External Penetration Testing Services

If your company’s networks are connected via the internet, they’re vulnerable to cyberattacks. All it takes for attackers to gain unauthorised entry is one glitch in security software or configuration settings. Identification of vulnerabilities within your IT framework is key to protecting against data breaches and cyberattacks, so external penetration testing services may be useful in doing so.

Virtual private network technology graphic illustration


Penetration testing differs from other forms of security assessments by simulating real-world attacks from outside your organisation’s perimeter. This provides a unique opportunity to detect vulnerabilities that may go undetected and mitigate cyber risks before cyberattacks happen. When selecting an external penetration tester, make sure they possess integrity and professionalism and offer a non-disclosure agreement to safeguard all sensitive information that might be revealed during testing.

An effective external penetration test employs reconnaissance and other tools to locate network assets and gather valuable information, then attempts to access those assets using techniques often employed by hackers—full port scans, social engineering attacks such as phishing emails, or brute force password attacks are just a few examples—in order to access those assets using methods common among attackers and remain undetected by existing security measures before moving on. Its results provide detailed insights into your network as well as any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.


Employing the appropriate team is paramount to penetration testing success. An external team may prove more cost-effective than hiring full internal teams and can offer access to specialist expertise as needed, typically included within their fee for service.

The initial phase is reconnaissance, which involves gathering open-source intelligence to detect servers and devices accessible on the Internet. This may involve searching for software information, user manuals, forum posts, and email addresses as possible targets of attack.

The second phase is exploitation, which emulates real-life attacks using various tools to gain entry to systems and data. Exploitation might include brute forcing passwords, installing malware, ransomware, or vulnerabilities exploiting known vulnerabilities, or exploiting known gaps and weaknesses in software and operating systems. Exploitation should be treated as an integral component of cybersecurity risk analysis as it highlights cybersecurity exposures to allow organisations to correct them as well as meet compliance standards such as PCI DSS; test results can even be prioritised according to risk to ensure the most severe threats are addressed first.


In this phase, penetration testers gain in-depth knowledge of the information security architecture and infrastructure of the targeted network in question. Next, the team identifies all information systems and network components exposed to the internet—usually through port scanning, OSINT analysis, and dark web reconnaissance—to assess which potentially vulnerable systems are within scope.

Once vulnerabilities have been identified, penetration testers enter the gaining access phase. Here, they use these weaknesses to gain entry to their target, possibly via malfunctioning devices, host or network configuration issues, encryption flaws and authentication problems, compromised code injection or command injection vulnerabilities, or loopholes in user session management.

Once a malicious hacker gains entry to an organisation’s internet-facing systems, they can gain access to internal networks, steal confidential data, or gain control over the enterprise. Therefore, it is critical that any publicly accessible web applications and services be thoroughly tested for security vulnerabilities.


Once the OSINT and reconnaissance stages have been completed, meet with your chosen penetration testing service provider to establish the objectives and scope of your pen test. Doing so will allow both teams to agree upon key performance indicators to measure the success of penetration testing while setting appropriate test limits to protect information security and ensure user safety.

At this phase, the penetration testing team will conduct externally facing network scans for vulnerabilities. This may involve scanning company websites, customer portals, and remote access systems in addition to examining public assets within a target network to identify possible exploitable vulnerabilities.

Exploitation involves employing various tools to gain unauthorised access to network infrastructure, such as routers, switches, and wireless access points. Once they gain entry to your network, penetration testers will attempt to escalate privileges until they have domain administrator rights before performing a full forensic analysis on it to locate any sensitive information.

Cloud penetration testing services

Cloud penetration testing provides a useful method of identifying security flaws within your cloud environment. At LRQA, Nettitude’s team can conduct this testing in order to look out for privilege escalation through misconfigured IAM permissions or by falsifying logs, hosted images, or repositories containing sensitive data.

Conducting a cloud pentest requires special expertise due to the shared responsibility model governing cloud systems.

Security Assessment

Step one in securing cloud applications involves assessing the security posture of their environment. This involves collecting information on the attack surface of cloud infrastructure, such as configuration details, network architecture, and security controls. This data is then analysed to detect risks and vulnerabilities that exist within the attack surface.

Recommendations are provided to strengthen an organisation’s ability to detect security breaches and thus reduce the risk of minor incidents becoming major ones, while decreasing recovery times post-breach, thereby strengthening resilience.

Cloud penetration testing services provide guidance to organisations on how they can protect against commonly exploited cloud architecture misconfigurations, thus mitigating security risks that would otherwise go undetected by vulnerability scanners. This service is essential in mitigating security risks that would otherwise go undetected by vulnerability scanners.

Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability assessment tools play a vital role in cloud penetration testing, helping identify vulnerabilities within systems and assess their severity in order to gain entry to confidential data or otherwise compromise service provisioning operations.

Cloud penetration testing tools should be capable of detecting both common and less common vulnerabilities, including those that are hard or impossible to find with manual methods, as well as security best practices such as authentication and authorization.

As cloud adoption increases, organisations need a comprehensive cyber security plan in place. This should include using an experienced penetration testing service that understands different cloud architectures and can give insight into how those services may be compromised by attackers. It should also define scope as well as codify expectations between the business and testing company regarding report delivery and remediation.

Penetration Testing

Cloud penetration testing enables businesses to implement internationally recognised cybersecurity practices for their cloud infrastructure, helping identify misconfigurations and vulnerabilities within it.

Some vulnerabilities include stealing credentials for accessing cloud environments, exploiting code vulnerabilities, and breaking into development and administrative systems to gain entry. By compromising systems, malicious actors could spoof cloud environments to change hosted images or alter APIs, repositories, or data in malicious ways, thus creating cloud spoofing environments or altering APIs, repositories, or data in harmful ways.

Exposing sensitive data to public cloud storage is another common weakness for businesses. To safeguard themselves against this potential breach, organisations can utilise an open-source tool like enumerate-iam to brute force their IAM policy API calls and identify any sensitive material stored there. Once identified, organisations can take appropriate steps to rectify it and strengthen their cloud security posture to reduce avoidable breaches and remain compliant with industry regulations.


Penetration testing entails testing how people and security systems react. This includes human response, such as how your staff and users behave, as well as your security system’s response, such as whether it automatically shuts down or takes other necessary measures.

When selecting a cloud pentesting service, be sure to establish protocols for worst-case scenarios. A test could uncover an active exploit by attackers, or it might uncover weaknesses your in-house team missed.

Make sure your cloud penetration testing services provide reports you can understand. Communicating vulnerabilities clearly and making recommendations on how to address them can make all the difference when taking penetration testing results seriously or not. Your reports should also contain guidance for remediating vulnerabilities and what steps should be taken next.