick to certain tests. You want them to be flexible enough take a different route if need be. Also, they should not be solely reliant on automated scanners but should also be adept at manual analysis. If a pen-testing team cannot give you a clear methodology, then it’s a good idea to take your business elsewhere.
How responsive are they?
Good communication is essential in all stages of the penetration test. There will be a pre-engagement phase where the team will try to discern your goals, and design the scope of the test. Any miscommunication here can result in issues down the line. If talking to your pen-tester seems like a chore before even giving them your contract, then its possibly only going to get worse once the work starts. Remember, you are essentially giving them permission to attack your system, so they should be able to communicate with you throughout the process, especially during problems.
Get your hands on a sample report
This is what you will receive at the end of a pen-test. A good sample report should include technical review, a list of found vulnerabilities, recommendations to rectify these exploits, customized tips to secure your assets and more. Also, the report should be easy to understand and not full of technical jargon.
Your pen-test results are only as good as the pen-test vendor you choose. The tips above will help you better evaluate their strengths and expertise, and help you eliminate fly-by-night, shoddy providers, who are only in it for the money.