Penetration Test or Vulnerability Scan? Which is better?
What would happen to your business if your network were hacked today?
Are you certain your competitors cannot infiltrate your network and steal your client information?
Are you confident you are meeting current compliance standards for your industry?
Cybersecurity is a growing concern for businesses today. As the security threat landscape continues to change, organizations are faced with escalating threats from local and foreign attackers.
“A single cyberattack can lead to the loss of critical data as well as open up an organization to permanent brand damage, loss of clientele and long term financial losses.” Daniel Stockman, President and COO of i-Tech Support
Despite the growing threat, preventing a cyberattack is an even bigger challenge for organizations today. Networks are complex and many are not being well-maintained. Each time a change is made to a network, such as a hardware or software update, a new vulnerability may be created. At the same time, domestic and international hackers are constantly probing systems to find vulnerabilities they can exploit with viruses, malware and ransomware.
“Simply having a firewall is no longer all it takes to prevent a breach. Today, networks need to implement a defense in depth strategy to network security, which includes multiple layers of security and security assessments twice per year, and in addition to each major network change” – Avery Rozar, Cybersecurity Practice Leader, i-Tech Support
Security assessments help determine how easy it is for your network to be breached. During a security assessment, a cybersecurity professional tests the network at multiple levels, to determine where the points of weakness lie. These points of weakness are the same ones hackers and intruders target. Having this knowledge cane be instrumental in preventing an attack and improving the integrity of a network.
Cybersecurity assessments available today include Penetration Testing, an element of a Security Audit, and Vulnerability Scanning. These tests are often mistaken as the same thing, which they are not.
A vulnerability scan is a simple electronic scan, which indicates possible areas of vulnerability within a network.
A penetration test is a highly detailed assessment, and includes physical and electronic testing to identify specific points of vulnerability within a network which can be infiltrated by an intruder.
Vulnerability Scans take a few hours to perform and yields perfunctory data on areas where the networks may be vulnerable. The scan also checks controls and can indicate when or if equipment has been compromised. They cost approximately $1,200 for each scan. Both Vulnerability Scans report areas where potential attacks can occur on the system. Because of their low cost, these tests are highly popular, and are often sold under the pretense of being more complex. However, they do not offer the real insight of a true penetration test.
Penetration testing, or “legal hacking” is an in-depth assessment which involves a cybersecurity expert simulating an intrusion and testing the network for weakness. It goes beyond simply scanning the network, to trying anything a hacker would do to obtain sensitive information, as in a true cyberattack.
The end goal of a penetration test is to gain access to the network and important data such as passwords, emails, sensitive files, credit card information and other critical data. Different from vulnerability scanning, a data breach is the goal of a pen test. This type of assessment allows users to test the integrity of their network in a vacuum, and then design a solution to close the vulnerability.
Penetration tests cost upwards of $2,500 and take several weeks to perform. The result, however, are worth the time and investment. The information yielded can help identify current threats as well as prevent a future attack.
Who should perform a Security Assessment on your network?
It is important that a security test be conducted by an independent cybersecurity professional and not by your existing IT team or managed IT provider. Internal teams already know, and most likely built, the existing network. They already are familiar with the inner workings of the network. To get true results, the network must be tested by an outside party who can uncover new areas of vulnerability. Technology firms that specialize in network security such as i-Tech Support have cybersecurity experts and resources to conduct independent penetration tests on networks.
i-Tech offers Penetration Testing and Managed IT Services for Businesses in Florida
i-Tech Support is an Orlando based Total Technology Support firm dedicated to Managed IT Services, Advanced Technology, Cloud Services and Information Security Business Services.
Call i-Tech Support: 407-265-2000 email@example.com