5 Benefits of Penetration Testing

As network technologies and application features evolve at an ever-increasing rate, so too have the associated security vulnerabilities. But have our efforts to identify these vulnerabilities kept pace? Has security penetration testing evolved since its origin in the seventies? How have we changed our security testing approach, tools and methodology to meet the challenges of the changing threat landscape? To answer those questions, we’ll need to understand penetration testing.

What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing is an authorized and proactive effort to assess the security of an IT infrastructure by carefully running tests to exploit vulnerabilities of the system, comprises in an operating system, misconfigurations, service errors, and even unsafe end-user behaviors. These evaluations help confirm the effectiveness of defensive mechanisms and adherence of end-users to security procedures.

Who needs Penetration Testing?

The goal of professional or amateur hackers is to steal information from your corporation. They may be after money or simply seek to sabotage your company. If you think about it, one single incident of system downtime can make a huge impact on your company’s reputation. Your business partners or customers may think twice about the security of their relationship with your company.

You may think a Windows® firewall and regularly updating your password is enough to ensure your security. Sadly that is not enough. Highly skilled hackers can get into your system easily and get all necessary information from you without you even knowing it.

Any company, corporation, or organization that relies on IT should have their system security tested regularly and update their security features to prevent the negative effect of system downtime and illegal hacking.

Penetration Testing – The Benefits

There are numerous benefits of employing penetration testing.

1. Detect and arrange security threats

A penetration test (pen test) estimates the ability of an organization to defend its applications, networks, users and endpoints from internal and external attempts to dodge its security controls to achieve privileged or unapproved access to protected assets. Pen test results confirm the threat posed by particular security vulnerabilities or faulty processes, allowing IT management and security experts to arrange remediation efforts. Organizations can more efficiently anticipate emergent security threats and avoid unauthorized access to crucial information and critical systems through executing regular and complete penetration testing.

2. Meet monitoring necessities and evade penalties

IT departments address the overall auditing/compliance facets of procedures such as HIPAA, SARBANES – OXLEY, and GLBA, and report testing necessities recognized in the federal NIST/FISMA and PCI-DSS commands. The complete reports produced by the penetration tests can assist organizations in evading substantial penalties for non-compliance and let them illustrate ongoing due diligence into assessors by maintaining required security controls to auditors.

3. Circumvent the rate of network downtime

Recuperating from a security flaw is expensive. Recuperation may include IT remediation efforts, retention programs, and customer protection, legal activities, reduced revenues, dropped employee output and discouraged trade associates. Penetration testing supports an organization to evade these financial setbacks by proactively detecting and addressing threats before security breaches or attacks take place.

4. Protect customer loyalty and company image

Even a single occurrence of compromised customer data can destroy a company’s brand and negatively impact its bottom line. Penetration testing helps an organization avoid data incidents that may put the company’s reputation and reliability at stake.

5. Service disturbances and Security breaches are expensive

Security faults and any associated disruptions in the performance of applications or services may cause debilitating financial harm, damage an organization’s reputation, grind down customer loyalties, generate negative press, and incur unanticipated fines and penalties. Frequent employment of penetration testing avoids these expenses by the organization.

Penetration testing helps your organization avoid IT infrastructure invasions. It is better for your business to proactively maintain its security than to face extreme losses, both to its brand equity and to its financial stability.

Penetration testing should be carried out whenever there is a change in the network infrastructure by highly experienced experts who will scrutinize internet connected systems for any weakness or disclosure of information which could be used by an attacker to compromise the confidentiality, availability or integrity of your network.

If you would like more information, contact LP3. We will be glad to help you make an informed decision on penetration testing for your IT environment.

Scott Lawler is CEO of LP3 and provides enterprise cyber security architecture advice to government and commercial clients.

Managed Security Service Provider: The Constant Sentinel

Hacking organizations are on the job 24 hours a day.

Your network security should be as well.

Whether you are talking about Anonymous, or any of the various known state actors in cyberwarfare – China, North Korea, Russia and Iran are prominent – there is no time zone off limits for a hacking, phishing or other malware attack to impact servers, networks, and even devices in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Risk Management

There is so much risk out there that many companies just can’t afford to have only in-house cybersecurity, and there becomes a need to outsource the process of protecting our own networks. This is where a managed security service provider, or MSSP, can be an important ally in the battle for security.

One of the priorities of IT professionals is to provide that security by becoming a risk-management expert in the digital space, which means not only protecting networks from hacks and malware attacks, but also to secure private personal information about employees, vendors, suppliers and most importantly, clients and customers.

