Skip to content

Penetration Test Basics: The What, Why, and How

Cybercrime is projected to cost $8 trillion by the end of 2023, and by 2025 that cost could surge to $10.5 trillion. Those are the kind of numbers that make it impossible not to account for your cybersecurity health. Inevitably, the cybersecurity market is also expanding as a response, with a current compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6% as companies worldwide are shoring up their cybersecurity measures.

Penetration testing is a cybersecurity service that can help strengthen your network security in a variety of ways to help prevent cyberattacks, such as ransomware threats or data breaches. Below, we’ll cover what a penetration test is, why you need it, and how it is typically performed to help you take the first step toward protecting your network.


What Is a Penetration Test?

A penetration test aims to determine your network’s current threat landscape and provide recommended remediation steps to resolve any vulnerabilities. However, there are many different types to be aware of in order to identify the best penetration test for your business.


Types of Penetration Testing in Cybersecurity

Application Penetration Testing

Application penetration testing focuses on weaknesses in your apps, from their conception and development to their deployment and use. 

Pentesters search for vulnerabilities in the security protocol of the apps, such as unpatched or exploited gaps in web applications with external interfaces, programs running on internal networks, applications running on end-user devices, and applications running on remote systems.


Internal Penetration Testing

An internal network penetration test starts inside your organization, past the exterior line of defense external hackers would have to face first.

In this simulation, a pentester operates as a rogue insider to mimic a disgruntled employee or someone with access to passwords or sensitive data within your organization.


External Penetration Testing

External network penetration testing examines your publicly accessible information or assets and then attempts to leverage that as an attack.

The assessment team will try to exploit vulnerabilities they discovered when reviewing publicly available information about your company or try to access data through assets accessible to the outside world.


Wireless Penetration Testing

By taking advantage of a weakness in your network, anyone near your wireless internet connection could peer into its wireless traffic. By doing a wireless pentest, you can help your WiFi, wireless devices, and protocols remain secure from outsider access.


Social Engineering Penetration Testing

The goal of social engineering is to earn an employee's trust, typically by coercing them into disclosing personal information or taking a step that exposes data to a concealed bad actor. 

Testing for social engineering determines how likely it is for your employees to reveal sensitive information and provide actionable steps to help prevent a similar breach from happening again in the future.


Why Is Cybersecurity Penetration Testing Important?

Cybersecurity penetration tests are crucial for organizations to protect sensitive data. As hackers become craftier and launch more elusive cyberattacks, getting the cybersecurity help you need is imperative for the long-term success of your company.

The benefits of penetration testing include:

  • A deep understanding of different cybersecurity threats
  • An abundance of actionable insights to improve your network security from cyberattacks
  • Help in mitigating the chance of losing millions of dollars from a data breach


Penetration Testing Steps and How They’re Performed

While different vendors will perform different methodologies, there are six primary penetration testing steps:

  1. An assessment phase: During this phase, the pentesters will gather as much information as possible about your network.
  2. A planning phase: The planning phase is where you’ll discuss rules of engagement, which is the intensity of the pentest and what parameters you want to establish with the pentesters. Some pentests are more obvious to entire organizations, while others are quieter and operate undetected.
  3. A pre-attack phase: The pentesters will then coordinate their attack and pinpoint the penetration testing methodologies they think will be the most successful.
  4. An attack phase: The pentesters launch their attack during this phase and aim to uncover as many data vulnerabilities as possible in your network and organization.
  5. A post-attack phase: During this phase, the pentesters will regroup and compile their findings into a report and discuss remediation steps.
  6. A final report of the entire engagement: The pentesters will conclude the pentesting engagement by making a copy of their findings and presenting it to you to display the vulnerabilities found and how to remediate them.


Shore Up Your Network With Penetration Testing Services

The benefits of penetrating testing are invaluable these days, especially with cyber criminals becoming more elusive with their attacks.

At Tec-Refresh, our team is here to help you strengthen your network against threats of all shapes and sizes. We offer top-of-the-line services such as penetration testing, ransomware recovery as a service (RRaaS), vulnerability assessments, social engineering testing, and more.

Ready to refresh your cybersecurity with Tec-Refresh? Learn more about our cybersecurity services today.

Free Download Tec-Reresh Brochure