Man using umbrella as a shield against cyberattack

Data breaches and cyber threats are a looming reality for businesses.

Security issues have become more frequent and sophisticated. From large-scale corporate enterprises to small startups, no entity is immune to these pervasive risks. That’s why understanding the specific attack vectors threat actors employ is imperative.

Here’s where the importance of penetration testing comes in. It mimics real-world scenarios to identify your security weak points while providing actionable insights for remediation.

If you’re looking to bolster your cybersecurity defenses, here’s the place to start. Learn why penetration testing is important in safeguarding sensitive data and fortifying your firm’s security measures.

What Is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, often called pen testing, is a proactive cybersecurity approach to identify and address IT security vulnerabilities. Penetration testers (a.k.a. ethical hackers) conduct a simulated cyberattack to assess the security controls and measures in place. You can opt for an in-house pen tester for more targeted penetration or outsource one to bring in external expertise.

In most cases, you’ll require regular assessments without causing significant disruptions to daily operations. These are called mini-penetration tests. You can also opt for full penetration tests if your organization’s complex infrastructures require a more extensive and in-depth evaluation.

Mini Penetration Test vs. Full Penetration Test

Network testing comes in mini and full penetration levels for varying security needs. Let’s differentiate these two testing methodologies to help you decide the most fitting approach for your cybersecurity strategy.

  • Mini Penetration Test. This approach lets you obtain an overview of potential weaknesses through basic cybersecurity scans and full vulnerability assessments. However, it refrains from resource-intensive procedures, such as vulnerability exploitation. It’s less time-consuming, allowing you to conduct an in-depth audit while maintaining operational continuity.

For a more agile and time-efficient cybersecurity evaluation, 7tech’s Mini Pen Test is an advanced step up from your basic cybersecurity risk assessments. Its three-tier approach includes a cybersecurity scan, vulnerability assessment, and CIS Benchmarking audit.

  • Full Penetration Test. Full penetration tests don’t only identify vulnerabilities, but also actively exploit them to understand real-world implications. They address all network components and systems, thus posing higher demands on your network. This method requires thorough planning to avoid long-term operational delays or compromising your business functions.

When determining the suitable testing approach, the decision boils down to your security needs, risk tolerance, and operational priorities. Now, let’s look at what both testing methods hope to achieve for your IT defenses.

What Is the Primary Goal of Penetration Testing?

Pen testing allows for an all-around evaluation of potential weaknesses malicious actors could exploit in real-world scenarios. Imagine a financial institution conducting this test on its online banking system.

The bank’s pen testers can employ different strategies. This includes anywhere from sending mock phishing emails to gaining access through brute force attacks. This simulation helps identify vulnerabilities like inadequate encryption protocols, insufficient access controls, or potential entry points for unauthorized users.

Penetration testing addresses holes in the bank’s system before malicious actors can exploit it for financial gain. However, these advantages are merely the tip of the iceberg. Let’s further uncover why penetration testing is important to your business success.

2 Major Benefits of Penetration Testing

Investing in this cybersecurity measure offers long-term business rewards. Let’s break it down into two main benefits that will transform your digital structures.

1. Proactive Risk Mitigation

Cyber threats are the digital world’s ninjas—silent, swift, and often unseen. Proactive risk mitigation, through pen testing, lets you see into the future and stay one step ahead of these threats. Your security team can help you dodge breaches and financial losses. This includes direct theft or indirect costs associated with system downtime.

This also translates to a seamless and reliable customer experience. The less they worry about cyberattacks disrupting your services, the more they can value your offer.

2. Strategic Insights for Improvement

Penetration testing’s detailed analysis and post-testing reports can reveal useful insights. They are a blueprint for shoring up your business’s operational resilience.

You’ll get specific and targeted recommendations to strengthen security controls and enhance incident response plans. It also helps you adhere to regulatory standards. Committing to these high-security standards fosters trust among customers and stakeholders alike.

