Penetration testing, which is often referred to as ‘pen testing’, is essentially a type of ethical hacking. You can think of it as very invasive security testing. Basically, a variety of methods are used to try and hack your network, but with no malicious intent in mind. It might sound like an odd idea to pay someone to simulate an attack, but it comes with a number of advantages.

Uncover Vulnerabilities

Even the most robust security systems can sometimes have flaws, and the only way to find out if those flaws are there is by putting the security system to the test. When performed properly, penetration testing lets IT professionals zero in on any potential vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can then be addressed, with security tightened to prevent a cyber-attack gaining a foothold there in the future.

Test Your Staff

Penetration testing isn’t solely used to test your IT network – you can also use such tests to put your staff through their paces. If you’re serious about security, you should have a plan in place in case a cyber security problem ever develops. You should also have educated your team members on how to spot such attacks, how to report them, and how to respond to them. By simulating an attack, you can gauge how effective your contingency plans are, identify areas for improvement, and discern weather or not your team requires any further cyber security training.

Remain Compliant

If you’ve been paying any attention to the world of data compliance, you know that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect next year. You’ll need to take additional steps to remain compliant, and failing to properly protect data will mean facing fines up to 20 million Euros or 4% of your total annual worldwide revenue. You might not technically need to perform penetration testing to remain compliant, but carrying out such tests can go a long way towards showing that you are taking cyber security seriously.