Cybercrimes cost the global economy $6 trillion in 2021 and, according to reliable estimates, will touch the $10 trillion mark by 2025. The rising number of data breaches, security lapses and cybercrimes has prompted many organizations to build more robust security deployments. Additionally, heightened regulatory scrutiny and compliance laws have compelled firms to formulate stringent cybersecurity measures.
One of the main steps towards an effective security program is conducting a pen test. The rise in demand for comprehensive pen testing has led organizations to the question –
Is hiring an external Canadian penetration company better than relying on internal security resources?
Before addressing that question, let’s discuss what a pen test is and how it works.
What is penetration testing?
Penetration testing or pen-test is a critical security exercise that aims to identify, exploit and document system vulnerabilities and security gaps. In simpler terms, it’s a cyber-attack conducted in a secure and controlled manner to underline exploitable vulnerabilities and their associated internal resources.
During a pen test, an ethical hacker systematically attacks the different components of the digital infrastructure. These components include all servers, databases, endpoint devices, web applications, wireless networks, network infrastructure and other potential entry points. After compromising a network component, the testers then try to tap into other resources in the increasing order of security clearance.
Pen testing identifies security holes in the software and hardware technology in use. Many companies also use it to validate their defensive processes, response plans when a breach occurs and end-user behaviour.
What are the advantages of penetration testing?
Penetration testing is a core requirement of many industry compliance standards, including NIST, SOC2 and ISO 27000. Apart from meeting regulatory requirements, a pen test also offers the following advantages.
- Identifying existing vulnerabilities before they are exploited.
- Increasing resilience against cyberattacks.
- Continuation of normal business operations in the event of an attack.
- Building a strong security strategy by identifying vulnerabilities and plugging them.
- Understanding the breadth and depth of your digital footprint and potential exposure.
- Maintaining internal and external business reputation by securing all data and related systems.
Why is hiring a third-party Canadian penetration testing company better
Pen testing is an integral part of any security program. But not all testers are built the same. Since pen testing requires a high degree of unique skills and qualifications, most companies prefer outsourcing this job. Here’s why outsourcing to a Canadian penetration testing company is better than using your internal team to conduct a pen test.
- Differences in skill sets
Today, almost every large organization claims to have a large and well-equipped cybersecurity department. But the personnel that make up the department specialize in building up defences, not breaking them down. This is where external pen testers come in. They’ve been trained to conduct controlled attacks on digital infrastructure to compromise as many systems as possible. This difference in skills can be the game-changer in the event of an actual attack.
- Adherence to local laws and regulations
Cybersecurity regulations vary widely across states and countries. Adhering to these laws on a local and a global level is mandatory. Internal hires may not be well versed with these frameworks. On the other hand, hiring a local Canadian penetration company can ensure that all laws and guidelines are adhered to.
- An external point of view
Pen tests can only be deemed successful when they identify most, if not all, of the security vulnerabilities. In this scenario, an internal team might not be the ideal choice simply because they’re habituated to the environment. They might not see hidden inherent weaknesses. Third-party Canadian penetration companies can offer a novel, objective view of the entire security scenario.
- Honest reporting
An external penetration testing agency will conduct these tests objectively and report them explicitly. On some occasions, internal personnel fail to report system vulnerabilities and risks due to a fear of retribution. Since the external testing agency is a third party, it has no limitations in carrying out robust pen testing and reporting the vulnerabilities detected.
Not only are penetration tests necessary, but choosing the right pen test partner is also crucial. The right partner can help improve weak defences and ensure compliance, security and data integrity.