How to prepare for penetration testing?

Today, data security is more important than ever and regular penetration testing is one of the best tools you can use to make sure that your company’s cybersecurity is robust and up-to-date with no significant vulnerabilities that leave you open to hacks. If you’re about to conduct an annual penetration test at your business, you might be wondering about what you need to do to prepare for it. Luckily, pentest preparation is very simple on your side of things and shouldn’t require much time to complete.

Pentest preparation

Inform personnel about an upcoming penetration test

While it’s not necessary to tell absolutely all of your employees about the penetration test you’re about to conduct, your key IT staff should be brought into the loop so they know what’s going on and don’t try to interfere with the actions of cybersecurity professionals who are conducting the test. If the necessary people are not informed about the test, they may start responding to it thinking that it’s a real hacker attack, which can make the test more difficult or disrupt your operations.

You should also assign an IT point person to be in charge of communication with the pentest team. This person should be available before, during and after the test in case questions or issues arise. Your other IT personnel should also be aware of the test and ready to respond in case the penetration test team needs help to bring devices or systems back online.

Be ready to respond to the results of a penetration test

You might not have to dedicate a lot of time or resources before or during a pentest, but once the results are in after the test, you need to make a team available to study the report provided by the pentest team and implement their recommendations.

Be ready for availability problems

In general, penetration tests are very safe and shouldn’t cause any problems for your normal operations, but this can’t be guaranteed because issues can arise with networks or applications. This is another reason why you should have your staff available and ready to collaborate with the penetration team so you can get your operations back online quickly in case anything happens.

Don’t improve the state of your cybersecurity just before the pentest

In some cases, it’s a good idea to put a so-called fresh coat of paint on everything to make the state of your affairs appear better than it actually is but an upcoming penetration test is not one of those occasions. If you want the test to give accurate and helpful results, don’t try to improve your cybersecurity just before the test. You can, if you wish, try to fix some of the most common issues in advance but try not to go beyond this. Some of the most ubiquitous cybersecurity issues include missing software updates and security patches weak passwords, unvalidated input-output of data on the client side and presence of outdated and unused systems and applications.

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    Vitaly is a principal consultant at Hackcontrol as wall as aa business and IT thought leader. He has over 15 years of experience in consulting, account management and is a specialist in cybersecurity.