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5 Popular Types of Penetration Testing for SaaS Businessesby@kanishkt23
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5 Popular Types of Penetration Testing for SaaS Businesses

by Kanishk TagadeSeptember 5th, 2021
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Many SaaS businesses struggle to secure their organizations and are at risk of a cyber-attack. One way to strengthen the existing security system is by conducting regular penetration tests. The testing also involves network analysis, packet sniffing, port scanning and listening and listening to web traffic. The ultimate goal of conducting network penetration testing is to eliminate the chances of any possible customer data breach. This helps organizations to protect their customer data and also saves them from paying hefty GDPR fines. To implement penetration testing, you can carry out any one of these tests.

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If you are running a SaaS business, you know that security is everything. Nowadays, we can see so many different cyberattacks and their variants. Many SaaS businesses struggle to secure their organization and are at risk of a cyber-attack.


So, what should you do about it?


One way to strengthen the existing security system is by conducting regular penetration tests. However, there are different types of penetration testing that you may consider to strengthen the security of your SaaS platform. This outlines the same:

What Is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, as the name suggests, is a process of stimulating different attacks against a system in order to uncover and fix vulnerabilities and misconfiguration errors that are hidden in it.


You can roughly divide penetration testing into 3 phases:


1) Reconnaissance: This phase entails gathering information about the system from different sources. The testers then use it to strategize the exploitation.


2) Scanning: In this phase, testers use various scanning tools to spot vulnerabilities and points of entry.


3) Exploitation: Finally, the testers exploit all the vulnerabilities and note how much damage they can cause.


To implement penetration testing, you can carry out any one of these tests or a combination of them:


  • White Box Test: This test focuses on internal errors, design, and codes. Testers know about the internal working structure and use it to find errors.


  • Black Box Test: In this test, the testers do not require knowledge about the internal working structure or code. It focuses on external errors.


  • Gray Box Test: Gray box testing is essentially a combination of the two. So, the tester has partial knowledge about the internal workings and tries to uncover both internal and external threats.


5 Types of Penetration Testing


1. Web Application Penetration Testing


This type of penetration testing pertains to uncovering vulnerabilities in web applications. According to experts, 90% of web applications can be easily exploited. Moreover, 84% of the successful attacks are due to misconfigurations in the security system. Hence, it is important to conduct penetration testing for your web application.


While conducting a web application penetration test, the tester looks into the source code, the database, and the webserver. There might be many bugs in the code that hackers can exploit to gain access to your web application. Hence, pen testing is done to uncover and fix these bugs before hackers try to exploit them.


2. Network Penetration Testing


Network penetration testing is one of the major types of penetration testing used by service providers that offer SaaS applications. It focuses on penetrating the company’s IT network infrastructure and networking devices such as printers, routers, servers, switches, firewalls, etc.


The ultimate goal of conducting network penetration testing is to eliminate the chances of any possible customer data breach. Therefore, it helps organizations to protect their customer data and also saves them from paying hefty GDPR fines.



Since this type of penetration testing deals with the network layer, the tester looks for misconfigurations, faulty encryptions, DNS level attacks, brute-force login, etc. The testing also involves network analysis, packet sniffing, port scanning and listening, observing web traffic, and many other techniques.


Network pentesting has two subparts, internal and external. I would recommend you conduct both tests annually.


You can use Metasploit, Nmap, Nikto, Nessus, and many other tools to conduct an efficient network penetration test.


3. Cloud Penetration Testing


While talking about the types of penetration testing that SaaS vendors can implement, we cannot simply leave out the penetration testing for the cloud infrastructure.


Cloud penetration testing comprises planned and simulated attacks against a system hosted by a cloud service. By doing so, you can assess how strong the existing cloud security system is against a wide range of cyberattacks.


While conducting a cloud penetration test, the testers focus on internal cloud networks, virtual machines that are hosted on the cloud, security configurations, and external cloud services. They also look into user privileges and access key exposures. Performing cloud penetration testing can ultimately provide SaaS security for the vendors.


A few of the tools and services you can use are Nettitude, Coalfire, and NetSPI.


4. Physical Penetration Testing

When your organization stores a lot of data, you can’t expect all your threats to come from the cyber world alone. Truly, physical security is just as important. So, this type of penetration testing tests physical security like alarms, sensors, cameras, locks, fences etc.


Physical penetration tests are carried out like all the other types of penetration testing. First, information regarding the various assets is gathered. Then, the testers plan the attack accordingly.


During this test, the testers also look into staff members. Finally, they infiltrate the organization. Some physical penetration testing service providers are Redteam Security, onsecurity.io, etc.


5. Social Engineering Penetration Testing

Lastly, let’s talk about social engineering penetration tests. About 93% of successful data breaches occur due to social engineering attacks. Social engineering involves manipulating people in order to successfully carry out a cyber attack. Some common social engineering attacks are:


  • phishing and vishing

  • clickjacking/clickbaiting

  • tailgating

  • eavesdropping

  • pretexting


Social engineering penetration tests help you prepare your staff members to deal with social engineering attacks. In fact, the test records how each employee reacts to such attacks and uses this data to educate them on the topic.


Conclusion

Penetration testing is a common security practice that helps you secure your SaaS business. However, there are different types of penetration testing that focus on different layers and aspects of security. Therefore, it is vital to integrate all of them while conducting penetration testing for your internet-facing applications and networks.