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What is a penetration test?

How do I carry out an intrusion test?

Penetration testing is an essential IT security assessment method for any company. These tests simulate real-life cyber-attacks, with the aim of identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in systems and networks.


The aim is to detect and correct these vulnerabilities before they are exploited by hackers. By carrying out penetration tests, companies can strengthen their defenses against cyberattacks, improve their security posture and effectively protect their critical data and infrastructures. These assessments play a crucial role in cybersecurity strategy, providing a clear view of potential risks and enabling the adoption of appropriate corrective measures.


To carry out an intrusion test, it is essential to follow a structured process, from planning to analysis of the results:


  1. Scope definition: Identify the systems, networks and applications to be tested.
  2. Reconnaissance: Gather information about the target to prepare for simulated attacks.
  3. Simulated attacks: Execute intrusion attempts to discover vulnerabilities.
  4. Exploitation: Attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities found to assess the potential impact on security.
  5. Penetration testing report: Write a report detailing the vulnerabilities identified, their severity and recommend corrective measures.
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Penetration tests are security assessments that simulate real-life attacks to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in a company's IT systems. Here's why you should plan them now:


  • Proactive vulnerability identification: Penetration testing identifies potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses in a company's IT systems before they can be exploited in a cyber attack. They enable preventive measures to be put in place to reinforce security and minimize risk.


  • Prioritizing corrective measures: By pinpointing critical vulnerabilities, intrusion testing helps to prioritize corrective measures. They help to identify the most urgent vulnerabilities and focus efforts on the most sensitive security areas.


  • Improving overall security posture: Pentest helps to improve a company's overall security posture by identifying vulnerabilities, gaps and weaknesses. By correcting these weaknesses, the company strengthens its resistance to attacks and protects itself more effectively against threats.


  • In-depth knowledge of the security environment: Penetration testing provides in-depth knowledge of a company's security environment. They reveal which systems, applications, networks and configurations are potentially exposed to security risks. This in-depth knowledge enables critical assets to be better managed, and appropriate security measures to be put in place.


  • Assessment of detection and response mechanisms: Intrusion testing puts your monitoring, intrusion detection and incident response capabilities to the test. They enable you to identify any gaps or failures in your processes, and therefore offer the opportunity to improve your response time to cyber-attacks.


  • Confidence-building: Regular pentests demonstrate a company's commitment to the security of its systems and data. They reinforce the confidence of your customers, suppliers and business partners, as appropriate security measures are put in place to protect their confidential information.


  • Compliance with legal requirements: Penetration testing is an excellent tool to help companies comply with IT security regulations and standards, as it verifies that the required security controls are in place and operating correctly. They therefore avoid the risks of non-compliance, legal sanctions, and protect the company's reputation.

Penetration tests, essential for assessing the security of IT infrastructures, come in three main types, each offering a unique perspective on a company's security posture:


  • External penetration testing: Simulates attacks launched from outside the company to identify vulnerabilities accessible via the Internet, such as phishing, web services and e-mail servers.
  • Internal penetration test: Focuses on internal risks, simulating an attacker who already has access to the internal network. This type aims to determine how far an attacker could penetrate the network.
  • Web application penetration testing: Specifically evaluates web applications for security flaws such as SQL injections or XSS vulnerabilities, which could compromise user data.


Each type of intrusion test plays a crucial role in identifying security weaknesses, enabling companies to adopt targeted corrective measures.

Determining the right frequency to perform a pentest, also known as a penetration test, is essential to an effective cybersecurity strategy. Here are some guidelines:


  • Annually: Performing at least one penetration test per year is highly recommended to identify and correct vulnerabilities. For companies in highly regulated or sensitive sectors, consider semi-annual pentests.
  • After major changes: After a significant upgrade of IT systems, or following the introduction of new applications or technologies.
  • Incident response: Following a security incident, perform a test to validate the effectiveness of corrective measures.
  • Compliance and insurance: Align intrusion test frequency with insurers' cybersecurity requirements and industry-specific compliance standards.


Adapting the frequency of penetration tests to the unique needs and evolution of a company's IT environment ensures optimal protection against cyber threats.

An IT security audit is a comprehensive assessment that examines an organization's policies, procedures and technical security measures to ensure overall security compliance and effectiveness.


Therefore, a penetration test, or pentest, is a more targeted approach that simulates realistic cyberattacks to identify exploitable vulnerabilities in systems, networks and applications.


Whereas an audit offers a broad analysis, a pentest represents a concrete simulation of risks, and focuses on identifying and rectifying specific technical flaws.

In addition to its penetration testing services, Solulan offers a wide range of cybersecurity solutions to meet all corporate needs:


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