Reap these benefits by understanding the key elements to include when conducting your penetration test.

Perfecting The Penetration Test

The words penetration testing surrounded by laptops

Effective penetration testing – internal or external – thoroughly examines your company’s overall security landscape. It includes the following:


  • Gain knowledge of organization through publicly available/exposed information.
  • Scan for Hosts, Services, and devices connected to the internet/network.
  • Identify weaknesses (Accidental information leaks, open network ports, unsecured network devices, unpatched software, or anything else that could be vulnerable to an attack).

Service Discovery. After reconnaissance, a tester will dive deep into all the potential weaknesses they found using specialized tools to gain more information on the services that are relied on.

  • Fingerprinting, every device connected to the internet leaves a signature that penetration testers can pick up on to gain more insight on what exactly is running.
  • If external determine software running behind web applications and their specific versions. If internal, determining what exposed services are present and potentially exposed (ex. LDAP).
  • Communication Eavesdropping, testing to make sure all communications on the network are private and not suspect to potentially being “poisoned” giving attackers the ability to observe network traffic.

Vulnerability Scanning. After service discovery, vulnerability scans are performed, and CVSS/CVE documents are referenced to find potential vulnerabilities on the network.

  • The testers utilize automated tools to identify network vulnerabilities on all visible devices.
  • Check for misconfigurations, missed patches, services vulnerable to denial of service, and more.

Manual Assessment. Potential vulnerable services must be tested to see if the identified vulnerabilities are truly capable of being exploited.

  • Web/FTP/LDAP/DNS servers with vulnerabilities found will all have their respective vulnerabilities tested in order of severity.
  • Things like Firewalls/Routers/Switches/Cloud service are also tested to ensure that all devices responsible for network security are performing their functions properly.

Reporting. The most important part of any penetration test is the reporting process, and a professional report allows an organization to have its internal team remediate issues found in the report.

  • Retesting: After a penetration test is performed, and the organization has had time to remediate any known issues, retesting should be done to confirm all issues have been properly remediated.
  • Vulnerability Scanning. The testers utilize automated tools to identify network vulnerabilities. It checks for outdated software versions, misconfigurations, and potential entry points.
  • Social Engineering. This process simulates scenarios where employees may unwittingly divulge sensitive information. It includes tactics like phishing emails or phone calls that mimic common malicious tactics.
  • SQL Injection Testing. Pen testers deliberately inject manipulated SQL code to evaluate if the database is susceptible to unauthorized access or manipulation. SQL Injection is just one of many techniques used in application security testing. There are numerous other methods, including but not limited to XML External Entities (XXE), Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF), and Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR), each targeting different vulnerabilities.
  • Compliance Testing. These tests check adherence to a wide range of regulatory standards including PCI DSS, HIPAA, and CMMC among others. It involves simulated cyberattacks and assessments to gauge how well your security measures align with applicable regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Exploitable Vulnerabilities Identification. The process includes risk prioritization, detailed reporting with remediation recommendations, collaborative efforts for implementation, and post-remediation verification.

Note: These components form the core of a penetration test. It’s essential to tailor the process to your industry and specific security needs. It is important to remember that while some organizations seek to strengthen their overall security posture, others may be more focused on ensuring adherence to specific regulatory guidelines.

Elevate Security Assurance With 7Tech’s Cutting-Edge Mini Penetration Testing

The primary purpose of the mini penetration test is to help you establish a robust, impenetrable digital defense. It’s an intricate method of detecting vulnerabilities, assessing risks, and solidifying security controls.

Are you looking to strengthen your digital security without the headache of in-house management? With 7tech, you can streamline the network testing process from a new, unbiased perspective. Our strategic collaboration with our clients simplifies cybersecurity without compromising on expertise or objectivity.

Penetration testing is important for long-term success. Start ethical hacking, prevent security breaches, and ensure your digital future with us. Book a call with our team to learn more.