Penetration testing is like a health check-up for your business. You learn whether your information assets are laden with any sort of infection, or if it’s easily susceptible to one. Malicious hackers have their hands on a host of powerful tools and techniques to probe your systems for vulnerabilities and exploit them.
To safeguard your enterprise from cybercriminals, you need to apply similar techniques to test your security and root out the vulnerabilities. Hence, you need to learn about the best penetration testing tools. Before we start our inquiry of the various tools at our disposal, let’s understand penetration testing a little better.
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What does penetration testing mean?
In simple terms, penetration testing is the process of simulating a real-world cyberattack on your computer system to check for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. The main objective of carrying out such tests is to identify and then fix any security issues in the system before they can be exploited by malicious actors.
A penetration testing or pentest involves automated scanners as well as the expertise of manual pentesters. While the scanner can probe your systems by referencing a vulnerability database to detect common vulnerabilities, a manual pentester enters the system to ensure the vulnerabilities are genuine and look for other security loopholes that might have been missed by the automated scanner.
4 reasons why a business needs penetration testing
To check the efficacy of the security controls in place: All businesses, whether big or small, have some security controls in place. These could be in the form of firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and so on. However, it is essential to ensure that these security controls are working as they should. This is where penetration testing comes into the picture.
To ensure compliance with industry best practices and security standards: Industry best practices and security standards such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001, etc., lay down specific requirements for organizational security. For instance, PCI DSS requires regular penetration testing of the systems that store, process, or transmit cardholder data.
To reduce the risk of business disruption: In today’s digitized world, even a small security breach can cause significant business disruptions. For instance, the Equifax data breach that happened in 2017 resulted in the loss of personal information of around 147 million people. To avoid such situations, it is essential to conduct penetration tests and fix any vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers.
To assess the organization’s incident response plan: An incident response plan is a set of procedures that an organization follows to deal with a security breach. By simulating a real-world attack, penetration testing can help assess the effectiveness of an organization’s incident response plan.
Now that we know the importance of penetration testing, let’s look at some of the best tools available for conducting such tests
Now that we know what penetration testing is and why businesses need it, let’s look at some factors you need to consider when choosing a pentest tool.
How are the best penetration testing tools different from the lot?
Ease of use: The best penetration testing tools are easy to use and don’t require you to have any prior experience or technical expertise.
Compatibility: The tool should be compatible with the systems you want to test.
Reporting: The tool should generate comprehensive pentest reports that highlight all the vulnerabilities found during the test along with recommendations for fixing them.
Pricing: The tool should be affordable and offer good value for money.
These points aside, there are other specific conveniences that you should look for while choosing the best penetration testing tool for your business. For instance, a compliance monitoring feature built into your pentest tool can save you a lot of headaches. Similarly, a pentest tool that can scan behind the logged-in pages without requiring you to authenticate the scanner time and time again is a blessing.
Some of the best penetration testing tools in the market
This is not an exhaustive list. The goal here is to help you familiarize yourself with various functionalities and features that are found in the best penetration testing tools.
Astra’s Pentest: It is an automated pentesting tool that requires no prior experience or technical expertise. It is compatible with most systems and comes with a compliance monitoring feature.
Netsparker: It is an easy-to-use pentest tool that can scan behind logged-in pages without requiring authentication each time. It is also compatible with most systems and comes with a comprehensive reporting feature.
Burp Suite: It is a popular pentesting tool that comes with a wide range of features and functionalities. It is compatible with most systems and offers good value for money.
Nessus: It is a widely used pentesting tool that offers a wide range of features and is compatible with most systems.
Now you know what to look for in a penetration testing tool and how to choose the right one for you. There are a lot of tools to choose from, and each one of them concentrates its effort on different aspects. Some are great with remediation support, one may have a super simple user interface, and one may have a powerful scanner. Some tools like Astra’s pentest, have it all. The sooner you get your first pentest the better.