The Penetration Testing Imperative for Modern Products

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Last updated on June 24th, 2024

Lately, enterprise leaders are increasingly speaking about penetration testing tools and different penetration testing types. Studies point out that the market for penetration testing will be worth over USD 3 billion by 2026 globally. 

But before we go into why penetration testing is gaining traction, let’s look at the state of digital transformation and security driving this surge in penetration testing services.

COVID-19 Impact and the Security Imperative

Over the past decade, digitization has been the central pillar of growth for nearly every business. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, almost every business sector, from retail to entertainment, witnessed the lion’s share of their business happening through digital channels. While normalcy is slowly returning, the digital traits acquired by consumers are likely to remain at large. 

While enterprises rushed to match customer expectations in a digital-first business model, the most significant transition for enterprise technology was the shift to a productized roadmap for all digital applications. The need to continuously upgrade and launch new features prompted tech leaders to foster a culture of product-led digital strategy

As such, nearly every business today has several digital products or apps powering their core business channels. While the digital product revolution certainly empowers businesses with numerous advantages, a new breed of risks and challenges have also sprung up along with it.

Cyber threats are today one of the biggest fears of top management. In 2021, weekly reported cyber-attacks on corporate networks jumped by 50% compared to 2020.

As the digital imperative drills deeper into business strategies, more customer data is acquired, processed, stored within multiple enterprise systems, and accessed by different software products. Any breach or unauthorized access to customer data can prove to be one of the worst imaginable nightmares with respect to the current market dynamics. 

Privacy laws and regulations like the GDPR mandate enterprises to safeguard and respect the data and credentials of customers. Failure to do so can invite penalties that can bankrupt even large organizations.

The best-known remedy or strategy for any cyber risk is “Prevention is better than cure.” As the saying goes, enterprises must seek to prevent attacks from happening rather than searching for remedies once an attack has happened. 

This puts the focus back on building applications that guarantee freedom from vulnerabilities and risks before they are launched to the market. This is where penetration testing becomes a key ally for enterprises.

What is Penetration Testing?

Suppose the vulnerability was left unattended post-launch to market. In that case, it creates a perfect point for hackers or cyber criminals to exploit and enter the more extensive digital landscape of the enterprise. 

In that light, penetration testing, known widely as ethical hacking, is a practice of exploring or assessing a digital application and the associated enterprise network to discover any potential risks or vulnerabilities that may have occurred during the development phase. 

The scope and scale of a penetration testing initiative may vary depending on the enterprise’s digital ecosystem. It could be as small as testing a single web application to as large as assessing the entire end-to-end technology landscape of the organization. 

Nevertheless, penetration testing is critical for enterprises in today’s increased product-led digital-savvy operations. This explains why its global market is expected to reach $3 billion by 2026 – up from $1.6 billion in 2021.  

Let us explore why penetration testing is an imperative for modern product development:

Compliance Enforcement

Compliance or regulatory pressure is one of the biggest hurdles enterprises faces in the digital economy. During penetration testing, all facets of the product are assessed for data and privacy compliance as mandated by geographic and demographic requirements. 

Once assessed, enterprises can leverage the successful testing report to their advantage and build trust amongst both government regulators when launching new products and customers who may be hesitant to part with their data for fear of breaches.

Eliminates Vulnerabilities

By strategically embedding penetration testing as a critical part of every product development lifecycle stage, enterprises can ultimately eliminate any high-risk point of exposure that may have been exploited if left unattended. 

Penetration testing is not just about code and digital infrastructure. It focuses on eliminating threats by examining standards used, practices followed, and workflows practiced by different stakeholders that leverage a product. Thus, it can vet every possible system behavior for security.

Facilitates Agility

We have seen how remote work became a norm during the pandemic. When employees and critical digital infrastructure move away from the stronghold of protected enterprise networks and into employee home networks, there are dangers lurking in the backdoor. 

With penetration testing is being encouraged as a continuous practice for all digital applications leveraged in-house, all potential target points for exploitation can be identified and fortified. This is realized using techniques like multi-stage authorization, restricted access privileges and permissions, encryption, etc. 

Moreover, employees can be made aware of best practices to prevent any dangerous behavior from their side that may lead to unauthorized entry by criminals into the enterprise system. In short, penetration testing enables organizations to have an agile digital ecosystem running on cloud infrastructure and manageable from anywhere without fear of security risks.

Benefits of Penetration Testing

Penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, is a proactive approach to identifying vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and applications. By simulating attacks from malicious outsiders or insiders, organizations can uncover security weaknesses before they are exploited by real attackers. This proactive approach offers several key benefits:

  • Identifies Security Weaknesses: Pinpoints vulnerabilities and misconfigurations that could be exploited by attackers.

  • Enhances Security Controls: Helps in fine-tuning security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, etc.

  • Assesses Compliance Requirements: Ensures that systems meet regulatory and industry compliance requirements.

  • Reduces Business Risks: Minimizes the likelihood of security breaches and their associated impacts on business operations.

  • Improves Incident Response: Enhances the organization’s ability to detect and respond to security incidents promptly.

  • Builds Customer Trust: Demonstrates a commitment to security, reassuring customers and partners.

  • Cost-Effective: Helps in prioritizing security investments based on real-world risks and threats.

Wrapping Up

Eliminating security vulnerabilities of any scale will be a critical goal for every business with a digital presence. In 2021, research on full-stack web vulnerabilities found that nearly 20.4% of the discovered vulnerabilities were in the high-risk category. This meant that they had the potential to compromise highly critical customer-facing services or data.
With penetration testing, modern product development can be a more secure experience for enterprises. However, enterprises need to have suitable penetration testing types and strategies executed with the right penetration testing tools to experience success. This is where our penetration testing as a service offering can help make a difference. Get in touch to know more.


Why is Penetration Testing important?

Penetration Testing helps organizations uncover security weaknesses before malicious attackers do, allowing proactive security measures to be implemented.

What are the types of Penetration Testing?

Common types include network penetration testing, web application penetration testing, mobile application penetration testing, and social engineering tests.

What are the key phases of a Penetration Test?

A typical Penetration Test involves planning and reconnaissance, scanning, exploitation, maintaining access, and analysis and reporting.

What are the deliverables of a Penetration Test?

The main deliverables include a detailed report of vulnerabilities discovered, risk assessment, and recommendations for improving security.

How does Penetration Testing differ from vulnerability scanning?

Penetration Testing involves simulating real-world attacks to exploit vulnerabilities, while vulnerability scanning focuses on identifying and categorizing vulnerabilities.

What are the benefits of conducting Penetration Testing?

Benefits include improved security posture, compliance with regulations, protection of sensitive data, and enhanced trust with stakeholders.

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