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A Beginners Guide to Penetration Testing

How Penetration Testing can Improve your Company’s Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is becoming more and more critical in our modern world. According to, 64% of companies worldwide have experienced cyber-attacks in some form. Most organizations are vulnerable to internet terrorists, but many are not aware of this vulnerability. Testing a company’s security systems is critical. This is where penetration testing, or ethical hacking”, comes in. 

Many different benefits and types of “pen tests” exist. Each serves to improve security within a company and provide new confidence, no matter how big or small your system may be. A secure network is the best network for your team to work with daily.

Luckily, Edge Networks is here to help. By performing a penetration test, we would be able to improve your organizations cybersecurity posture by performing real attacks to simulate what a real attacker could do in your system. By doing this, Edge Networks can assess the risk of a potential security breach in your company, and give you the tools to resolve these risks before it’s too late.

What Is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, is a technique that uses the simulated launch of cyberattacks on a system to seek out weaknesses. Its purpose is to target issues with the system so that better security can go into the system. There are also a few other things a pen test does.

 For a system, a penetration test can also:

  • Test the variety of security, posing it with varying challenges and angles of attack
  • Check compliance of your system with regulations from organizations like HIPAA
  • Examine reactions to security threats within the company

All are valuable to a system and can save a lot of trouble as cybercrime continues to increase.

Pen testing is an organized attack that can reveal vulnerabilities that are difficult to see any other way. There are a lot of benefits you will find if you decide to utilize a penetration test on your organization’s security system.


What Are the Benefits of Penetration Testing?

Several benefits come with utilizing penetration testing within a system. Before investing in a penetration test, it’s vital to know what it will do. There are many aspects of penetration testing, and it’s critical to know about each one.

Some of the best benefits include: 

  • Revealing of vulnerabilities
  • Hacker prevention, even as technology improves
  • Improved environment for the company and security system
  • Data protection, even in the worst attacks
  • Assisted security obligations

These are all excellent for the future of your system, helping to improve it and make it more secure to protect the vital data sealed within the computer.

Below, we’ll dive a little further into each of these benefits so that you can better understand what they bring to the table in terms of security improvement. Keep learning to understand what a pen test can provide for your organization. Each one will add to the confidence you have in the system that protects your company.


Penetration Testing Reveals Vulnerabilities

Penetration testing reveals vulnerabilities that exist within the system through careful poking and prodding by a trained expert. It exposes weak spots that thrive both inside and outside the system, allowing your team to figure out how to better your security system. Pen-testing is one of the most thorough things you can do to improve cybersecurity.

Without penetration testing, it can be hard to see where you’re lacking in terms of defense. Pen-testing can help you tremendously in narrowing down what’s wrong with your system. It can also prompt a discussion on what can be done about the threats you face.


Penetration Testing Prevents Hackers

Essentially, penetration testing is like simulating your security system. You get to see how your defense measures stack up against a threat that breaches your walls. As mentioned above, penetration testing reveals weaknesses and holes that cover your system both inside and out. You can prevent hackers with this information by covering these up.

There is nothing more beneficial than running a simulation. You get to see your IT infrastructure in action without having to worry about an actual cyber security threat. By watching how your infrastructure handles the prodding of the pen-testing, you can move forward in your mission to keep hackers out of your critical system.


Penetration Testing Improves the Environment

With improved security comes increased confidence. Once you’ve fixed your security threats with the help of penetration testing, you can feel satisfied with the defensive measures you have created for your company. Confidence leads to an overall better space to work in, no matter which field of work you occupy.


On top of improving your environment, you will also mature the overall environment of your security system. In a time where everything is growing and adapting at seemingly the speed of light, you want something that is up to date with all that is going on in the world. A penetration test can assist with that and make it happen.


It Protects Data

The biggest problem with cyber security threats is the exposure of sensitive data. As a company, infiltrating and stealing data is one of the worst things that could happen. Not only is it dangerous for your company and customers, but it can be a costly issue to deal with on your time. One hack can set you back months in spending and work.

A penetration test can help you better prepare to keep your data safe. Once you know your problems and have taken care of each of them, as discussed above, you can feel more assured that the crucial information within your system is safe. Safe data means a safe company, and it also means you can feel more secure in what you do every day as a company.


It Assists Security Obligations

Finally, a penetration test can assist your company by helping it to comply with standards set in place. Often, it can be tricky to keep up with the rules and regulations of a system. A penetration test can reveal where you’re lacking and give you a nudge in the right direction.

Getting a penetration test done reveals the strength of your company’s system and your willingness to improve it for the sake of your consumers. It can help you steer clear of the fines you could be charged with if your security measures do not meet the strict standards required by companies like PCI, HIPAA, and FISMA.


