Industry Insights

Why Pen Testing is Vital to Your Company's Cybersecurity

March 3, 2022


Tal Katz

Cloud & IT Security Director

Why Pen Testing is Vital to Your Company's Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks are a pervasive and constant threat on the rise around the world. With the adoption of digital cloud-based computing and the growing acceptance of work-from-home and online collaborations, more organizations are allowing their data to live online, which increases the risk of exposure. From the smallest SMBs to the largest nation-states, exposed data resulting from compromised cybersecurity is a clear and present danger.

But private and government IT security experts are working to shore up defense weaknesses. According to a recent article from Gartner, The Top 8 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2021-2022, 40 percent of companies expect to have a cybersecurity committee overseen by a qualified board member by 2025. On the federal level, the same article predicts that by 2025, 30 percent of countries will have passed legislation to regulate ransomware payments (up from 1 percent in 2021).

The most effective way to address cybersecurity threats is to stop them before they become attacks — and the best way to do that is to ensure your network is properly guarded via penetration testing. With routine penetration testing (aka pen testing or ethical hacking) via a trusted cybersecurity partner like Cybrella, an organization can thrive in a digital ecosystem knowing that their system security is buttoned up and operating with limited risk to exposure. 

Penetration Testing vs. Vulnerability Scanning 

A common and understandable misconception at the executive level is that penetration testing and vulnerability scanning are one-in-the-same. But in reality, penetration testing is a more intensive process that exposes cracks in security and shows the paths to fix them. 

Vulnerability scanning is an oft-automated security assessment that runs in the background of operations. This program assesses weaknesses found in computers, networks or applications by detecting vulnerability at the code level. 

Penetration testing, on the other hand, is a simulated cyberattack on a computer system with the express and active purpose of breaching the system to evaluate the security. The difference is similar to testing the efficacy of a building's security system by reviewing its security protocol vs. actively breaking in to better understand the response. 

Both penetration testing and vulnerability scanning are essential for establishing effective security, but the former is critical for optimizing security efforts to fight back against real-time hacking attempts.  

When and How Often Should Penetration Tests Be Performed?

Deciding how often to perform a penetration test is like determining how often one should get an examination from a doctor. The answer is always: The greater your risk, the more often you test. For most companies that don't deal with large lakes or active streams of sensitive data, the recommended cadence is once every six months to a year. For companies using at-risk data, such as a financial technology (FinTech) company or a bank, it's recommended to run penetration tests quarterly. 

But regardless of a company's area of business, penetration tests are also highly recommended whenever a company is preparing to launch a new platform, application or website. For best practices, this security measure is typically performed just before public launch.

What is Black Box, Gray Box and White Box Testing?

Penetration testing isn't one-size-fits-all. In fact, there are three industry-standard approaches to conducting a penetration test for a company, each with its advantages. 

Black box testing

Black box testing is a full-on breach simulation. In this scenario, a pen tester approaches it just like a hacker with little-to-no outside knowledge of the system's architecture. This type of test, or ethical hacking, is great for showcasing what's most vulnerable areas — since the tester is approaching the scenario like a real hacker — but the results aren't as comprehensive as other approaches since it's also the shortest test.

Gray box testing

Gray box testing is a grade more intense than black box testing because the tester is provided with limited knowledge about the system's architecture. This allows the tester a more focused and efficient approach. Gray box testing is the most common approach by companies like Cybrella. 

White box testing

White box testing is the most time-intensive approach since it allows the tester a complete view into the system's architecture. This approach is typically reserved for companies that require a comprehensive assessment of system security and is most similar to a scenario where a hacker has long-term access to its target. 

What Are Common Areas of Penetration Testing? 

Penetration testing can focus on a range of areas, from app security to e-commerce to industrial systems. Here is a selection of essential tests businesses should consider for long-term cybersecurity.

Application Penetration Testing

Web applications are, of course, wildly popular. Therefore, it only makes sense that there are hackers who target application vulnerability to access sensitive data. Application pen testing includes cookie manipulation and session hijacking methods, among others.

Advanced Penetration Testing

Through either red team exercises, which simulate actual attacks on a network, or independent execution, this method of penetration testing targets networks, systems and applications to identify exploitable vulnerabilities.

IoT Penetration Testing

Lots of data can be up for grabs in a leaky network housing IoT information. Software and hardware pen testing techniques can effectively identify vulnerabilities.

Industrial Penetration Testing

Industrial control systems are highly sensitive, interconnected and crucial to business operations. However, each operational technology is a unique environment, which is why tailored tests are required for an accurate security assessment. 

Fraud Attack Simulations

Fraud is a common problem in FinTech and banking. Through strategies like debit card fraud simulation, phishing attack simulation  and business logic manipulation, testers can detect where weaknesses exist.

Team up With a Trusted Partner to Test Your Security 

Trust is at the heart of commerce, and in this digital era, that trust begins and ends with secure data. Put your company on a healthy cadence of security checkups by scheduling penetration testing as part of your cybersecurity program with a proven cybersecurity partner like Cybrella. 

Cybrella's highly-trained RedTeam embodies the height of ethical hacking. Certified in penetration testing, Cybrella's RedTeam utilizes the best methods and practices to ensure your network, applications and systems are always safe and secure. To begin your cybersecurity discussion, reach out to Cybrella today at


Gartner, The Top 8 CybersecurityPredictions for 2021-2022, Oct. 20, 2021


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