Networks can be vulnerable to attack, which can lead to the theft of confidential information or damage to the systems that support business operations. A network pentest is a process of identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities in a network infrastructure. There is a variety of network pentesting methods. Two of the most common are internal and external network pentests.
In this blog article, we’ll look at the distinctions between internal and external network pentesting, as well as the advantages of performing both. We will also explore some alternatives to internal and external network pentest, so that you can make an informed decision about which type of pentest is best for your business.
What Is An Internal Network Pentest?
An internal network pentest is a type of pentest that is conducted from within the confines of the network infrastructure. This means that the pentester has access to all devices on the network, including servers, workstations, routers, and switches.
The internal network penetration test is concerned with discovering flaws that might be leveraged by an intruder who has access to the internal network. This includes vulnerabilities in the configuration of devices, as well as in the systems and applications that run on them.
What Is An External Network Pentest?
An external network pentest is a type of pentest that is conducted from outside the network infrastructure. This means that the pentester does not have direct access to any devices on the network.
External network penetration testing looks for flaws that can be exploited by an attacker who does not have access to the internal network. Perimeter security devices, such as firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems, are included in this category.
It is important to note that an external network pentest does not include a test of the internal network. This type of pentest is only concerned with the security of the perimeter devices and how they protect the internal network from attack.
Who Needs To Get An Internal And External Network Pentest- Why?
Organizations that want to ensure the security of their network should consider conducting internal and external network pentests.
Internal network pentests are recommended for organizations that want to test the security of all devices on the network. External network pentests are recommended for organizations that want to test the security of perimeter security devices.
Organizations should also consider conducting both internal and external network pentests if they want to provide a more comprehensive view of the security of their network.
Conducting internal and external network pentests can be beneficial for many reasons, but ultimately it is up to each organization to decide whether or not it is right for them.
Should I Do an Internal or External Network Pentest?
There are many factors to consider while comparing internal and external network penetration testing. The most essential consideration is the level of access you want the pentester to have.
If you want the pentester to have full access to all devices on the network, then you will need to choose an internal network pentest. If you only want the pentester to have access to the perimeter security devices, then you will need to choose an external network pentest.
Another thing to keep in mind is the sort of vulnerabilities you want the pentester to check. If you are primarily concerned with vulnerabilities in the configuration of devices, then an internal network pentest is likely a better choice. If you are primarily concerned with vulnerabilities in perimeter security devices, then an external network pentest is likely a better choice.
Finally, consider the expense of internal and external network penetration testing. Internal network pentests are typically more expensive than external network pentests, due to the increased level of access that is required.
Benefits Of Doing Both Types Of Network Pentests
There are many benefits to doing both internal and external network pentests. The most obvious benefit is that it provides a more comprehensive view of the security of your network.
Another benefit is that it allows you to identify vulnerabilities in both the devices on the network and the perimeter security devices. This will aid in the prioritization of recovery efforts and guarantee that all holes are addressed.
Finally, doing both internal and external network pentests can also help to improve communication between the security team and other teams within the organization. This is because internal and external pentests often require different skills and knowledge, and by doing both pentests you can ensure that everyone has a better understanding of the security of the network.
Alternatives To Internal And External Network Pentests
If you are not able to conduct internal and external network pentests, there are other options available. The first step is to check your site for any security issues. An automated vulnerability scan is another option.
A vulnerability assessment is effectively a hybrid of an internal network scan and an active test, but it does not include any active testing. This means that the pentester will not attempt to exploit any vulnerabilities that are found.
Vulnerability assessments can provide valuable information about the security of your network. However, they should not be used as a substitute for interior or external network testing.
Internal and external network pentests are two important tools that can be used to assess the security of a network. There are a number of things to consider when deciding between them, but the most essential consideration is the degree of access you want the pentester to have.
Both internal and external network pentests have their own benefits, but the most comprehensive view of the security of your network will be achieved by doing both pentests. If you are not able to conduct both pentests, then you should consider conducting a vulnerability assessment or a penetration test.
Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing “engineering in marketing” to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.
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