VAPT in India and Why You May Need It

The penetration testing technique is quite famed in the cybersecurity arena for testing computer systems, networks or web applications to find vulnerabilities which could be misused by hackers to compromise overall security later. The testing usually happens in the form of a simulated attack against the organization’s IT assets to test its strength against such breaches, the responses initiated, and loopholes through which data leakages occur. 

Ethical hackers, who are professional and highly trained to deal with situations that occur during penetration tests, will go through the system in a highly detailed manner for security risks and weaknesses. This is to prevent an attacker from later sneaking through such vulnerabilities and targeting customer trust, confidentiality agreements, or integrity of the network and its data.

What does VAPT stand for?

Penetration testing is conducted in association with vulnerability assessments, hence called the VAPT process. Both combine to form a fairly detailed security process of testing that tests the strength of the existing infrastructure and mentions any risks and loopholes if present. The vulnerability assessment focuses on discovering the security vulnerabilities and risks of the system so that the company gets an idea of the weak points in its system. 

This is followed by the penetration testing which simulates a hacking attempt in various capacities (by gaining full knowledge of the system or white box testing, partial knowledge of the system or grey box testing, zero knowledge of the system or black box testing), where the information gained from the previous step is used. This step provides a rough picture of how the system will react when faced with a hacking attempt. 

Penetration tests are an important part – and necessity – for every full-scale security audit, as part of the compliance requirements, such as the Payments Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) which mandates once every 180 days. Often, this means penetration testing must be done on a regular basis, especially after any changes or additions to the system. 

If you’re browsing through penetration testing providers make sure to choose one that provides a bundle of important services such as testing of the firewall, server, network devices, endpoints, etc, external network vulnerability assessments, mobile app testing, web-based, and IoT penetration testing (if possible).

What do you seek to gain from penetration tests?

  1. To note the security vulnerabilities and loopholes present in the system, prioritizing them from low risk to high risk, or the possibility of attacks by executing a combination of low risk situations in a particular sequence.
  2. To understand the impact of such attacks on the business and the conduct of operations.
  3. To evaluate the feasibility of a particular set/combination of attack possibilities. 
  4. To identify which vulnerabilities are difficult (or impossible) to detect even with the automated tools or vulnerability scanning software and tools. 
  5. To ensure the network defenders are set in place and strong enough to protect the system from attacks through early detection and appropriate tools.
  6. To check If increased investments are required in network security or technology, and provide proper justification for that.

Is penetration testing important for you?

There are certain industries in India (and globally) that have compliance requirements that necessitate penetration testing – these include healthcare, banking or financial institutions, airlines, media platforms, technological services, etc. One of the important reasons why it is important for these businesses to conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration tests in India (VAPT) is because they have unrestricted access to client information and retain these details for their activities. 

  • Those in healthcare industry follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards which mandates having a VAPT;
  • Those in banking/finance institutions are required to follow the PCI-DSS standards which again requires a VAPT done in prior;
  • All network-based operating companies follow the (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework of which VAPT is a requisite;
  • All web application-based companies follow the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) framework, which recommends a VAPT for heightened security.

If we take up IT sector offices, the need for penetration testing has only increased throughout recent times as the requirement of storing information for clients and protecting this data from illegitimate access becomes more important. Whether the enterprise is big or small, all businesses utilize computers and the benefits of network connectivity to simplify their processes under the big data system. 

What makes VAPT important in India?

Industries throughout the world are making their fortunes on information, be it customer service, lead generation, brand loyalty, advertising and marketing techniques, etc. Most of these industries store this information digitally, and if these companies prefer to keep such information regarding their customers and staff secure and private, they require a tested, efficient, and adaptive vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) strategy for staying strong against all ongoing cyber threats. 

As cyber threats and ransomware gains in complexity, VAPT processes by security professionals are highly recommended to ensure that your business, its customers, and the data they have entrusted with you is protected accordingly, while ensuring that you don’t waste money on recovering losses caused by hacking attempts instead.