You probably think that your business has some kind of automatically secure IT infrastructure that keeps you safe from hackers. If you believe that, then you’re in the majority. In fact, only 2% of SMB owners view cyberattacks as a critical issue.

Here’s the bad news. Even if you ignore them, you still need to take a proactive stance that protects your IT infrastructure from attacks.

Penetration testing is one of the most effective ways to probe your network for weaknesses. If you’re unfamiliar with penetration testing, now is a good time to learn about it and how to perform your own test.

The Goal of Penetration Testing

Hackers have developed sophisticated methods of attacking weaknesses in computer systems and applications. When they find these weaknesses, they can use malicious programs and codes that let them steal information, confuse networks, and shut down websites.

Penetration testing gives you the opportunity to attack your own system without harming it. By probing the system, you can find weaknesses before hackers do. This gives you the chance to correct weaknesses and install additional security measures that prevent hackers from attacking your network successfully.

Related: How to Fix the 4 Most Common Technology Bottlenecks

Approaches to Penetration Testing

A comprehensive penetration strategy needs to take several approaches to ensure security. Some common approaches to penetration testing include:

  • External testing that targets your domain name, firewalls, servers, and other technologies to determine if someone could break into your system from outside of the business.
  • Internal testing that occurs behind the firewall to determine how far someone can get after penetrating your primary security.
  • Blind testing that gives your IT team limited information so you can see how they would respond to a real attack.
  • Double-blind testing that your IT team perceives as a real attack.

Performing a Penetration Test

Ideally, you should hire professionals with plenty of experience in penetration testing. Without a group of professionals, it’s unlikely that you will know how to test all aspects of your system.

If you want to perform your own penetration test, though, you can use some tools that will help you. Some of the most popular penetration testing tools include:

Many of these tools, including SQLmap and OWASP Zed Attack Proxy, are free to download and use. The organizations that create these security testing tools appreciate donations, but they don’t force you to pay.

The Problem with Non-professional Penetration Testing

Unfortunately, these tools will only make sense to people with extensive experience in computer engineering. If you have someone on your staff who has a degree in computer science, then you may find that you can execute the tools independently.

If you have any questions about how to use the tools, though, you need to contact a professional to conduct penetration testing for you.

Hiring a professional will cost money, but it’s far cheaper than handing over critical files and folders to a hacker. Plus, keeping your network and applications secure will improve how customers perceive your brand.

Protect Your IT Infrastructure with PCS

Penetration testing is really effective in finding every security vulnerability that you have. There is a downside to it, though:

It’s really, really expensive.

Penetration testing is a service typically reserved for enterprise-level organizations. SMBs can benefit more from regular, proactive IT security services that keep their organizations protected.

Luckily, that’s exactly what we do at PCS International. If you want to learn more about what your organization should be doing for security, contact us. We’re always happy to help.