Guarding Against a Network Breach with Security Testing
- Author Jeremy Smith
- Published May 31, 2011
- Word count 511
As people spend more time shopping on the Internet and less time shopping in stores with cash, it is vitally important for a company’s data to be well-protected from hackers, data thieves and even security breaches from within. There are two ways to find out if a company’s computer network or data server are safe and sound from sabotage. One is to wait and see if it is hacked and compromised. The other is to do security penetration testing and fix any problems before they occur. The second option is a better business practice and, in the long run, less expensive.
Consumers do not want to do business with a company that will not protect their personal data, such as credit cards, names, telephone numbers and addresses. Even if the data is only used for an e-mail distribution list, customers will hesitate to trust the company in the future. If sensitive data is used to make credit card purchases or compromise the bank accounts of customers and contacts, it won’t take long for them to find out. When they do, the business owner can be sure that everyone the person knows - and the press - will probably hear about it, too. Keep in mind that not only will consumers avoid a company that cannot keep information safe, they will not want to make any types of purchases or use its website – even after it has been fixed.
Capturing information from a company’s database for e-commerce or even day-to-day operations can force them out of business. Compromising a company’s server can not only cause problems with data, the company’s bank accounts and online e-commerce user names and passwords can be captured as well. This means that funds can be spent without the company’s knowledge until a red flag is raised. For those with loosely structured accounting departments, this is detrimental to a company’s financial health.
By hiring a reputable application testing or penetration testing specialist, a business owner or manager can find out whether their applications, database and computer information can be easily hacked. Referred to in the industry as ethical hacking, a series of popular hacking techniques are tested on the website, network or database to see whether the target can be breached. After the test results have been obtained, expert consultation is done to limit the possibility of breaches or future episodes.
The process of hacking into a company’s database or website may take only a matter of seconds, minutes or days for the malicious competitor or money-hungry thief.. Cleaning up the mess left behind could take the business weeks, months or years. Some companies never recover. Penetration testing by a reputable and thorough penetration testing contractor usually takes one to two weeks. Rather than rush through the process in two to three days, the specialist uses a number of methods and attempts a number of entries before stating whether a business’ system is adequately protected. Most vulnerabilities can be fixed within a week.
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