4 min read  | Penetration testing

Does traditional pen-testing really identify all the real risks?

As we’ve discussed, here, on the Triskele Labs blog, pen-testing or penetration testing, as it is formally known, is where ethical hacking techniques are used to assess system risks and vulnerabilities

A systematic process leveraging various tools and approaches, pen-testing aims to increase network security and resilience against the spate of cybersecurity attacks that can bring down a business. It is a kind of simulation test that identifies which areas of security businesses need to address to limit exposure and attacks.

The question we’re going to answer today - and this is a big one - is simple: Does pen-testing identify all the risks businesses are vulnerable to? If you’ve wondered this yourself, continue reading our post for everything you need to know. 


One of the reasons why many companies are searching far and wide for professional pen-testing consultancy is due to its reputation for exploring risks by diving deep into a company’s IT infrastructure. Pen-testing allows you to investigate data breaches, data leaks or intellectual property theft. In this process, you may even discover insights on active or potential hackers, understanding where and why you’re open to attack. 

Here, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach; recommendations and solutions are customised to the security apparatus each company maintains. The testing itself is tailored to the systems used and adapts in line with any changes made in real-time. 

You’re also able to detect specific hardware and software flaws and use them to test the resulting security breaches. This helps your business identify relevant risks and solutions, preventing any malicious parties from doing the same. 

With the bird’s-eye view afforded, security experts can also identify patterns and trends based on the smaller vulnerabilities that could be part of a complex plan of attack, which you may not be able to identify if you view each in isolation. 

Pen-testing can also test how effective your security measures are by undertaking this kind of approach, where ethical hacking is used to test the defences and vulnerabilities of each system. In fact, 70% of organisations leverage these assessments to test the effectiveness of their security controls

This form of testing is also particularly effective and enjoys a relatively high degree of ecological validity because techniques like social engineering and phishing are used to determine how vulnerable a particular system is.


As with almost anything, pen-testing has a few deficiencies that need to be noted. One is that there’s a chance that it won’t identify all security issues or solve every problem when it probes and scans your system. 

As a result of this, companies may enjoy a false sense of security while unaddressed vulnerabilities attract the attention of sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. Successful tests can also be misleading because, ultimately, IT teams are prepared for what’s coming. Real attacks don’t afford you the same luxury.

Apart from these concerns, there’s also the fact that the testing process may be considered to be timely and expensive because it’s highly labour-intensive. On top of this, businesses need to be prepared to experience certain disruptions to their work - pen-testing mimics real attacks, posing some of the real consequences companies have to face if they aren’t thorough enough. 


As the saying goes, something is better than nothing. 

Pen-testing certainly isn’t perfect - nothing is - but it does ensure that your vulnerabilities are addressed to a great extent, defence mechanisms are robust, and that you’ve taken additional action to protect your digital assets.

If you’re looking for a way to protect your business and prevent confidential data from falling into the hands of cybercriminals, this highly sophisticated vulnerability assessment will help you bulk up your security measures and ensure that your systems withstand advanced phishing attacks and hacking attempts