Software Testing: Cybersecurity and Compliance Risk

We live in the digital age where technology has a great impact on our daily lives; this has become the driving force for social evolution in the modern times. The current scenario has led organizations to rethink their infrastructure and operational strategy with digital approach. With the evolving scenario of digitization, companies have witnessed an exponential rise in cyberthreats and breaches. Therefore, companies are developing new testing strategies to identify vulnerabilities earlier in the development phase and proactively preventing any potential attacks.

Cybersecurity testing is a crucial process in the risk assessment strategy. It helps organizations to understand, control, and mitigate any kind of cyber risk and ensuring complete data protection. With the emerging scenarios of changing regulation and regulatory criteria, cybersecurity testing has become the guiding force for growth of organizations. On the other hand, compliance testing is carried out to validate if the organization’s prescribed standards are met. Compliance testing is performed to avoid any compliance risk that can affect the organization’s exposure to legal penalties, financial, and material loss. Let us discuss the impact of cyber and compliance risk and how to tackle it with a proper software testing in place.

Cybersecurity: assessment and testing, what makes it critical?

Cybersecurity is mandatory among organizations to safeguard the data, improve user privacy, and avoid any kind of security breach. Companies are integrating various testing strategies to effectively assess and mitigate potential attacks. By resolving the potential vulnerabilities, organizations can prevent any incidents that can further lead to security breach.

Security issues arise when the organization lack the right tool to carry out the testing. In most of the cases, vulnerabilities go unnoticed due to lack of time and resources, outdated system, or the defect in the current software to offer an update option. Such loopholes in the software system can make room for the hackers to easily enter the system and practice unethical practices like data theft or manipulation.

The two major security testing criteria include:

  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Penetration testing

Vulnerability assessment

Vulnerability assessment is performed to identify the vulnerability of the system. It is an automated scan process of the network infrastructure that allows to identify the security vulnerabilities. These automatic scans consist of series of checks on every application to understand the configuration to detect any error, defects, or discrepancies. The checks perform rapidly to cover a wide range of data in a short time period, thereby, offering quick assessment of vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability assessment is performed by the using following steps:

  • Categorizing the assets and capabilities in a system
  • Identifying potential threats to each resource
  • Assigning the importance to those resources
  • Eliminating the vulnerabilities for the most valuable resources

Penetration Testing

penetration test, also known as a pen test, is an effort to assess the security of an IT infrastructure by exploiting weaknesses in a secure manner. These bugs may be found in operating systems, software, and applications, as well as incorrect settings and unsafe end-user actions. These tests may also be used to verify the effectiveness of defense measures, and end-user compliance with protection policies.

Penetration testing cybersecurity is regularly used to analyze websites, endpoints, web interfaces, broadband networks, network computers, handheld devices, and other possible points of vulnerability through manual or automatic technology.  Suppose a vulnerability has been successfully exploited on one device, testers attempt to use the compromised system to execute additional exploits on other internal resources, primarily through the use of privilege escalation, to gain incrementally higher levels of security clearance and deeper access to electronic assets and details.

Advantages of Penetration Testing Cyber Security

In an ideal world, the company’s applications and infrastructure are created to remove harmful security vulnerabilities from the outset. A pen test will tell you how far you’ve accomplished your goal. Pen testing helps with, among other things, the following security activities:

  • Identifying flaws in processes
  • Determining the control’s robustness
  • Assisting in the observance of data protection and security legislation (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR)
  • Providing managers with both qualitative and quantitative explanations of the current security posture and budget objectives

The key areas to prepare for cybersecurity testing

Describing the type of cybersecurity testing: The first step taken towards tackling the vulnerabilities include defining the threat as a basic vulnerability or an advanced persistent threat. Ones the type of threat is classified, the tester further discuss on the type of security testing to be used, in most cases, penetration testing is used to identify the deep-rooted issues.

Testing procedure: Here, the testers analyze the vulnerability environment in real-time basis. Real-time risk analysis helps in identifying any newly created risk in the system, network, or Cloud. Furthermore, the automated option helps in rapid and accurate vulnerability identification.

Identifying the impact of the threat of the system: Identifying and describing a potential threat is important to further resolve the issues. This depends on whether the threat is an internal vulnerability or external vulnerability. External vulnerabilities are more serious compared to the internal, as they can create a loophole for hackers or any unauthorized personnel.

Discovering a process to mitigate risk: Risk mitigation is an important process to eliminate any kind of vulnerability in the system and ensure complete security. Risk mitigation process further involves analysis to choose the right resource. The company usually opts a third-party or the internal team to conduct the risk mitigation process.

Defining solution: Organizations mostly prefer third-party for security testing, who will not just identify the vulnerabilities but also provide their valuable advice on security products and tools to buy. Companies are often seen to perform due diligence and expect the third-party to conduct independent security analysis to ensure complete safety.

What is Compliance Testing?

Compliance is characterized as adhering to laws and fulfilling criteria in general. Any deviation from the law can lead the company to face legal issues often referred to as compliance risk. To avoid any compliance risk or mitigate the existing risks associated with compliance policy, organizations usually carry out compliance testing.

Compliance testing in cybersecurity refers to the creation of a program that provides risk-based controls to safeguard the integrity, confidentiality, and usability of data collected, transmitted, or transferred.  Cybersecurity compliance is not dependent on a single norm or rule. Different criteria can vary depending on the market, causing uncertainty and extra work for organizations that use a checklist-based methodology.

Information Subjected to Cybersecurity Compliance Testing

Individually recognizable data: Any details that may be used to uniquely identify an individual are included.

Health information: Includes data of an individual’s personal records or medications, as well as specifics that may be used to recognize them.

Financial information: Payment systems, credit card numbers, and other data that may be used to hack a person’s identification or financial capital are included; for example, stolen credit card numbers may be used to make illegal transactions.

Advantages of Compliance Testing

Organizations that are subject to the sector or state cybersecurity legislation are bound by rules to comply with the regulations and take the prescribed steps in the event of a data breach. Businesses that are found to be non-compliant can face severe penalties in the event of a violation. Strict adherence to cybersecurity compliance standards mitigates the likelihood of a data breach and the related resolution and recovery costs, as well as the less quantifiable costs associated with a breach, such as reputational harm, business disruption, and loss of business.

Implementing a robust cybersecurity compliance mechanism allows you to safeguard the company’s integrity, preserve consumer confidence, and increase customer satisfaction by maintaining the safety and protection of the customers’ confidential details. Additionally, the company would profit from increased operating productivity with transparent and reliable processes for handling, maintaining, and utilizing confidential data. Implementing adequate protections and compliance procedures to safeguard confidential consumer and employee details strengthens the company’s security position. It helps secure proprietary property, such as trade secrets, software code, product specs, and other information that provides a competitive edge.