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Penetration testing- What it is and what it does

This is a guest post by Sachin about Penetration testing and its importance in today's world.

If you work in IT support, you’ll be well aware of the potentially nightmarish situations which can be created by antiquated security systems. Penetration testing may be exactly what you need. Penetration testing is a comprehensive form of security testing for computer networks. It involves a thorough analysis of both the network and operators, and can identify weak points in any system with ease.

Penetration testing, basics

Penetration testing is actually a physical test of system security combined with analysis. Testing consultants systematically evaluate a network, and select targets protesting. For example, old security patches, old software with known vulnerabilities, and even phone inquiries can be used to test the strengths and weaknesses of an IT system.

There are two basic types of penetration testing:

1. Internal penetration testing: Internal penetration testing finds weaknesses in internal systems. Internal access to systems is perhaps one of the most under rated of all security risks. Access to systems through an employee interface or similar internal system can provide an avenue of attack to intruders. This type of access has real potential for causing major damage and financial loss.

Some types of cyber attacks involve hackers obtaining or co-opting this type of access. The internal method of attack means that they can go around the external defences of the IT system, and in many cases they can be operating in areas of IT which have no security protocols at all, because most security is aimed at outside threats.

2. External penetration testing: External penetration testing is essentially the equivalent of a hacker attack, probing for weaknesses within the system from a remote location. This type of testing can actually include what is called "social engineering", in which inquiries are made direct to the target organization, and enquiries officers are sufficiently persuaded of the bona fides of the person making the enquiry to reveal more information. This information is then used to obtain access to business systems.

External testing is extremely effective, because the techniques used are exactly the same as those used by professional hackers and crackers. Penetration testing involves using current, state-of-the-art cyber attack techniques which are designed to penetrate known vulnerabilities in common mainstream software platforms, servers and operating systems.


Penetration testing security consultant services

Penetration testers can do more than simply test your system. They can also build a good, safe multi-layered IT security system which will be up to date and able to deal with all current threats. Best practice is to employ penetration testing consultants on a regular contract basis, so that system security is kept current.

Top business IT support external services usually either have access to expert penetration testing services or provide them themselves. In many cases, business IT support may recommend penetration testing to ensure fundamental security protocols are in place. This is one of the absolute essentials of modern business, protecting systems from attack and also providing valuable schematics to keep business security well- organized and up to date.

IT professionals concerned about the security of a client’s system may want to consider penetration testing as a definitive best practice first choice of security options. This form of testing will identify any problems and will provide solutions.

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