What to Look For
Successful and continuous testing and training expose security and IT pros to anomalous activity they'd not be able to recognise otherwise. It's necessary to be able to answer questions like, "What does suspicious activity look like on my network?" or "What security alerts require immediate action?" The more they see, the more refined their eye becomes-it's all about a proactive approach paired with repetition.
Which raises the question, what is considered a good test? It starts with accurately reflecting the widest range of attack types in live operation. It is also important to create an accurate sandbox to test in so that it can be as close to reality as possible. The more accurate the environment, the better prepared IT and security teams will be. Realistic depictions better prepare employees as new malware, phishing, and DDoS attack types emerge every day-not to mention it helps keep up with evolving typical application behaviour.
More specifically, function and system testing should be at the heart of any programme following the development cycle test process. Quality of service, performance, and resilience all benefit along with security as a result.
Some companies take shortcuts, like using internally generated attacks or crowdsourced probes to attack their networks. Just as bad, some have the development team create and run their own test scenarios. While this can give the illusion that everything is good, it creates a false sense of security-a single scenario only protects you from one type of attack.
The key is not to stop at the minimum when it comes to security testing and training. Developers spend lots of time building great features; why not spend time training teams on how to use them? Limited or biased tests can easily overlook glaring flaws.
Ultimately, the right approach to testing can make networks robust and prepare IT teams for real-world attack situations, helping minimise response times and the negative impact on the business. As breaches now seem to be coming from every direction, testing needs to come to the foreground, from the development stages to when products sit directly in the line of fire.
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