Sunday, January 9, 2011

Penetration Testing: A Guide To Effective Testing

There are many misconceptions about the terms penetration testing in the security assessment of your computing environment. Nonetheless with a detailed explanation one can understand clearly the benefits of testing. First and foremost, you must be aware by now that security is of utmost importance, especially in an environment where there are millions of viruses just lurking about in cyberspace to destroy your computer. Let's take a closer look on the role that penetration testing plays in the security assessment of your computing environment for your home or your office.

What is Penetration Testing?

Although many are confused with this term, it is better understood if it is viewed as a type of security assessment. This testing process involves actively assessing all the information relating to the security measures of your computing environment. The process should not only be paper or theoretical inclined, but it should include a strong sense of practicality. Additionally due to the fact that this field is quickly expanding and evolving, the results from the assessment should be documented and reported in a debriefing session opening up a question and answer forum so that if there needs to be corrective strategies implemented it can be discussed and put in place.

Why should you conduct tests?

If you are conducting a business, it is recommended that you perform penetration testing so as to safeguard your computing environment. Actively using security assessment, you will be safeguarding your computer system from financial loss or loss of revenue as there are many fraudulent activities such as extortionists, internet hackers and scammers that are present on the World Wide Web. You may need to conduct tests so as to protect your brand from the loss of consumer confidence as well as business reputation.

In addition to this, when you are operating a business there are many industry regulations and guidelines that you will need to follow. Conducting tests will help you to comply with these guidelines; non-compliance in some industries usually results in heavy fines and penalties, a marred company image and in extreme cases imprisonment. Another important reason why you should conduct security tests is to identify risk areas and issues and assessing the potential impact and taking the necessary proactive preventative and corrective steps in addressing the matter. This will definitely save you lots of money in the long run.

What can be tested?

Essentially every single aspect of your computing system should be tested to ensure that you are not at risk to security breaches. Your computers will process, capture and store data which should be evaluated and managed appropriately. Security assessment should be performed on the systems that stores and processes information. In addition to this, penetration testing should be performed on your networking equipment, network applications, operating systems and databases. If you have internal applications and web pages along with telephony features like remote access and war-dialing, you should perform tests. Other examples may include your wireless connections such as WIFI, Bluetooth and GSM, as well as your physical access controls and dumpster drives should be tested.

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