What is Penetration Testing, and why do Online Businesses Need it?


The extent to which technology has changed the business world over the past twenty years is remarkable. The move from paper based offices and now the move to cloud technology has led to greater efficiency and improved standards. It has also thrown up some interesting challenges, not least of which is the issue of security and one of the ways companies are ensuring their systems are protected is penetration testing, but what is it?

Penetration Testing Explained 

Businesses both large and small now rely on computer networks and systems to perform a variety of functions; customer’s details are recorded on databases, business accounts are filed on spreadsheets and orders are processed digitally. Much of this data is extremely sensitive and in the wrong hands can cause major problems for both businesses and customers – so the information needs protecting.

A great deal of time, money and effort is spent making sure that all this data is secure, however, the changing nature of technology means that security software and systems can be breached relatively easily if they are out of date or not functioning properly. This is where penetration testing comes in.

Penetration testing involves using an independent organisation to test just how robust the digital security of a business is. Several scenarios are enacted in an attempt to break in to the servers and data storage facilities of a company using the most advanced techniques and knowledge – basically, the individuals conducting the penetration tests try to hack into the system and access the information therein.

Once the tests are complete, a report is written that will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the security system and offer recommendations regarding how it may be improved. 

Why do Online Businesses Need Penetration Testing?

Companies who conduct the majority of their business online can be particularly venerable to attempts to hack into their systems and so these type of tests are paramount to their ongoing security and therefore success.

Those companies who have their systems tested regularly are far less likely to experience breaches of security and so they are in a better position to protect both their customer information and their business.

Professional penetration testing evaluates how robust an IT system is from both outside infiltration and also threats from within a company (many security breaches are the result of the work carried out by a rogue employee). So regular and thorough testing gives companies peace of mind, knowing that they have 360 degree protection, 365 days a year.