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The Best Practices of Security Testing

by Mic Johnson

As of early 2022, there’s one fact that cannot be stressed enough – we live in a time when cybersecurity should be a priority for every organization. Cyber attacks and data breaches are at an all-time high, so the damage they do can be irrevocable.

In fact, malicious attackers can steal sensitive data like a customer’s personal information or intellectual property like data assets. Thus, it’s safe to say that attacks like these will have a disastrous impact on your organization’s revenue and reputation, so you must do everything you can to prevent them. One of the critical processes in building solid cyber security in your organization is security testing – specifically application security testing, which is provided by companies like oxeye.io.

Defining Security Testing

Most experts agree that it’s difficult to put security testing under a definition, as the term encompasses many branches & sub-branches. In simple words, it is the process of identifying all the potential vulnerabilities, small and big risks, as well as threats in an IT environment. In this context, the goal of security testing is to detect weaknesses in a system so that all potential exploits can be prevented.

It allows organizations to understand the flaws in their structure, while also helping them take the necessary measures to address their exposures. If these vulnerabilities are not addressed properly, there is a risk of cyber attacks that might lead to the loss of data assets, eventually damaging the company’s revenue and reputation in the long run.

When broken down, security testing revolves around four main elements:

  • Data assets – which are the applications and software solutions that you are looking to protect, and the reason you are performing security testing in the first place.
  • Threats and vulnerabilities – are the flaws and weaknesses in your system that can be exploited by hackers and their malicious attacks. They can include everything from outdated operating systems and browsers to a lack of security controls or weak authentication.
  • Risk – in addition to the detection of flaws, security testing involves the evaluation of the identified vulnerabilities. This is done through a process known as risk assessment, and it helps with deciding priorities.
  • Remediation – or in simple terms, addressing the vulnerabilities by taking actions to protect the data assets.

Different Types of Security Testing

As we mentioned previously, security testing is a significant term that encompasses many sub-branches, so it’s no secret that there are many ways you can test the cyber security of your organization. Most experts agree that the following are the seven main types of security testing that are essential:

Vulnerability scanning

It is done with the help of an automated software solution. It scans for known vulnerabilities and detects them in your system.

Security scanning

This type of scanning scans for vulnerabilities in your network and system. It can be done both manually and automatically.

Penetration testing

Pentesting is a simulated malicious attack from a hacker. It requires an analysis of the vulnerabilities in your system to conduct a proper simulation.

Risk assessment

The process of assessing the risk in your company is done by inspecting the known security risks in your organization and then evaluating them by likelihood and impact. Then, they are prioritized and labeled as low, medium, and high risk.

Security auditing

By itself, security auditing is not done as frequently as the other types of security testing, though it still holds its place at reliable organizations. It is a comprehensive inspection of the software in your IT infrastructure and code in order to detect any security flaws.

Ethical hacking

This is a process similar to penetration testing, though, with ethical hacking, the “hacker” is free to use any exploits he can find in the system – not just the known vulnerabilities.

Posture assessment

Posture assessment encompasses the overall health of the cyber security in your organization. It can be assessed only after performing security scanning, ethical hacking, and risk assessment.

In this context, it is essential to note that legacy solutions are not effective when tasked to secure cloud-native applications. Due to the modern architecture of today’s IT infrastructure, the security solutions of the past miss critical vulnerabilities and detect a large number of false positives.

Security Testing Practices to Keep in Mind

Contrary to software testing, security testing aims to find unexpected behavior. When you are testing your app, you are making sure that your code is doing what it is supposed to do. Security testing requires a different way of looking into things. To properly test the security of your infrastructure, you want to look for functionalities that are not supposed to be there.

Namely, cybercriminals are looking for small details that they can exploit to breach your system and take advantage of it. Thus, only by looking for what is not supposed to be there can you find all the hidden vulnerabilities and address them appropriately.


Security testing is essential for the protection of the data assets of your organization. By regularly performing the proper security tests, you can learn and understand the flaws and vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. Once you know what kind of threats you are dealing with, you can adequately assess the risk of them being realized and what impact they will have on your company. Then, you can take proper action to remediate all the weaknesses and effectively prevent every potential cyber-attack on your systems.

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