In order for these challenges to be identified and addressed effectively, an organization should adopt a systematic, structured approach to penetration testing as part of a wider penetration testing programme, including the selection and management of external suppliers. Organizations can carry out penetration testing themselves, sometimes very successfully. More often they will decide to employ the services of one or more specialist third party penetration testing providers. There are many reasons why an organization may wish to employ external penetration testing providers, such as:
1. Provide more experienced, dedicated technical staff who understand how to carry out penetration tests effectively
2. Perform an independent assessment of their security arrangements
3. Carry out a full range of testing (eg. black, white or grey box; internal or external; infrastructure or web application; source code review; and social engineering).
4. Deploy a structured process and plan, developed by experts
5. Increase the scope and frequency of tests
6. Conduct short term engagements, eliminating the need to employ your own specialized (and often expensive) staff
7. Reducing the cost of training (and re-training) internal teams In conclusion
How can security be improved and how can attacks be prevented? The first step is for management to treat security seriously and assign appropriate budget, training and resources to it. Furthermore, hire a security contractor to perform regular audits and drills and simulate attacks in case any challenges does arise as discussed before. In this way vulnerabilities will be discovered and resolved before a real attacker finds a weakness and takes advantage to exploit them. As Former FBI Director Robert Mueller once said, "There are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that will be." Which one are you?
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