What Types of Pen-Testing Are There?

When you’re looking into penetration testing, you might notice several different types within the overarching penetration testing label. It’s vital to understand some of the main types so you can pick one that will work best for the system your organization utilizes the most. This knowledge will give you a jump-start on creating the safest system possible.

According to, there are three types of pen-testing on the market. These include:

  • Black-box testing: Black-box testing is most often the least expensive of the three. The tester doesn’t know what kind of system they’re dealing with. The hacker is only out to find information.
  • White-box testing: While-box is a little more thorough, as the tester receives more information before going into the test. It’s a complete simulation of a cyber security threat.
  • Grey-box testing: Grey-box is right in the middle of these two. The hacker gets some information about the system, but not all. This represents an external hack as opposed to an internal one.

Each of these serves a different purpose in a computer system and comes at a varying price point. It’s up to you to determine which you think will benefit your system and which price point is the most practical for what you need to do.

 Now that you know about the different types of penetration testing, you can narrow down which one you think your company needs the most. Read more about each one before deciding which will work best for your particular situation, as each one examines a different reaction point within your system.


Who Benefits from Pen-Testing?

Anyone can benefit from pen-testing, but those who benefit the most rely on their organization’s system for everything they do. Without access to technology, they would be shut down. Penetration testing is critical at locations that run off of an internal system, as one threat could destroy the entire system.

According to, three of the industries that benefit most from penetration testing include:

  • Healthcare: This group includes hospitals and doctor’s offices.
  • Service Providers: This group includes those that provide services such as the internet to users.
  • Banking: This group includes banks and the systems within them, as data is critical and confidential. Protection is crucial, and standards must be kept up.

Though many companies may benefit from penetration testing, these three will in particular, due to the intricacies of their network.

Penetration testing is often required in these industries, and even if it’s not, it’s something that should be completed routinely. A pen test can prevent severe and expensive damage caused by cyber security threats. As time goes on, cyber security costs will only go up as technology advances.


What is the Difference Between Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Scanning?

Vulnerability scanning is another pair of words that describe an action used to check for vulnerabilities within a system. They may sound like they’re the same, but several differences come between these two items.

The items that set penetration testing and vulnerability scanning apart include:

  • Automation: A penetration test is conducted by a real person, while a vulnerability test is an automated scan by a machine.
  • Scanning versus looking: A vulnerability scan scans for weaknesses, while a penetration test probes and tests the system in action.
  • False positives: Since a vulnerability scan is automated, it’s more likely to surface false positives than a penetration test is in a run-through.

These aren’t drastically different, but they’re just enough to distinguish the two from each other in the world of online security.

If you want to be extra safe, you can invest in a vulnerability scan and a penetration test. One will search for vulnerabilities, while the other will probe your system and test for weaknesses within your defense. They vary in price depending on the intensity of the service given.


Why is Penetration Testing Important?

It might seem like penetration testing is an optional examination for a system, more like a check-up than a requirement. However, while it’s true that you don’t have to get a penetration test, doing so will be a huge benefit to your cybersecurity system. There are a few reasons why it’s so vital to get your system checked on as much as you can. 

Penetration testing is critical for any system because:

  • It determines weaknesses: Pen-testing finds weaknesses within the system’s defense and helps companies work out ways to fix them.
  • It raises confidence: With a stronger security system comes confidence as a team. You know you are better equipped to face the ongoing technological threats in the online world, both internally and externally.
  • It ensures effectiveness: Penetration testing also tests the effectiveness of systems in place, revealing if they’re working or a waste of money.

All of these will keep your organization up and running, even amidst the worst attack. Penetration testing is one of the most critical things you can do to ensure your security is up to the standards it should be for your company.


According to, only 5% of company folders are adequately protected from an outsider threatening the system’s security. If you’ve never gotten a penetration test for your organization, it’s never too late to experience one for the first time. Reach out to see how much one will cost for your company or system.



If you feel your organization’s computer system could benefit from a security test, a pen test is one of the best ways to go. This controlled method sends in “white-hat” workers who poke and prod at what you have in place until any vulnerabilities appear to them. You have an actual person helping you.

Penetration tests do a lot of good. They reveal weaknesses, test policies in place, and protect data, among other things. There are many different types of ethical hacking, so you can select a test that works best for the system you have. In a world where cybercrime is rising, testing your system for vulnerabilities is more critical than ever.

Are looking into getting a penetration test to improve the security of your company? Edge Networks can help! Schedule a call with us or take our free, self-guided IT Security Risk Assessment


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