All businesses are at risk of a data breach, no matter the size. Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) may actually be more at risk because they may not have the sophisticated cybersecurity programs or as many IT experts on staff as large companies. Additionally, data breaches cost companies millions of dollars each year, which could put many small to midsized companies out of business. Data breaches are estimated to cost $6 trillion in damages by 2021, so SMBs will need to do what they can to prevent them. Therefore, penetration testing is the key for SMBs because it can detect vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity program.

Penetration Testing for SMBs

Many small or midsized businesses forego testing because it can be a large cost and time investment (taking a couple of weeks to complete). However, the question becomes, can SMBs really afford not to run a penetration test if it can help shore up their cyber defense program and make them less likely to be a victim of a data breach? Of course, the answer is no. SMBs should make room in their IT budget; Here are a few tips to ensuring you get the most out of penetration testing.

Define your most critical assets and test those first. You need to analyze the cost of your most critical assets, the impact of losing those assets and the extended costs that an organization may face, such as a loss of business. Through penetration testing, you will identify vulnerabilities and avenues of attack, giving you the tools to protect those assets.

Determine potential threats. For example, if you have external applications that are accessed by users outside of your company, those should be considered higher risk than internal applications that are only used or accessed by employees. More exposure means more risk. If you know what is more vulnerable to breach, you can focus the pen test on those applications.

Listen to the experts once the penetration test is complete. A penetration test will highlight your organization’s areas of greatest weakness – essentially highlighting where to spend your cybersecurity budget. Without penetration testing to guide you, you would spend more money across a wider range of security tools. Plus, it will help your organization justify the budgetary spend prior to investing in a new project if the penetration testing report backs up the need. Therefore, while penetration testing is a large upfront cost, it can actually save your SMB money in the long run by making your organization operate more cost-effectively.

Know your company’s compliance requirements. A number of framework standards require your company to run a pen test annually, such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and 201 CMR 17.00. To be compliant, you have to run a penetration test on any application that has access to the sensitive information.

Moving Forward with Penetration Testing

Now that you know the benefits of a penetration test for SMBs and how it can save you money on your cyber defenses, it is time to run one – at least on your most critical applications. SubRosa Cyber Solutions’ will help you identify the weaknesses and flaws in your infrastructure and help you safeguard against potential avenues of attack.