Top Six Penetration Testing Challenges For Organizations

The security gaps, loopholes as well as weakness prevailing in the software system offers the doorway to attackers or any unauthorized entity, to exploit the system, affecting its confidentiality and integrity. As such, pen testing of the software has become vital to avoid these vulnerabilities to make the software component adequate to survive and defend against the unexpected and expected security attacks.

What Is Penetration Testing?

A Penetration Testing is defined as the study of the consequence of security vulnerability against a software, network, application or any compilation of these. During pen testing, the testers assumes the identity of the attacker and try to accomplish unauthorized access. This testing evaluates the effectiveness of the system’s security controls.

Advantages of Penetration Testing

  • It determines the vulnerable and weaker areas of the software before the attacker spots it.

  • It evaluates the existing security controls of the system to assess its ability in defending the unexpected attacks. This could ensure the level of standards maintained in terms of system security.

  • In addition to the vulnerabilities in the system, the pen test also evaluates various business risks as well as problems, including any kinds of compromise with confidence and authorization of data access within the organization. It supports the organization to prioritize their plans to mitigate various business risks and issues.

  • It also supports to identify as well as meet certain vital security norms, standards and practices, a software is deficient of.

Besides the plenty of benefits, as the technology is evolving, systems or software are becoming more complex than before, there are some challenges associated with penetration testing. In order to ensure effective penetration testing, the tester should take efforts to meet those challenges. Let us point out the top six important penetration testing challenges for the organization to consider.

Top Penetration Testing Challenges for Organizations

  1. Determining the test coverage

  2. Determining what kind of pen testing is required

  3. Understanding difference between penetration testing and vulnerability scanning

  4. Determining the risk associated with disclosure of sensitive data and failure of the system

  5. Approving the target and regularity of pen test

  6. Imagining that the fixing of vulnerabilities detected in pen testing will ensure the total security of the system

Determining the Test Coverage

In the traditional penetration testing, the test scenarios are decided by their test coverage and it is one of the major test measurement criteria. Generally, the testers look for the test cases that support to achieve a high level of test coverage. However, when it comes to today’s complex environment, it becomes challenging to determine the length as well as the breadth of the test coverage since this testing exercises only on the external network interfaces. This assumes that testing the external interface will work equally to testing the software interface directly. However, the fact is different from this. To achieve proper test coverage, the test team requires going beyond the traditional constitutes of the penetration testing.

Determining What Kind Of Pen Testing Is Required

What kind of penetration testing do you need to be performed? – The most common question that you come across when you decide to go for pen testing. Most people recommend starting with external network interface testing. However, the proper answer to this question depends on nature of the business environment. The organization must understand its environment and budget to decide what kind of pen testing that their business requires. It is important to make sure that you invest in the right testing type which suits your needs.

The main reason that makes an organization to find difficulties in choosing the right type of testing is the lack of communication among the security team and application owners. In several cases, the business units realize their exact type after it has started their process. In worst cases, some organization will find out only after they encounter security issues. This misjudgement on the type of testing could delay the project. The best way to handle this challenge is involving entire stakeholders and mandatory roles while deciding on the type of pen testing.

Understanding Difference Between Penetration Testing And Vulnerability Scanning

The most common challenge in the IT security services has been the often confusion as well as interchanging of terms, which people think refer the same thing but refers different. The same thing happens when it comes to, penetration testing, many people confused with the terms penetration testing and vulnerability scanning. They often misused and even swapped out these two terms. When the organization trying to protect themselves from the data breach, this confusion becomes problematic since if one person in the testing team is mentioning about one service, the other person assumes that he is referring to another service that was not intended.

The penetration testers must understand that the main objective of the vulnerability scanning is to determine as well as evaluate possible vulnerabilities in the technical perspective, whereas the penetration testing attempts to exploit the determined vulnerabilities, which may result in unauthorized malicious access, modification, interception of normal organization process and data.

Determining the Risk Associated with Disclosure of Sensitive Data and Failure of System

With ignorance of risk associated with the failure of the system and disclosure of sensitive data, there is clearly no solution to protect the business and their data. The risk associated with these issues encompasses the chances of occurrence of the undefined events and their ability for loss within the organizations. Understanding the impacts allows to plan for the unexpected failure or data leakage and that will support to ensure the success of the application. It also defines how to handle the risks hence the penetration tester can determine, mitigate and avoid security problems. Hence, for each of the determined risk areas, the penetration test scenarios should be established which should accurately test the application and its components to find whether there is risky or not.

Approving the Target and Regularity of Pen Test

Generally, the penetration test begins with the corresponding tester enumerating the target to detect vulnerable systems. The penetration testers should start their asset attacking attempt by learning their pen test targets. Here, they are required to aware the OS platforms, IP addresses, version numbers advertised network ports, patch levels and anything else that can cause the chance to exploit. It is hard for the pen tester to find the potential vulnerability by spending only a few minutes since they must use the information gained in the detection for continued evaluation and attack attempts.

In addition to this, the frequency of the pen testing becomes another challenge for the testers. Since they need to consider several factors while deciding how frequent the pen testing should be performed. For this, they require performing an internal risk assessment as well as threat analysis to identify its risk appetite.

Imagining That the Fixing of Vulnerabilities Detected in Pen Testing Will Ensure the Total Security of The System

If pen testing alone was an effective way to secure applications and network, then the software would be very secure. This is what most of the organizations think, but it is not. The pen testers still uncover security flaws in some application even after detection of possible vulnerabilities during a pen test. Because, daily, often and complex update process to keep the system up-to-date may lead some changes in the associated software and hardware that might result in security issues. This testing alone won’t transform organization’s security outcomes. On the other hand, this test result in a prioritized report of the security loopholes for the target to consider.

These are the common challenges likely to be encountered during the penetration testing. Understanding these issues in advance and establishing a plan to handle them will support the effective pen testing.

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