What’s the difference between a cyber security review & pen testing?
When an organisation is looking to find out how effective its cyber security systems and personnel are, penetration testing and cyber security reviews (CSR) are the best places to start.
To businesses that are unfamiliar or inexperienced when it comes to cyber security, though, the differences can be confusing. As well as the differences, it can be confusing to know whether or not you need to conduct both services or just one.
In this article, we are going to cover the main differences between the two, as well as closely define what each service provides to your business. We will also discuss why it’s important to regularly test your organisation’s cyber security systems.
What is a cyber security review (CSR)?
A cyber security review provides an in-depth assessment of your organisation’s cyber security systems. Crucially, it assesses the ability of your team to protect your most important digital assets from cyber-attacks.
Wizard Cyber bases its CSR on the Centre for Internet Security’s (CIS) controls. These are a series of best practices that provide a clear path for improving your organisation’s cyber security. Generally, a cyber security review will measure your business’ current systems and processes against these controls and assess where you can improve.
As well as this, we conduct a variety of investigations and additional assessments to ensure that any vulnerabilities are mapped, and potential cyber threats are modelled and investigated.
After a CSR is completed, your organisation will have a much better idea of where you can improve and how you can move your cyber security forward.
What is a penetration test?
Unlike a CSR, a pen test involves simulating a variety of cyber-attacks on your organisation’s IT system. Often, this will involve using the same tools or techniques that a cybercriminal would use when trying to breach your system.
As it’s a simulation, there won’t be any damage to the system, but it will highlight any vulnerabilities or backdoors that could be used by attacks in the future. This enables you to fix these vulnerabilities and make your system far more difficult to breach.
A pen test comes in a variety of different forms. External tests target components within your network that are accessible from the internet publicly, whereas an internal test simulates an attack by an insider within your organisation. There are a variety of other tests, which target different aspects or niches of your network.
What are the differences?
The main difference between a CSR and a pen test is that one is theoretically based and the other isn’t. CSRs are conducted using frameworks and guides to assess how your organisation operates from a process perspective. Whereas a pen test involves simulating an attack on your systems.
Both provide crucial strategic insights and actionable roadmaps for improvement. They do provide different outcomes, though, and compliment each other perfectly. Therefore, it’s always advised to conduct both CSR and penetration testing when you are looking to test your organisation’s cyber security systems or personnel.
We always advise our customers to be as vigilant as possible when it comes to protecting their business’ critical assets. Regular penetration testing and CSRs are crucial to maintaining a high level of readiness.
Typically, an organisation should look to conduct a full suite of cyber security reviews and testing annually. If your organisation relies on particularly sensitive data or has a large amount of public-facing infrastructure, it’s advisable to do conduct these every six months.
If you are looking to conduct CSR or penetration testing for your business, get in touch with Wizard Cyber today. Our cyber security experts will be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you might have.