With organizations’ movement to digitize data and automate operations, coupled with the money that stands to be made from selling data on the dark web, hackers are highly motivated to steal what we have made available to them. It's no longer a matter of if you will experience a cybersecurity incident, but a matter of when.

Since even the most rigorous security program is imperfect, your business needs to be prepared to respond to an incident. A robust incident response (IR) plan prepares your organization to quickly mobilize around minimizing the impacts of a breach. And a penetration test is a key way to prepare for and test your plan to ensure it’s relevant to your organization.


It Pays to be Prepared

Security breaches can be expensive. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach of companies worldwide is $3.92 million with an average data breach of over 25,000 records per incident. If your company is based in the U.S., that average number rises to $8.92 million.

Time is a factor that significantly affects the cost of an attack, meaning a breach can cost much more depending on how long it takes to detect and respond to it. The Ponemon study found that companies that contain a breach within 30 days can save more than $1 million dollars in comparison with those who take longer.

A relevant incident response plan strengthens your organization by putting it in a position to apply rigor to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from network breaches much more quickly than without one or one that is irrelevant to the organization (such as a free downloaded template).

Related Reading: Dealing with a Discovered Vulnerability


Using Pen Testing to Proactively Improve Incident Response

Preparing for your IR plan development often takes the most time and effort in your incident response planning process, but this is the most crucial step in the initiative to protect your organization. Using penetration testing to simulate the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of real-world attackers allows you to discover your critical vulnerabilities in time to remediate them before they are exploited.

Conducting a vulnerability assessment and pen test as part of your preparation to create a robust incident response plan serves two purposes:

  1. Allows you to train through assorted scenarios
  2. Reveals gaps so you can prevent a breach from occurring in the first place


Red Team/Blue Team: Train through practice

Hackers are crafty and have a lot more time to conceive unexpected ways to infiltrate your network than you have to fight them. But thinking through the various scenarios your company may face can be an invaluable exercise.

A red team/blue team penetration test is an exercise where the attacking team, or “red team”, tests the effectiveness of a security plan. These teams emulate the behaviors and techniques of likely attackers, designed to be as realistic as possible. The defending team, or “blue team”, is the internal security team charged with stopping these simulated attacks.

This type of penetration testing allows you to play out different possibilities to be sure your tools work together with the way you think they do to reveal gaps, validate controls and ensure you configured everything correctly.


Breach Prevention: How to Avoid an Incident

Since preventing a breach in the first place is ultimately your best line of defense, performing a penetration test before an attack is the best time to discover vulnerabilities. While this won’t make you completely immune to an attack, advancing the maturity of your security model with a penetration test will help to ward off attackers.

Related Reading: Cybersecurity Begins in the C-Suite

Applying critical thinking and creativity to identify flawed logic, misconfigurations, vulnerability chaining, and more within a defined methodology to assess your environment tests your organization's security maturity as well as your ability to detect and respond to an attack.

If developing, testing, organizing, or just updating your organization's incident response plan seems to fall to number 4 on your top 3 "To-Dos" list, we can help. Avertium's security analysts assist with both the IR planning process and execution on identifying vulnerabilities through penetration testing.

Download our IR plan e-book to learn everything you need to know to build an effective incident response plan.



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