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How to Know When You Need a PenTest

Apr 30, 2024

Although cybercrime is becoming both more common and more serious, the good news is that today’s organizations have more cutting-edge cybersecurity tools than ever before.

How To Know When You Need A Pentest 1

One of the most valuable methods available to security teams today is penetration testing, or PenTesting. Most organizations recognize the value of PenTesting, but many aren’t sure when they need it.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the key telltale signs that it’s time to invest in a PenTest.

What Is a PenTest?

In a PenTest, a team of security experts conducts a simulated attack on your IT systems.

Using the same tools and techniques as a potential attacker, the security team will attempt to discover any weaknesses and exploit them. It’s a real-world crash test of your security and can yield some extremely useful insights, showing you where you need to make changes.

Why Is PenTesting Useful?

If you already have some idea of your organization’s weak points, PenTesting allows you to test those areas for concern much more rigorously.

By posing as a real attacker, PenTesting teams can gain a reliable idea of how your organization would fare in the event of an actual attack. This helps you identify areas that need improvement, gain a fuller understanding of your overall security posture, and build a more well-rounded and self-aware company.

Another reason to conduct PenTesting is compliance. Today’s businesses are expected to comply with a wide range of security and data privacy regulations and standards like PCI, HIPAA, and ISO 27001.

Rigorous PenTesting helps ensure your organization is as secure as possible and in compliance with all the necessary rules.

How Often Do You Need a PenTest?

The question of how regularly your organization needs a PenTest depends on a few factors. Typically, businesses carry out PenTests once or twice a year. However, this will vary based on factors like the size of your organization, your level of risk, your industry, and more.

One important consideration is your cyber insurance provider. A lot of policies will require penetration tests (along with other activities) to be carried out on an ongoing basis, at specific intervals. Find out if this applies to you, and how often you’ll be required to conduct PenTests.

If you’re wondering if you’re ready for cyber insurance, you can request a free cyber insurance risk assessment to learn more and figure out if you qualify.

How to Know When You Need a PenTest

So when is it time to undergo a PenTest? There is no single answer to this question, but there are some guidelines that can help you make a decision.

After a Vulnerability Assessment

A vulnerability assessment involves reviewing all the potential weaknesses in your security posture, ranking them by severity, and suggesting further action.

How To Know When You Need A Pentest

If you’ve recently completed a vulnerability assessment, it’s the perfect time to run a PenTest. You already know where your weaknesses lie — now it’s time to pose as an attacker and see if your organization is at real risk from cyber threats.

New Compliance Mandates

New regulations and industry standards emerge all the time, and you need to be aware of and in compliance with all the relevant ones, all the time.

When a new regulation is announced that is likely to impact your business, it’s a good time to run a PenTest to be absolutely sure that you meet the requirements. This is a good idea because new requirements tend to reflect real threats, and also because the penalties for non-compliance can be extremely harsh.

Major Organizational Changes

If your company is going through a major shift — like a digital transformation or a move to remote work — you’ll want to ensure that your security infrastructure is prepared.

A PenTest can be an excellent way to pressure test your new setup, identifying any areas that need further security work.

A Recent Attack

There’s nothing like a cybersecurity incident to remind you of the importance of cybersecurity.

Falling victim to an attack is never a fun experience, but it’s always a reminder to start taking your security much more seriously. In the wake of a breach, a PenTest helps quickly identify any remaining areas of vulnerability by assessing how your company would cope in another attack. This way you can make the necessary changes to avoid any further incidents and gain peace of mind.

Security Audit

If you have a security audit on the horizon, you’ll want to make sure your cybersecurity is in the best shape possible.

A PenTest is a great way to do this and allows you to make any important changes to your security infrastructure to sail through your upcoming audit.

New Software or IT Infrastructure Updates

Any significant changes to your IT systems, like implementing a new software solution, can introduce new vulnerabilities and increase the likelihood of an attack.

Carrying out a PenTest following your IT changes can help you reassess your security and identify any new risks. This will help you take the appropriate steps to make sure your organization remains secure.

Regularly (Once a Year at Least)

While all of the above are excellent times to consider a PenTest, it’s also a good idea to schedule regular tests, even when there is no obvious reason to do so.

Carrying out a PenTest once a year helps you stay on top of your security. Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field, and new threats emerge all the time. Frequent tests help ensure your security environment is constantly prepared.

Work with DYOPATH

At DYOPATH, we can conduct a thorough, custom PenTesting assessment to help you better understand your security and build a stronger and more resilient organization. Using a standard approach and cutting-edge tools, we’ll help you find and fix critical vulnerabilities before cybercriminals exploit them.

Schedule a call with us to learn more and get started.