And while we may think of IT professionals as superhuman, the fact is they are human. They can’t be on watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You would need IT professionals covering 168 hours every week, and that can be awfully expensive.

MSSP: A Helping Hand

In the world of IoT, there are often many devices that are connected to our networks that we may not even think about – such as copiers, refrigerators, clocks, smartphones or fleet cars. It is one thing to keep track of the laptops and desktops in our network, but it’s another thing to recognize all the other IoT devices as they often do not have the same security protocols in place as the “traditional” computers.

An managed security service provider might be an important supplement to your IT staff. An MSSP can provide full-network coverage and monitor all devices. An MSSP is similar to an ISP, where it is a third-party vendor company that monitors and protects all your network and IoT devices at all times – while your office is open or when it is closed for holidays or weekends.

You Have to Be Right …

During the “War on Terror,” the very common saying was, “The terrorists have to be right only once. We have to be right 100 percent of the time.”

Obviously, the same can be said about cyberwarfare.

Hackers will keep trying to get into your systems, and all they need is to gain access one time, through one device, in order to wreak all kinds of havoc. For those of us on defense, we have to have our guard up and be vigilant always, never missing a moment or falling asleep at the wheel for a split second. With a MSSP working in conjunction with your IT network security you have the best options available to ensure you are right 100 percent of the time, like you need to be.

If you would like more information, contact LP3. We will be glad to help you make an informed decision on MSSP for your business or organization.

Scott Lawler is CEO of LP3 and provides enterprise cyber security architecture advice to government and commercial clients.

What To Do After a Data Breach

In today’s economy, more thieves are finding creative ways to make money from stolen personal data. Data breaches often involve culprits stealing others’ information and using it to their advantage. It seems an easy task for tech-savvy criminals. Unfortunately, for government agencies and ordinary individuals, finding and prosecuting these criminals is very difficult.

That’s because expert cyber criminals don’t leave traces of their work. That leaves victims of personal identity theft with two problems: no sign of who the criminal is and a personal data that has been compromised. A financial setback due to a data breach is the most common consequence, especially when culprits successfully make their way through vital personal records, including credit card details and social security information.

Anyone can be affected by this type of information loss, which is why it is wise for people to be proactive in preventing a identity theft. You can still protect your resources, like credit cards, and personal information against data breach if you are well-informed about the steps to undertake.

Credit monitoring for data breach protection

In response to the rise in identity theft, credit card issuers now offer credit monitoring education and assistance to their clients. Credit monitoring helps people defend themselves against fraudsters who have misused stolen accounts. Credit fraud happens when criminals use your personal information to purchase goods and services, as well as open new accounts. Some data breaches also involve using your insurance and/or social security information to claim false benefits under your name.

It usually takes a while before you realize that a new fraudulent account has been opened in your name. You may also be surprised if one day, you receive a call from the card issuer about your past-due bills that are not yours. In a worst-case scenario, you might end up getting rejected when applying credit accounts, because a criminal has already opened one, turning your good credit into a nightmare.

Therefore, you need to monitor your credit for any suspicious activities, especially during a data breach outbreak. That is because criminals who successfully open an account using your name, will usually send billing statements to another address instead of yours. By monitoring your credit, you’ll know when unnecessary purchases or claims are made in your account.

Now that I’m informed, what’s next?

Say, for example, a data breach has been reported by an organization and your account has been affected, what should you do next?

-Check for e-mail notifications or letters – Affected organizations will send out letters informing their clients about a data breach. You need to read the contents carefully and look for their toll-free customer support phone number. Call them as soon as possible and ask about any credit monitoring assistance they provide and the extent to which your personal information has been affected.

-Conduct a close monitoring of your account – Fraud can occur to anyone during a data breach. Stay alert for suspicious credit activities, like changes on your billing statements and bank accounts, or other notifications for purchases and services you do not recognize.

We all enjoy convenience and speed of the Internet, but we need be aware of its shortcomings. When your computer is connected to the Internet, you need to take security into consideration. Your information and data are valuable for hacker and can be used for identity fraud, immigration fraud, committing cyber crimes, or even blackmailing people.

Many countries have passed new cyber law, but jurisdiction varies from country to country – cyber laws in one country may be not applicable in another. This makes it possible for a hacker to steal information of a victim in one country steals and use it in another to avoid conviction. So it is more important than ever before that you make your data as safe and secure as possible.