In today’s digitalized world, no one can deny that it’s crucial to have strong cybersecurity measures in place. As cyber threats continue to alter, the value of such deeds as penetration testing and vulnerability scanning grows by a factor of ten. In this article, we’ll together find out why are these checkups important find which one to choose from the penetration testing vs vulnerability scanning combo, and which one is the best fit for your company!
Penetration testing, also called "pentest" or ethical hacking, is a common way for companies to check how secure their IT systems are by simulating attacks. Widely used in fintech and IT industries, this technique ensures the smooth development of products. Simulated attacks assist in identifying any possible security flaws, which can later be addressed and fixed.
Pentest has some definite stages or types that help to define different levels of attack and how the system will defend itself.
Black Box Testing
First comes black box testing that mimics the hacker attacks given minimal or no context about the target.
Gray Box Testing
When conducting a gray box test, testers are only given limited data about the target setting, and the attack that they are trying to mimic doesn't know much about how the system works.
White Box Testing
In the end, there is white box testing, in which the testers are given complete access to and data of the system being tested.
Now let's unravel the secrets of testing! Armed with knowledge about the diverse test types, it's time to journey through the phases of each test, discovering the magical outcomes they bestow along the way.
The first phase is the pre-engagement which defines the scope, goals, and constraints of the test. At the end of this stage, we are given all the necessary approvals.
Second, comes intelligence gathering that grants us access to target data such as IP addresses, domain names, and employee details.
Once we have access to the data we need, we may begin detecting any gaps or weak spots.
The next and most crucial step would be to attempt to exploit the system using the cybersecurity gaps we've found.
Later, during the post-exploitation phase, we evaluate the scope of the access we gained and its potential consequences for the company.
And last, we describe our results, potential dangers, and suggested corrective actions in a thorough report.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, 'Do I need this check?' Our response would be an enthusiastic, 'Absolutely, you do!' Why? Let’s discover together!
First off, you’ll understand your company’s cybersecurity flaws
By running a pentest, you will have a thorough understanding of the particular flaws that could be exploited by hackers, allowing you to take preventative steps.
You’ll improve your security posture
As mentioned already pentest improves a company's overall security by identifying and fixing possible issues that could leave it vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Your company will comply with regulations and standards
Finally, by investing in robust cybersecurity measures, you can rest assured that your company is complying with all applicable rules and laws, earning the trust of its customers as they know you care about their private data.
We bet you have at least once searched for the difference between vulnerability scanning and penetration testing. Yet, your search results may only give you an idea of what’s their purpose.
While pen testing actively evaluates the security of a network, system, or application, vulnerability scanning (vuln scan) uses a passive approach. When we use a vuln scan, the entire procedure is automated and focused on systematically exploring the target for known security flaws. Pentests evaluate and scan, whereas vulnerability scanning searches for potential issues.
Vulnerability scanning comes with two main types each of which affects the final result and process! Which one to choose relies only on what you are going to scan and detect!
The active type of scan involves sending requests to the target system to gather information and discover vulnerabilities actively. This ensures locating any possible gaps and all the necessary data connected.
In contrast, passive scanning entails observing network traffic to search for security flaws without actually interacting with the target system.
When integrating vulnerability scanning into your system, make sure to stick to the basics to ensure a smooth operation and useful results.
First off, configure the scanning tools, define the scope, and obtain necessary access. You have to obtain ownership from asset owners to avoid any disruption in the process. Moreover, during this phase, you are to define when and in what depth the scan should run.
Next comes the discovery phase, during which you are going to identify the assets that need to be scanned. In this case, you can make use of vulnerability scanners to determine open ports and services. The discovery phase is generally the most time-consuming one.
After you have discovered any flaws, your next step should be mapping them. This process includes creating a map where you add all the found vulnerabilities and possible remediation. This map can also come in handy for tracking the remediation process later.
During the analysis stage, we check every single asset for any security flaws we may have ignored. Later, we classify all the vulnerabilities based on severity and potential impact. The analysis phase also aids in identifying any matched flaws and fixing them.
Finally, at the reporting stage, you have to report all the detected vulnerabilities to the organization. Your final report must include a list of detected flaws, their severity, and recommendations on how to fix that flaws.
