Improving Security by Introducing a Full Scope Penetration Testing Strategy

Hackers and cybercriminals constantly search for vulnerabilities in organizations. In recent years, they have stepped up attacks on networks that contain large amounts of personal data.The rising horror of cyber-attacks and data breaches; the growing awareness of the value and security of personal data; and the recent EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are causing increased investment in security. According to Gartner, worldwide spending on information security is expected to be more than US$114 billion in 2018.You can now even stress-test your security posture by simulated cyber attacks. Latest techniques, such as Full Scope Penetration Testing, are extremely effective.Full Scope Penetration TestingFull Scope Penetration Testing is goal-based comprehensive testing across your organization to expose vulnerabilities and to prepare you to respond to security breaches. It is known as ‘ethical hacking’ in the cybersecurity world, as it simulates cyber attacks. It is now used across a wide range of industries.Full Scope Penetration Testing challenges assumptions and examines problems from all angles, and converts disruptions into advantages. It analyses the vulnerabilities of your information assets, such as your intellectual property, payment details, personally identifiable information, and customer contact lists.Testing StrategyFull Scope Penetration Testing uses many analytical, imaginative and adversarial techniques just as a rival or new competitor would. You can either use a well-qualified group of your employees to conduct testing and provide an independent review, or outsource them to professional IT security agencies.All Full Scope Penetration Testing assessments include intelligence-gathering, enumeration, and attack. Full Scope Penetration Testing may also include social engineering and physical security tests, and could go on for weeks or longer.Before conducting the test, you should identify its goals by considering the following.

  • The common infrastructure—hardware and software—used throughout your organization
  • Events that may cause serious damage to reputation and revenue
  • The most valuable assets and the consequences if they are compromised
  • The level of security your organization has
  • The time, effort and money that you can invest
  • Having an in-house team or outsourcing the process to a consultancy

Realistic Full Scope assessments imitate real-world attackers, who search for weak links, remaining undetected for a long period, and strike when they find them.Full Scope Penetration Testing GoalsYour core goal is to test your organization’s defensive security measures. It should ideally succeed in collecting sensitive data or taking control of the system, overcoming your security. This would show that it has tested and found how an adversary may break into and move undetected in your organizational setup.You should set complex goals for the team. The more moves that they make inside your organization to achieve them, the more you learn from the process. The team should be able to offer alternatives to faulty security measures.Results of Full Scope Penetration TestingNo matter what the goals, results of a full scope penetration testing are never “bad”. If your team doesn’t succeed, it means that your organization’s security measures are robust. If it succeeds in getting inside your organization, stealing data or controlling your systems, you will be able to learn about security lapses, eliminate them, and strengthen your cybersecurity posture.Given enough time and resources, adversaries will breach any defense. Full Scope Penetration Testing keeps you thinking critically about where, why, and how security needs to be improved.

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