TLDR Key Takeaways
Due to the ever-changing cyber threat landscape, it's more important than ever for businesses and governments around the world to recognize and protect themselves from potential cybersecurity risks.
Even if you think that your company's security measures are on point, there's always a chance they won't be enough to prevent an intrusion.
Penetration tests uncover cybersecurity weaknesses in your systems and reveal how attackers could potentially exploit them before it becomes too late.
These tests are an essential security practice where you intentionally attack your applications, networks, APIs, and computer systems to find and exploit vulnerabilities.
By following our best practices for effective results, you ensure that your organization gets the most out of its penetration testing initiative.
No matter what stage of the testing process you're in, we have aligned our best practices with your needs to provide the most helpful information.
The first step in developing a secure test is to plan it by setting your scope. This involves selecting specific objectives and conditions for your test that will affect the outcome. For example, you might want to cover an entire network, certain applications within that network, test the security of your APIs, or even specific users who work remotely from home offices.
The objectives and goals of a penetration test often vary greatly, from improving security to ensuring compliance with regulations. You'll need to clearly understand, "Why are we even doing a pen test?"
To avoid wasting time and resources on unimportant areas, focus on the high-risk vulnerabilities that are likely to be exploited first.
During this process, your team should clearly:
Your budget is one of the most important things to take into consideration when you're looking for a security solution. The price you pay for security depends on the value of your assets and what kind of objectives you are trying to achieve.
Factors that affect your budget:
One way to keep your costs down is to use automated testing instead of manual testing. Another way to eliminate costs is by using white box testing, which gives the tester all the information they need to find vulnerabilities faster.
Remember, there is no one-fits-all solution because every organization has its own needs that translate into dollar figures—the more coverage you want, the more you pay.
There are five common methods you can use for a penetration test, and the results will vary depending on which one is employed.
Pro Tip: External pen testers use varying methods. Make sure their methodology aligns with what's necessary for this test, and make it clear from day one which objectives need completion before they start testing.
When hiring pen testers, make sure you ask the right questions and find the right experts for your target domains: if it's API security, look no further than those who specialize in this field.
An expert will know how systems are built as well as their common weaknesses, so they'll help guarantee the success of any pen test by taking advantage from all possible angles.
Advantages of hiring external penetration testing providers:
In order to ensure your pen test yields maximum results, you'll need to:
Make sure that your security monitoring solutions are in place before starting a pen test. Not only will this help you oversee the testing performance, but you'll also be able to make sure appropriate actions are taken when necessary. To do this, we recommend:
Now that we have all of this data, it's time to take action!
Schedule a team meeting with your security leaders and specify which vulnerabilities need immediate attention. Your pen testers should provide you with:
The tester will use their technical expertise to determine the most pressing vulnerabilities. You should review their prioritization and decide which ones make the most critical impact on your business to tackle first. Ask yourself:
Remember, defects may arise from mistakes made during design or implementation, new attack techniques that were unknown at the time of testing, or simply coding errors.
Your development team needs to identify areas where they can improve their process for them to have successful products.
Pro Tip: When selecting a pen tester, make sure their reports include both technical and non-technical terms so that your entire team has access to this information. If the report is too complex for audiences outside of tech-related fields, it may not provide enough information needed to justify adjustments within an organization's business practices.
After you've prioritized your results, you'll begin remediation. During this process, we recommend:
While penetration tests are a great way to identify vulnerabilities, they have clear limitations. The main one is that it only captures a snapshot of a specific point in time.
To get the most out of your security processes, you need to pair it with a robust security partner that has the ability to test your system and processes continually.
APIsec offers a fully automated and continuous testing solution that runs comprehensive attacks on every endpoint in your network—giving you the most up-to-date information.
Ready to start securing your APIs and networks? Reach out to one of our security specialists for more information.