The benefits of vulnerability scanning are manifold, and here's why you should consider it:
Scanning vulnerabilities: Vuln scan identifies known vulnerabilities, many of which have patches or workarounds.
Reducing the risk of exploitation: Organizations can considerably lower their chance of falling victim to cyberattacks if they take swift action to address the vulnerabilities that have been identified.
Enhancing trustworthiness: Maintaining compliance with sector norms and standards through routine vulnerability scanning demonstrates your company's dedication to data security and compliance, which can increase customer trust in your services.
As mentioned below, these two types of testing vary greatly. But to keep it short and organized, here’s a quick rundown on how they specifically differ and what to expect from each of them:
|Penetration Testing||Vulnerability Scanning|
|Coverage||Provides a comprehensive review of security by attempting exploitation.||Focuses on known flaws without actively attempting exploitation.|
|Accuracy||Relies on manual testing and analysis by qualified people, resulting in a better level of accuracy.||Relies on automated equipment and technologies, which may yield false positives or miss specific errors and flaws.|
|Cost||A bit more expensive than a vuln scan as it is done manually.||Less expensive as done automatically.|
|Remediation||Tries to exploit flaws and evaluate the real impact and possible threats.||Focuses solely on finding vulnerabilities for future inspection.|
|Reporting||Reports generally include in-depth information about the methodologies used, the attack vectors, and the potential impact.||Reports provide a list of vulnerabilities and the risks connected with them.|
Prepare a checklist and let’s together define what method will fit your company goals! Let’s define key factors you need to pay the utmost attention to!
First off: budget! If your company cannot make extra expenses but you need to identify the flaws, it’s easy and cost-effective to go with a vuln scan.
Get specific with your goals! If you want to evaluate your company's overall security posture and find gaps, penetration testing is the way to go. Meanwhile, vulnerability scanning may be effective for a simple analysis of how good your cybersecurity is.
Are you risk-tolerant? If not, then you should factor in the additional expense of doing a penetration checkup to get a thorough assessment of your network's security.
Finally, consider and pay attention to any rules or standards in your industry that require certain testing procedures for the safety and confidence of your business.
Let's move on to the next question: "How often should you conduct a checkup?" There isn't an apparent answer. Some companies can get by with just one checkup a year, while others need them frequently. Here’s a breakdown of factors that impact the frequency of testing!
How often you should do a checkup depends a lot on the size of your business. Larger businesses with more complicated infrastructures may need to test frequently to make sure all their assets are covered.
How complex is your system? Take into account that to keep up with the ever-changing environment, you may need to conduct an evaluation more often than usual.
Level of Risk
Sure enough, attack and data flow risks increase in proportion to the need for more frequent and thorough testing.
The next factor that affects how often you should do checkups is compliance with regulations. Several cases (like banking, and fintech companies) require checkups quite frequently to ensure there is no data leak and that private data is protected.
Finally, security incidents and breaches in the past may point to the necessity for more frequent testing to prevent a recurrence.
Define the goals and scope of the testing program in detail, making sure to take into account your organization's unique needs.
Select a Qualified Testing Team
Don’t forget to engage experienced and certified professionals to conduct both penetration testing and vulnerability scanning for accurate results.
Conduct Regular Testing
Ensure you do regular testing as it ensures ongoing security effectiveness and detection of emerging threats.
Establish Testing Procedures
It’s crucial to develop standardized testing procedures to ensure consistency and comparability of results.
Put a priority on vulnerabilities as it is your key factor to making a trustworthy and secure environment.
Report Results and Recommendations
Ensure that management, IT, and anyone else who needs to know has access to thorough, detailed reports.
Implement Remediation Strategies
Improve your organization's security by addressing discovered flaws as soon as possible.
Our expert team ensures your systems are hacker-proof through cutting-edge penetration testing and vulnerability scanning. Stay one step ahead of threats and safeguard your business. Embrace proactive protection with Yellow!
To sum up, cybersecurity requires a comprehensive approach. Proactive and exact, penetration testing mimics real-world attacks. Vuln scan efficiently finds flaws in your system without breaking the bank. Strong protection against ever-changing threats can be achieved through a combo of the two approaches, together with regular testing and rapid response. Thus, follow up the methods mentioned above for a more secure digital future.
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