Internal Penetration Testing Explained

Protecting sensitive information from cyber criminals isn’t just vital, in many industries, it’s a legal requirement. But more than ever, companies, governments and individuals are all at risk of attacks that could lead to reputational and financial damage. However, the vulnerabilities cyber criminals exploit are often unknown and only identified when it’s too late.

That’s why internal penetration testing is so important when securing digital infrastructure. It’s an incredibly effective way to bolster your security posture.

But what are the objectives, methods & potential benefits of internal penetration testing?

Key Takeaways

  • Internal penetration testing is an effective security measure that helps protect sensitive data and comply with industry regulations.
  • Regular tests are essential for organisations to maintain secure systems and strengthen their security posture.
  • When selecting a service provider look for tailored solutions & the ability to collaborate.

Understanding Internal Penetration Testing

Internal penetration tests are an essential part of cyber security and involves detecting, exploiting & assessing weaknesses in your internal network. These vulnerabilities  could be exploited by a potential attacker if they landed within your network, so it’s vital they are remediated quickly and effectively.

By having knowledge of vulnerabilities within your network you can begin to outline a strategy to help you begin remediation.

Internal penetration tests may be conducted on the network with the aid of vulnerability assessments. Depending on the scope of the test it may also be worth considering other types of internal penetration testing such as a crown jewels assessment or assumed breach.


The Purpose of Internal Penetration Testing

Internal penetration testing seeks to strengthen an organisation’s security posture, stay in line with industry regulations and protect sensitive data from potential cyber-attacks. The results of the test are documented via a penetration test report which will aid your organisation in not only understanding your security risk but help identify key security remediations.

Aspire’s specialists work together with clients to create a bespoke plan on all penetration assessments creating appropriate strategies for evaluation purposes.


The Process of Internal Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is an essential step in strengthening the security posture of any organisation. This four-part approach comprises Planning, Discovery, Attack and Reporting.

This four-part approach often includes but is not limited to; reconnaissance, vulnerability assessments and exploitation activities to identify potential weaknesses and address them accordingly.


Reconnaissance and Intelligence Gathering

The process of internal penetration testing begins with reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, essential steps that inform the testing plan. This includes observing and mapping out internal networks as well as pinpointing potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities on target systems.

Penetration testers utilise this data to develop a specific approach for their tests. In order to gather such information, they must take certain actions first such as identifying connected devices associated with the network being tested.

Having identified an accurate scope of the network will not only help penetration testers gain a better understanding of how an organisation’s systems work but it will also provide them an opportunity to create a tailor-made test plans tailored towards attacking any security issues found along the way.

This is why conducting initial reconnaissance using intelligence gathering techniques is so critical when carrying out any kind of internal penetration test: by gaining more insight into its architecture, reasonable strategies can be developed, leaving less room for mistakes once actual testing commences.


Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis

In internal penetration testing conducting a vulnerability assessment is necessary in order to find and assess any present flaws within the infrastructure, this can involve into automated scanning as well as manual testing, so that all vulnerabilities are identified and analysed extensively. Through this process of assessing potential threats, it’s possible to identify risks while determining their severity.


Exploitation and Validation

Penetration testing of internal networks aims to assess the networks durability and reaction by using any discovered vulnerabilities that mimi8c real-world attacks. This phase is paramount for determining how efficient existing security measures are as well as areas in need of development.

During exploitation penetration testers take advantage of weak spots in the target network. To validate these discoveries, they verify and authenticate the vulnerability.

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Reporting and Remediation Guidance

Remediation guidance offers a detailed report on the detected vulnerabilities as well as suggested solutions to aid in resolving them and strengthening the network. This phase is essential for understanding exactly what risks are posed and how to counter them with effective measures. The reports contain advise for remedial actions divided into various categories plus helping organisations prioritise their tasks to improve their overall security posture and reduce risk.

Aspire offer bespoke reports for each penetration test conducted, offering actionable results in which an organisation and minimise remediation time and maximise reduction of risk.


Benefits of Regular Internal Penetration Tests

Periodic internal penetration tests can give a host of benefits, such as a heightened security understanding, satisfying industry mandates, proactive recognition and understanding of risk. With regular testing in place businesses can spot impending dangers before they even arise while changing their strategies accordingly to maintain protection over time.

Whilst your landscape is ever-growing and changing so does the threat landscape, periodic internal penetration tests can help identify legacy & shadow systems.

Improved Security Awareness

Internal penetration testing is essential to improving overall security posture as it helps organisations understand their current security status and take appropriate measures against potential threats. Through comprehensive penetration tests organisations can be made aware of the risks that exist within the system and become educated on best practices for cyber security safety.

Compliance with Industry Standards

In order to demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to robust security measures and regulatory compliance regular infrastructure penetration testing is essential. The adaption of this practice helps in fulfilling requirements set by several regulations such as PCI DSS.

Proactive Identification and Mitigation of Risks

The main purpose of an internal penetration test, which proactively identifies risks is to stop cybercriminals from taking advantage of vulnerabilities. This process can help organisations reduce the impact that a breach might have and stay ahead of emerging threats by continually adapting their security measures accordingly.


Selecting the Right Penetration Testing Service Provider

Finding the right Penetration Testing Service Provider is essential to guarantee an effective testing procedure. It’s important to select a provider that is aware of recent cyber threats and vulnerabilities as well as those which are tailored specifically for your organisation’s requirements in order to stay up to date with changes in cybersecurity technology

Customised Testing Solutions

Penetration testing providers that offer customised solutions are better able to attend to the particular demands and requirements of an organisation. Those tailored services guarantee more complete security enhancements by analysing existing vulnerabilities.

By opting in for a provider with customisable options, companies make sure their specific safety needs have been met while obtaining pertinent instructions on remedial techniques as well.



Internal penetration testing is an integral part of any organisation’s cyber-defense plan. It offers a variety of advantages such as raised security consciousness, adhering to industry guidelines and the early recognition & rectification of potential threats.

As digital hazards become increasingly complex and dangerous, it becomes more essential than ever for organisations to invest heavily into dependable safeguards like internal penetration testing. Choosing the right service provider along with putting together a comprehensive testing protocol can aid an organisation in constructing optimal safety measures.

Secure your organisation
from cyber security threats

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