What We Do
How we do it
Resources
TRU INTELLIGENCE CENTER
Our Threat Response Unit (TRU) publishes security advisories, blogs, reports, industry publications and webinars based on its original research and the insights driven through proactive threat hunts.
View Threat Intelligence Resources →
SECURITY ADVISORIES
Aug 17, 2022
Increase in Observations of Socgholish Malware
THE THREAT Starting in early August 2022 and continuing through the month, eSentire identified a significant increase in Socgholish (aka. FakeUpdates) malware incidents. Socgholish is a loader type…
Read More
View all Advisories →
Company
ABOUT ESENTIRE
About Us
eSentire is The Authority in Managed Detection and Response Services, protecting the critical data and applications of 1500+ organizations in 80+ countries from known and unknown cyber threats. Founded in 2001, the company’s mission is to hunt, investigate and stop cyber threats before they become business disrupting events.
Read about how we got here
Leadership Work at eSentire
LATEST PRESS RELEASE
Sep 20, 2022
eSentire Recognized as Top Global MDR Provider by MSSP Alert, CrowdStrike and G2
Waterloo, ON - September 21, 2022 – eSentire, Inc., the Authority in Managed Detection and Response (MDR), celebrated multiple industry recognitions as the leading global MDR provider, over the last week: Named #9, and the top pure play MDR provider on MSSP Alert’s Top 250 MSSPs global rankingRecognized as the CrowdStrike 2022 Global MSSP Partner of the Year Earned G2’s industry-renowned status…
Read More
Partners
PARTNER PROGRAM
e3 Ecosystem
We provide sophisticated cybersecurity solutions for Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs), and Value-Added Resellers (VARs). Find out why you should partner with eSentire, the Authority in Managed Detection and Response, today.
Learn more
ECOSYSTEM PARTNER RESOURCES
Apply to become an e3 ecosystem partner with eSentire, the Authority in Managed Detection and Response.
Login to the Partner Portal for resources and content for current partners.
Search
Resources
Blog — Mar 11, 2022

Test Your Cybersecurity Defenses with Penetration Testing and Red Team Exercises

3 minutes read
Speak With A Security Expert Now

Today’s cyberattacks are unlike those from twenty, thirty years ago. When ransomware attacks were first introduced, the primary driver for their use was money. Cybercriminals didn’t care if the money came from businesses–at best, they stood to gain a few hundred dollars from each victim. Today, it’s about a lot more than just money.

In recent years, although cybercriminals have been driven by greed, they’ve also been driven by inflicting chaos on society by shutting down critical infrastructure. What’s more is that cybercriminals have adapted their internal operations to achieve their goals.

Unfortunately, organizations aren’t always able to keep up. A new ransomware study, conducted by the CyberRisk Alliance, found that 37% of respondents said they lack an adequate cybersecurity budget and 31% can’t prevent a ransomware attack because cybercriminals are too well-funded and sophisticated.

The challenge is that cybercriminals will do everything they can to gain access into your environment so, how do you know your current cybersecurity defenses are strong enough? You need to test your defenses continuously.

In this blog, we’ll highlight the difference between penetration testing and red team exercises, and when you should engage both services.

What is penetration testing?

Pen testing, or penetration testing, allows your cybersecurity team to test your current defenses against simulated attacks and identify weaknesses in your external or internal security posture. Pen testers use the latest tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that adversaries are utilizing to infiltrate and exploit systems and gain access to data.

Therefore, pen testing is an integral aspect of managing, and reducing, your cyber risk since the goal is to identify systematic weaknesses present in your environment and discover areas of greatest risk and remediation. Pen testing also enables you to satisfy compliance needs and validate the existing internal and/or external cybersecurity controls.

Without putting your team through routine pen testing exercises, you limit your ability to determine how your cybersecurity teams need to adapt to the ever-evolving adversarial TTPs.

What is a red team exercise?

A red team exercise is a simulation of an advanced threat actor to test your organization's prevention, detection, and response capabilities and is a more in-depth than a penetration test. It combines various techniques to evade detection and prevention capabilities, including OSINT, phishing, wireless and covert physical and network attack tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

After the engagement, you get an assessment in your team’s capability of successfully preventing, detecting, and responding to a real-world cyberattack and identify areas of greatest risk and remediation recommendations.

Red team engagements are especially necessary considering many organizations don’t have the capabilities needed to prevent an adversary from successfully attacking their organization. In a 2021 pen testing survey conducted by eSentire, we found that only 32% of organizations have the detection and response capabilities they need to deter a real-world adversary.

Penetration testing vs. red team exercise: which one is right for me?

Often, organizations think that they can choose between a pen testing engagement and a red team exercise because both will uncover the same results. However, this isn’t true since the objective of these services is completely different.

The objective of a pen test is to identify the easiest entry points into your environment and provide your team with all the gaps found, ranked from most critical to the least critical. In other words, a pen test uncovers any vulnerabilities and weaknesses found on the assets you’re testing, such as web applications, mobile applications, or wireless access points. Plus, your team doesn’t try to defend against the pen tester’s actions during the testing process.

On the other hand, a red team exercise is similar to a head-to-head battle, during which the red team tries to break into your systems by mimicking advanced tactics and techniques and your in-house cybersecurity team tries to actively keep them out. The key differentiator is that your team isn’t aware that they’re defending against the attacks as part of a red team exercise–they believe they are defending against a real threat actor.

In addition, a red team engagement also takes longer than a pen testing engagement because the red team will validate physical security controls (e.g., gaining access into a secure office building) in addition to virtual security controls.

Ideally, you should be conducting a pen test and a red team exercise on a regular basis. We recommend performing each engagement annually, at a minimum.

Given how cybercriminals are evolving their operations and strategies, and how accessible it is for new threat actors to target companies using the ransomware-as-a-service model, your cybersecurity team must test your defenses to ensure you can thwart a cyberattack when the time comes.

Learn how eSentire’s Managed Risk Programs can help your organization test your cybersecurity defenses through by booking a meeting with us today.

Join 100,000+ Security Leaders

Get notified of the latest news, intel and helpful tools & assets. You can unsubscribe anytime.

By clicking the button below I confirm that I have read and agree to the eSentire privacy policy.

View Most Recent Blogs
eSentire
eSentire

eSentire is the Authority in Managed Detection and Response, protecting the critical data and applications of 1500+ organizations in 80+ countries from known and unknown cyber threats. Founded in 2001, the company’s mission is to hunt, investigate and stop cyber threats before they become business disrupting events. Combining cutting-edge machine learning XDR technology, 24/7 Threat Hunting, and proven security operations leadership, eSentire mitigates business risk, and enables security at scale. The Team eSentire difference means enterprises are protected by the best in the business with a named Cyber Risk Advisor, 24/7 access to SOC Cyber Analysts & Elite Threat Hunters, and industry-leading threat intelligence research from eSentire’s Threat Response Unit (TRU). eSentire provides Managed Risk, Managed Detection and Response and Incident Response services. For more information, visit www.esentire.com and follow @eSentire.