What is Penetration Testing & How will it prevent your next data breach?

by Editor

What is Breach of Data & Pentesting & Why Should All HCIT Demand It?

Businesses of all sizes have become increasingly reliant on workforce mobility, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital media as technology advances. Data breaches have gained widespread popularity as sensitive business data is stored on local machines, cloud servers, and enterprise databases. Breaching a company’s data has become as simple as gaining access to restricted networks.

Healthcare businesses may have technology and policies in place to prevent data theft, but finding every security flaw is tough.
To assist defend your network and electronic Patient Health Information (PHI), look at your environment through the eyes of a hacker. Penetration testing, often known as ethical hacking, is the process of examining network settings, finding potential vulnerabilities, and attempting to exploit those weaknesses in the same way that a hacker would. These people, on the other hand, are on your side.

Penetration testing is important for your security and can help you comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Before proceeding further, let’s first have a brief introduction about the breach of data.

What is a data breach?

A data breach is a security incident that results in the disclosure of protected or secret data. It may involve the loss or theft of your credit card numbers or bank account information, Social Security number, password or emails, and personal health information. Data breaches can have a wide range of consequences for both businesses and individuals. These are costly expenses that can damage reputations and take time to repair.

Corporations and businesses are attractive targets to cybercriminals due to a large amount of sensitive data. More and more information has been moving to the digital world as technology progresses. A data breach can be accidental or intentional. Cybercriminals hack the company database where you have shared your personal information, or an employee of that company may expose your data accidentally on the Internet.

Recent Data Breach Statistics

Healthcare businesses are faced with a plethora of possible security risks in today’s ever-changing (and sometimes turbulent) cyber landscape, particularly those that target personal data. More than 1000 data breaches were reported to the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2020. It’s shocking that many firms aren’t putting enough money into their cybersecurity strategy, given the tremendous increase in incidents this year alone.

“Where should we target our IT budgets to avoid a repetition of 2021 and avoid exposing enormous volumes of patient data in the future year?” is the issue as we approach 2022.

According to research, the average cost to a company of a data breach is $3.86 million. Since the COVID-19 pandemic situation has forced companies to move their businesses online, there has been a significant increase in data breaches. A recent Kaspersky report says that around 726 million reported cyber-attacks occurred since the start of the year 2020.

The rapid adoption of remote working in all businesses created large gaps in cybersecurity, due to which there is an increase in cyberattacks and security threats. According to a cybersecurity company Malwarebyte’s report, remote working caused nearly 20% of cybersecurity incidents in 2020. The report also showed that remote workers use their devices instead of ones issued by their companies.

A network security vulnerability is a flaw or weakness that can be exploited by hackers to perform unauthorized actions. Malicious software or malware is developed with the intent of harming companies and individuals by doing data breaches. Malware attacks have become more sophisticated with the rising trend of machine learning and targeted phishing emails. 92% of the malware is delivered by email. Web-based and malware attacks are the two most costly types of attacks. Companies spent an average of U.S $2.4 million in defense.

The average cost of data breaches to organizations worldwide is $3.86 million. It takes companies an average of 207 days to identify data breaches. Data breaches have become more persuasive in the interconnected world, so it is important to understand modern-day cyberattacks. Here are some of the most recent data breaches or cyber-attacks in 2020.

  • In dark web crime forums, nearly 500,000 stolen Zoom passwords are available for sale in 2020.
  • MGM Resorts suffered a massive data breach that leaked 142 million personal details of guests.
  • The hotel Marriot faced a security breach in 2020, resulting in the leak of more than 5.2 million guests who used the company’s loyalty application.
  • Twitter breach well-coordinated scam made cybercriminals steal $121,000 in Bitcoin through 300 transactions.
  • Magellan Health was stuck by a data breach and a ransomware attack stating that 365,000 patients were affected due to a sophisticated cyber-attack.

What is Pentesting or Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is the manual process of assessing a network or an application for security vulnerabilities. It is a method to explore your IT environment and identify how cybercriminals or hackers can exploit the exposed vulnerabilities. Pentesting is also known as ethical hacking. It involves your penetration testers mimicking the attacker’s act with permission.

How pentesting can help prevent data breaches?

Hiring an ethical hacker to get into your network, website, Wi-Fi, or any other component of your infrastructure is a type of penetration testing that can help you find important weaknesses before they are exploited. Although time-consuming, the procedure can save money and protect a company’s reputation from the financial and reputational damage that real-world hacking can do. Many compliance regimes, such as HIPAA, encourage or mandate regular testing.

One of the most common threats that companies face is insider threats. These include data breaches and malicious attacks to steal information or compromise systems. The loss of data can be mitigated or prevented with effective penetration testing. Only a few companies are aware of pentesting and its benefits, while others leave themselves open to data breaches.

The pentesting processes help you discover blind spots that attackers use to breach your cybersecurity network. It helps improve your security posture and allows you to prioritize the vulnerabilities based on possible risks associated with them. Penetration testing involves examining all possible attack surfaces before a real data breach.

The best way to protect your organization from cybercriminals is to detect the weaknesses before them. Identify the vulnerabilities first and then find ways to exploit them just as hackers do. You can do it by scanning your systems, network, operation systems, and applications.

How do GDPR and law impact the data breaches?

Under the GDPR, organizations that process EU personal data are responsible for disclosing data breaches to data protection authorities with a 72-hour notification deadline. It not only applies to European companies but also to an organization that does business in Europe or holds European personal data. It means that companies around the globe processing EU data need to prepare for compliance with GDPR.

Businesses all over the world have begun to strengthen their cybersecurity as a result of GDPR. Because if your company is not fully compliant with the law’s impact and new regulations on data security, then you are expected to lose a lot of money from GDPR fines. These are based on the severity of non-compliance and the negligence from a company that causes a data breach.

If the companies do not have the progress in place to notify the consumers within the deadline, they have to pay a fine of 10 million euros or 2 percent of annual global turnover. For the severe faults like violating the requirement of Privacy by Design or not obtaining the customer consent for data processing, the fine is raised to 20 million euros or 4 percent of annual global turnover.


The type of assaults to which a company is vulnerable is influenced by its IT environment. Defects in online browsers, software, operating systems, and server interfaces, for example, can enable attackers to obtain access to a system.

As a result, each security strategy should be adapted to the specific network environment. Independent penetration testing can reveal many of the flaws typically discovered in application code (especially home-grown varieties) and is the best way to spot flaws before they are deployed.

Penetration tests should be performed whenever your company makes a big network update. Determine what kind of penetration testing your environment requires (e.g., segmentation checks, internal, and/or external penetration tests), as well as who should do these tests e.g., in-house staff or you can partner with a security solutions provider to do it for you.

Penetration test reports usually include a long, thorough description of the attacks utilized, testing techniques, and remediation recommendations. Protected harbor addresses the recommendations in the penetration test report and patch the discovered vulnerabilities in priority order.

To avoid data breaches, Protected Harbor assists customers in closing security and compliance gaps. Our forensic, penetration testing and audit teams find best security practices and make compliance demands easier to understand (PCI DSS, HIPAA, HITRUST, GDPR). Contact us and take the next step to security.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Even More News