It’s common to assume that IT and network security experts are all much of a muchness these days having become vastly more abundant in numbers and to a large extent taken for granted. However, as far as the experts at are concerned, this is exactly the kind of assumption that’s leading to thousands of businesses up and down the country being left wide open to attack from cyber criminals. The reason being that with each and every passing day, criminal hackers are honing and refining their techniques with the intention of staying one or two steps ahead of the security game at all times. As such, unless a cyber security expert is willing to work tirelessly to counter the efforts of the hackers and stay one step ahead of them, chances are they’re not going to get the job done.

It’s one thing to have your network security systems installed and maintained by professionals, but what about testing? Ask yourself for a moment – when was the last time your security systems were tested by a wholly objective and hugely professional third party? It’s one thing for the providers of your network and IT systems to carry out their own security tests, but at the same time every last thing they do will inherently be in some way biased. As such, regardless of who you do business with right now or how you do business in general, third-party and wholly independent cyber security testing is something that should no longer be considered optional.

Pen Testing Strategies

When it comes to choosing the right provider to go with, the key lies in making sure you choose a service that covers all bases across the board with a rich and varied set of component elements. To cover some areas and leave others unexplored is a little like locking the doors and leaving the windows wide open – security can only be guaranteed when it is explored in full…precisely where the difference lies from one testing service to the next.

So, with this in mind, what exactly are the kinds of elements you should be looking to have covered?

Targeted Testing

Well, first of all, there’s the targeted testing approach, which is essentially when the cyber security of the business is put through its paces with the full knowledge of everyone present/working at the time. While knowledge of the hack may prompt workers to act differently than they may on a regular day, working alongside the hackers to see where the problems are and how cyber criminals think can be both fascinating and incredibly beneficial.

Blind Testing

In the case of blind testing, this is where knowledge of the planned hacking process is kept to an absolute minimum in order to ensure that the working conditions at the time of the hack are exactly as they would be on a normal working day. This is usually the most common type of penetration test carried out and can bring to light some remarkable truths.

Internal Testing

Internal testing is sometimes seen as optional though really could not be of greater importance. It’s never nice to think that a hack or data breach may occur from inside the business, but it’s a reality that so many have to face up to every day. As such, the tests will see how easy or otherwise it is to breach security when given the same access to the IT systems as the other employees.

External Testing

And on the other side of the fence, external testing focuses on the process of gaining access to the private or restricted networks and IT systems from the perspective of a third party with no direct access to the company. Most hacks tend to be carried out by those with no affiliation with the business they target, so this tends to be one of the most crucial testing elements of all.

Double Blind Testing

With double blind testing, absolutely nobody at all is given any idea that the hack is about to take place apart from the single individual or group thereof who organised it in the first place. In addition, the security experts carrying out the tests will not let the business know exactly when the hack will take place, in order to assess exactly what kinds of threats exist when the business’ guards are fully down and no additional precautions are being taken.

It takes a strong combination of the above elements to fully assess the security measures in place at any online business. And even if the findings are not to your liking, it’s better to find them out personally than to have them brought to your attention by cyber criminals.