Assuming that your data protection strategy and cyber security are in tip-top shape is a risky venture, and one that is going to become even more hazardous as the deadline for GDPR approaches. Those businesses that are over-confident that they already have the right systems and best practices in place are less likely to actually test that security strength, leaving them open not only to cyberattacks and data loss, but also the very heavy fines set to be dealt out to non-compliant organisations.

According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017, almost half (46%) of UK firms were hit with a data breach or cyber attack in the last year. This same survey shows that businesses holding personal data on customers were much more likely to be the victim of such an attack. Data protection, therefore, needs to be taken seriously.

Those wiser organisations that go with a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach, will know that in order to truly understand how well protected their systems and data are, they must identify, acknowledge, and act upon, their weaknesses.

Your IT security infrastructure must be able to monitor and control the use and movement of data, identify who is using it, restrict access to authorised users only, and render it unintelligible if it is lost, leaked or stolen through encryption or pseudonymisation. How will you know if that security set-up ticks all the boxes?

Pen Tests to Highlight IT Security Vulnerabilities

That’s where Penetration Tests come in. Pen Tests can determine whether it is possible for a cyber attacker to gain access to your system or data, and how they are likely to do it. They are a real-time test of the controls you have in place, and can identify vulnerabilities likely to be exploited to get around your IT security.

They are not only sensible, under GDPR, they will actually become a legal requirement.

Article 31 of this complex, and admittedly confusing legislation, states that organisations ‘shall demonstrate a process for regular testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the (data) processing’.

In other words, you can’t just put security and data protection measures in place, you have to prove that you have done so, and show that they have been tested and deemed adequate.

Avoiding the fines for non-compliance with GDPR shouldn’t be the only reason for businesses across the UK to bolster their cyber security: it just makes sense to do so anyway, because cyber attacks that can disrupt business continuity or cause a general meltdown cost many times what it would require to implement the measures that would prevent them from happening.

IT Support in London for Pen Test Success

Finding the resources to run penetration tests in-house may not be feasible, but hiring an external IT service provider with GDPR certification to run penetration testing will not only provide you with independent, unbiased analysis that can lead to new security improvement insights, it can also:

  • Mimic real-life cyber threat scenarios, so you can see how well-prepared your entire set-up is, from your IT systems to your hardware and your staff
  • Prove that you have taken measures to secure the data you hold and process, in order to reduce the penalties you may face, should a data breach or attack occur

A reputable IT consulting service with GDPR expertise can provide the following:

  • A full review of your current IT infrastructure to identify data that would be useful to hackers
  • Data mapping, to give an overview of what data you have, who has access to it, what it is used for, and where it goes as it is processed
  • Manual and automated tests to identify vulnerabilities in the core network
  • Penetration testing for IT infrastructure, mobile devices, web apps and wireless networks
  • Immediate notification of security risks
  • A detailed report outlining all cyber security risks and vulnerabilities, recommended steps to take, and the repercussions of not doing so

There is no one single thing you can do to comprehensively protect your data and IT infrastructure from cyber attacks and data loss to meet GDPR compliance, but hiring the right IT support in London to run penetration tests on your systems will highlight what you do need to do to meet regulatory standards.

Discover how can help you comply with GDPR by booking an audit with us, and download our GDPR-readiness checklist:


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