At present, cyber-attack reports are as prevalent as the daily weather news. Companies today have produced software applications and specific products to ensure they have a shield against these damaging attacks.
Even so, can these applications or equipment offer complete protection against these hazards? It’s possible when a company sets a good testing checklist and utilizes foolproof methods.
Read on and learn how various testing companies and organizations operate in keeping their cybersecurity in check.
What Exactly Is Cyber Security Testing?
Before exploring the different types of tests, it’s best to understand first what cybersecurity testing is. In detail, cybersecurity testing is the procedure of testing programs, systems, applications, and networks to ensure they can resist cyber-attacks.
A company’s quality assurance team or sometimes an independent cybersecurity testing firm produces a testing checklist for an organization to fulfill and identify flaws within the system. Through this method, a development team can maximize security before implementing new software or an application.
Importance Of Cyber Security Testing
Now that you know what cyber security testing means, the next question is, why is it necessary for companies to conduct tests? Besides deterring cyber-attacks, here are some of the reasons why conducting these tests is crucial:
- Determine System Flaws: The process of routinely troubleshooting system hardware, equipment, and workstations is a challenging and indispensable task. Hackers usually utilize trojans, ransomware, and other computer viruses to wreak havoc on these systems. Hence, it’s vital that companies stay updated to address existing defects.
- Adhere to Compliance Requirements: In performing tests, organizations in a way conform with legal and industry-particular compliance requirements. It should be noted that even the slightest blunder can result in costly remediation, a tarnished reputation, and most especially grueling judicial battles.
- Detect Threats: With today’s technology, plenty of cybercriminals consistently develop devious techniques, tactics, and procedures. And when companies understand these tactics, they can readily detect the threats they’re most susceptible to.
Types Of Cyber Security Testing
Indeed, conducting cybersecurity testing is a prerequisite in safeguarding businesses. To give you an idea, listed below are several types of cybersecurity testing methods that organizations and companies perform.
1. Penetration Testing
First on the list is penetration testing or also known as ‘pen testing.’ The primary purpose of penetration testing is for testers to deliberately ‘attack’ a system to assess the strength of the company’s cybersecurity. Note that it imitates an actual attack—but in a controlled manner. This is why people also refer to this type of testing as ‘ethical hacking.’
Experts may conduct penetration testing either from the outside or inside a network. It depends on what the process is attempting to discover. For instance, testers perform pen testing to determine how hackers can access an organization’s client database or how quickly they can connect to a network using a particular computer.
Nowadays, you’ll find that some aspects of penetration testing are already automated. However, cybersecurity experts still plan, perform, and evaluate this test. This specific technique has wider coverage than vulnerability assessment and has a varying range based on what the company is trying to evaluate.
Nonetheless, both large and small organizations should consider conducting penetration testing at least once a year. Additionally, pen testing is required when companies are planning to implement significant modifications to their network, shifting their operating systems, or introducing new branch offices.
2. Vulnerability Assessment
On the other hand, vulnerability assessment tests help identify cyber concerns and threats before they become bigger problems for organizations. Testers perform this particular test in combination with other techniques to strengthen the procedure and achieve a desirable outcome. Some fundamental areas vulnerability assessment tests cover are:
- Mobile applications
- Network system
- System infrastructure
- Internet applications
- Phishing countermeasures
Also, scheduling a vulnerability assessment regularly may be beneficial for companies because of the following reasons:
- Cut down possible downtimes
- Optimize security posture
- Detect system flaws
- Reduce cyber attacks
- Adhere to compliance regulations
- Collect IT task metrics
Many people often confuse vulnerability assessment with penetration testing. However, as earlier mentioned, pen testing is a more comprehensive strategy than vulnerability assessment. In particular, vulnerability tests show the defects in a company network, while penetration tests demonstrate how hackers can attack these loopholes.
3. Access Control Management
Meanwhile, there are two parts in access control management:
- Authorization: This identifies the role of an employee and the data said employee should have access to.
- Authentication: This verifies the identification of the person trying to gain access.
In adopting access control, organizations see to it that only authorized staff can access the system. To perform this specific test, a tester should have various user accounts with multiple roles.
Next, the tester should try checking if these user accounts only have access to data and applications expressly stated on their list of duties and responsibilities. Note that staff with restricted privileges must not be able to access sensitive data.
Experts can likewise include these other tests in access control management:
- Security question and reply
- Logout functionality
- Default login
- Access control issues
- Path reversal
- Incorrect/missing authorization
4. Password Management
Lastly, another test you can perform to keep your cybersecurity in check is password management testing. This refers to strategies utilized in obtaining user accounts and detecting passwords.
For instance, if an organization’s system or online application doesn’t employ meticulous password measures (e.g., passphrases, special characters, and numbers), anyone can hastily log on to accounts and force passwords. Furthermore, it’s easier for hackers to steal and instantly use passwords not saved in an encrypted pattern.
Then again, with today’s technology, even if a password is in an alphanumeric format, once attackers detect it, they can identify the code with password-cracking applications.
At any rate, the various types of testing indicated above also discuss diverse elements of your cybersecurity. And if you’re wondering which specific test you should perform, if possible, conduct all of them. With compliance requirements continuously expanding, particular provisions may compel you to push through will all these tests.
Nonetheless, whichever test you decide to adopt, your primary objective should be to identify and address the significant defects in your system. Understand that both manual and automated testing have their own benefits and shortcomings. Hence, it’s best to determine which one will suit your company’s requirements and needs.