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From antivirus to firewalls, businesses have what it takes to protect their organizations. But are you testing your company’s anti-hacking tools ongoingly to make sure they really work?


Like any business that has had to adapt to remote work in the last couple of years, you know that having tools such as a firewall, reliable antivirus software, and other anti-hacking tools is essential. They scan for viruses and mitigate threats.

Considering that all cybersecurity threats are caused by human error, many companies also invest in cybersecurity training for their employees, including their IT team and their less tech-savvy employees. They also engage in regular testing of their anti-hacking tools.

The frequency of cyberattacks on businesses shows that it’s only a matter of time until someone either attempts to breach your system or does so successfully.

How can you be one step ahead of cybercriminals and be sure that the tools and protocols you have in place actually work?

The answer is testing with breach and attack simulation.

But what is it, and how can it protect businesses from common hacking attempts? Let’s jump straight in and find out.

What Is Breach and Attack Simulation?

In cybersecurity, breach and attack simulation refers to simulating attacks. This is a type of testing that checks your security points to keep your business safe from attacks.

These security points are any tools and protocols your business uses to protect its systems. It might refer to the software that removes viruses from computers that your employees use for work. Or it could even mean filters in your email system that ditch the phishing emails straight to spam.

Policies can, for example, determine which sites your employees can visit from their work computers. Also, they can specify which sites the company has determined are unsafe.

Attacks are simulated in a safe environment to check how well would your systems hold up against common cyberattacks. What you’ll check exactly depends on the systems you use and the type of your business.

The goal of a simulated attack is to uncover any vulnerabilities in your system.

How Does Breach and Attack Simulation Compare to Pen Testing?

If you’ve been looking into ways to test your systems, you’re probably familiar with penetration testing (AKA pen testing). For larger organizations, this type of testing might even be required by law.

The key advantage of penetration testing is that cybersecurity experts perform them. In other words, to do pen testing safely, you need to hire a team.

Experts simulate an attack on your network and analyze the data that follows. They then suggest the best steps to improve security.

One of the major disadvantages of pen testing is that it’s expensive. Therefore, companies hire experts for the test either annually or biannually—at best.

But testing the system once a year is not enough. This is because it might mean that you’re leaving your systems vulnerable for a long time. New flaws that hackers can exploit can appear within minutes without your knowledge.

In comparison, breach and attack simulation continually seeks flaws in your system. Depending on how you set your parameters, it can simulate attacks 24/7. For systems that are continuously changing, this is essential.

Breach and attack can even be used by new members of your team. This is because the tool is straightforward and easy to manage.

What Should You Be Testing with Breach and Attack Simulation?

To be sure that you’re protected from any threat that could lead to a breach, you can be regularly testing with breach and attack simulation. This can protect your organization from both common and new attacks by testing whether your system can mitigate likely threats. 

Some of the most common cyberattacks include phishing and malware attacks. These are threats that have been around since the beginning of the internet. It’s likely you either have been or you will be a victim of such attacks.

Besides these common types of cyberattacks, you also need to protect your network from the latest hacking methods. To find out all about the newest techniques hackers use to penetrate networks, refer to the MITRE ATT&CK® framework.

MITRE is a major resource for new and old hacking attempts. It is continually being updated with the latest methods hackers have used to breach networks.

Top breach and attack simulations will test for both old school and newer hacking methods. Plus, they will simultaneously test both your tools and the people who work in your company.

Check if your team can react promptly to a cyberattack. For example, you need to know whether employees understand how to use tools that defend your network and whether they can recognize phishing emails.


What Should You Do with Attack Simulation Data?

As breach and attack simulation tools are continually testing your security, you gather more and more data that you can compare and analyze. Also, you can spot if something has changed within your system. Examine the data regularly to determine the next steps you need to take in security.

If the simulation shows that a hacking attempt would be successful, for example, you’ll need to patch up flaws in your system. If there are more flaws, prioritize the high-risk vulnerabilities and work your way toward less concerning ones.

Additionally, the goal of the simulation might have been to test people. Organize more training for employees who weren’t able to react on time or who don’t know how to use the tools you have.

Training might include reminders of cybersecurity policies or an overview of basic cybersecurity hygiene.

Is It Possible to Entirely Hacker-Proof Your Business?

How vulnerable your business is to threats depends on the type of systems you use to operate and manage your workflow.

If your organization is completely reliant on hackable services such as the cloud, you’ll have to continually check for potential flaws in the system.

The bottom line is: Cybersecurity is a never-ending to-do list.

Any changes within your network, such as updates or bringing in new staff, can cause new vulnerabilities.

Therefore, the software you use to ward off cyber criminals requires frequent checkups and maintenance. They need to be used correctly, and any new or even old vulnerabilities need patching up before they lead to breaches.