IT decision-makers are discovering the value and relevance of automated penetration testing (APT/pentesting) services to their security operations.
|Changing Cyberattack Trends 2020-2021|
|Naïve attacks||Insider threats||Targeted attacks||Customized attacks|
|Source: Cyber Observer|
- Cyberattacks are more frequent and sophisticated. Targeted and customized cyberattacks proliferated during the pandemic.
- Remote work continues to increase cyberattack surfaces. 78% of security and IT leaders surveyed reported that remote workers are harder to secure. Even if remote workers return to the office, company attack surfaces are larger and more exposed than ever.
- Recovering from cyberattacks requires more resources than ever. According to the 2022 breach report released by the Ponemon Institute and IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 M, a 10% increase from the previous year.
Cybersecurity Solutions for High-Impact Business Problems
These changes negatively affect the security operations of businesses of all sizes, creating business problems.
Remote work expanded cyberattack targets. Protecting workers inside and outside of the traditional network perimeter during the pandemic required more resources and more frequent network or system monitoring.
The lack of specialized cyber defense experience in SecOps teams makes finding and handling internal vulnerabilities slower and more expensive. Effective tools support cyber defense tasks, but experienced operators guide and enable more accurate testing and risk prioritization.
Keeping up with the latest cyberattack exploits became more expensive and time-consuming.
Ideally, an effective cyber defense solution would:
- Monitor, identify, and fix attempted breaches in a wide variety of systems, such as application protocol interfaces (APIs) as well as frontend and backend servers.
- Combine the latest technology tools with experienced operators who understand the importance of relevant pre-test prioritization and data handling tasks.
- Include testing processes that are fast, accurate, and relevant to each company’s cybersecurity strategy.
Also known as pentesting or ethical hacking, penetration testing is a familiar part of the cyber defense toolkit. IT teams or vendors use penetration testing to make defending software or an IT infrastructure more effective and efficient.
The pentesting process
The pentesting process involves hacking into or testing a computer system or network to find security bugs or weaknesses. The goal is to discover the highest-impact vulnerabilities before cyberattackers find and exploit them by attacking or breaching the host system. Ideally, the pentesting process provides valuable information about the improvements needed to eliminate or reduce the impact of security weaknesses.
Role of automation in pentesting
The need to accelerate the testing process and reduce the total resource requirements of testing has driven automated pentesting (APT) development. As its name implies, APT uses rule-based computing to eliminate manual testing processes and accelerate testing tasks. The most advanced APT systems use artificial intelligence (AI) to guide and control APT tasks in highly sophisticated cybersecurity solutions.
Benefits of Pentesting
APT provides benefits and value that manual pentesting cannot. For example, automated pentesting:
- Saves IT labor and operations costs by reducing the effort and resources needed to run formerly manual tests.
- Makes pentesting more consistent. Testers can be confident that comparable results are achieved each time a specific test is run and that the same test cases can be run reliably on different applications.
- Enables faster responses. Should a breach occur, testers can detect and neutralize malicious activity more quickly than manual methods.
- Promotes more frequent testing. Faster, more responsive tests make the difference between testing once or twice a year to as often as your testing plan requires.
- Reduces risk and improves ongoing security readiness. Security teams can use pentest results to improve their organization’s security readiness.
IT Vortex APT Cyber Defense Services
IT Vortex’s new pentesting service is customizable, building on APT advantages with the latest cyber defense technologies and practices.
Our general approach to APT includes an unusual ingredient—the human element. Rather than relying on automation alone to deliver maximum-value test results, IT Vortex combines the best cyber defense technology available with specialists who have nation-state-level experience to neutralize persistent advantages of attackers and cybercrooks.
How IT Vortex Secures IT Infrastructures
IT Vortex is pleased to add APT solutions to our other security as a service (SECaaS) offerings, tools, and capabilities.
IT Vortex provides these new services via a partnership with Horizon3.ai, a San Francisco-based security services company. Horizon3.ai specialists focus on finding and defending the highest-impact, exploitable weaknesses in a network or system. Here’s what happens in the Horizon3.ai find-fix-verify process.
1. Find exploitable weaknesses
The process begins when testers identify internal attack vectors that lead to ransomware risk, exposure of sensitive data, critical system disruption, and other high-impact outcomes. External attack vectors that enable hackers to defeat perimeter security are on our radar too.
2. Assign priorities to fix exploitable problems
The next step involves prioritizing cybersecurity investments. Difficulties can occur when in-house vulnerability assessment programs and penetration testing fail to connect cyberattack risks to losses of business value and failure of business goals.
IT Vortex’s engineers and security specialists work with your business professionals to prioritize vulnerabilities based on risk (potential damage) to your business and the resources required to fix vulnerabilities, should a breach occur. Then, these high-priority vulnerabilities are fixed.
3. Verify that the most important problems have been resolved
Horizon3.ai NodeZero services validate your security tools, processes, and controls. Finally, IT Vortex verifies that our security fixes have solved your high-priority problems.
The Human Element Overcomes Known APT Limitations
The major problem with APT is that cybercriminals continue to breach the security defenses of organizations – even those with expensive security infrastructures and APT practices. The key issue often lies with how the technology is used and deployed.
Even the most sophisticated APT software and practices can’t eliminate the need for human skills, judgment, and experience. Horizon3.ai specialists conduct APT across platforms, IT systems, and test procedures. They have the experience to know (not guess) which types of tests provide results that are most helpful to your company’s security readiness and resources.
Providing valuable advice that bridges technology capabilities and a customized cyber defense response is IT Vortex’s most valuable capability. NodeZero service providers point out the parts of your IT infrastructure that are failing to keep up with cyberattack exploits. Armed with this intelligence, your decision-makers will be better equipped to make effective risk mitigation plans now and in the future.
This cutting-edge technology is a rare and innovative offering by IT service companies, making it an advantageous and influential tool. Meet with IT Vortex to discuss how our Pentesting as a Service can enhance your business’s security solutions and provide peace of mind for your IT team.
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