Network Penetration Testing- Safeguarding the Global Corporate
Technological innovations and advancements over the years has made information technology an integral part of today's business environment. As organizations moved to becoming global enterprises, the virtualization of the desktops as well as anywhere anytime access to the workstations and corporate networks through cloud computing services became the trend. However, such access to the corporate data and network also brought with it challenges for the enterprises in the form of network security lapses and vulnerability to the business critical data.
In today's aggressively competitive environment, enterprises need to take measures to withstand the cyber threats that can penetrate the network through any security lapses. enterprises thus make use of number of testing tools and vulnerability scanners to locate any loopholes in the network security systems. With new vulnerabilities emerging each passing day, enterprises need to make use of network penetration testing solutions to continuously monitor and manage their network and systems. Statistics of data breaches showcases that malicious attacks accounted for nearly 40 percent of the recorded breaches in 2011 and nearly one-quarter (25.8 percent) of the data breaches are results of hacking attacks( source: Identity Theft Resource Center's '2011 Breach Report).
Wikipedia defines network penetration testing as "a method of evaluating the security of a computer system or network by simulating an attack from malicious outsiders (who do not have an authorized means of accessing the organization's systems) and malicious insiders (who have some level of authorized access)." In an era when enterprises adopt remote data access techniques through cloud computing services, the network penetration tools or the ethical hacking tools allow enterprises to discover information about networks by interfering with traffic on the network.
The managed service providers make use of the network penetration testing software to check the security or performance gaps in a client network. With a set of standard functions which includes gathering information about a network's topology, scanning for port vulnerabilities and launching denial-of-service attacks the network penetration tool gives an overview of the network and facilitates to pinpoint the weak links along the network. Today as the corporate LAN/WAN environments allows end-users anytime access to the network and critical information with fewer security controls, internal threats poses greatest risk for today's widely networked organizations . Most data centers with large and complex infrastructure catering to either one corporate or a number of small and medium enterprises use traditional penetration testing disciplines such as the network penetration testing and the server penetration testing.
The network penetration testing techniques are used to check the vulnerabilities and loophole in routers switches, and firewalls. The server pen test on the other hand is used for checking the operating systems and applications. Further, with advancement in technology, has brought in advanced tools for application penetration, wireless, virtualization as well as database.
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