What is Penetration Testing and Why is it Important?

What is Penetration Testing and Why is it Important?
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The number of new startups in the UK is now at all time high, with almost 660,000 businesses started in 2016. While this figure is fantastic for the economy, new entrepreneurs are regularly falling victim to worrying cyber security statistics.

In 2016, 18% of UK businesses were hit by a cyber-attack, but contrary to popular belief, it is not just large businesses at threat – of the 18% of businesses attacked, 31% of were small companies with 10 or fewer staff.

To safeguard your small business, you should consider investing in penetration testing.

Penetration Testing

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetrating testing (or pen testing), is a simulation of a cyber breach. Carried out by penetration testing expert, pen testing is an authorised attack on a company’s network and systems, with the aim of exposing any flaws or weaknesses.

Pen testers act as a hacker would in the real world, revealing and exploiting vulnerabilities to access company data and information. However, the aim of a pen test is to improve business security and safeguard against future attacks.

Why is Pen Testing Important?

Cyber threats cost British businesses millions every year. Since 2013, investors have lost more than £40billion through cyber-attacks, with FTSE 100 companies now losing an average of £120million per breach. However, while the majority of large businesses recover from cyber threats, the impacts for small businesses can be disastrous.

When a small business suffers a security breach, it could lead to low levels of customer trust, a reduction in revenue, fines for data loss and even closure.

Performing a pen test can detect weaknesses within a company’s network and systems, allowing business owners to resolve issues and help to prevent attackers from gaining access.

What are the Benefits of Penetration Testing?

In addition to revealing vulnerabilities, pen testing offers many benefits, including:

  • Showing the true extent of damage that could be caused by a cyber breach, without any of the real-world consequences, allowing business owners to manage risk
  • Testing a company’s defences and analysing how quickly attacks are detected and how they are prevented, providing areas on which to improve
  • Protecting company, client and customer data, inspiring higher levels of trust and confidence
  • Helping businesses to meet security guidelines and avoiding fines for data breaches

Most businesses operate online and as such, cyber-attacks are a real and growing concern. While strong passwords, encrypting data and training staff are important steps to improving business security, penetration testing can highlight vulnerabilities and provide the opportunity to make improvements.

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