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What Does Network Penetration Testing Include?

External Penetration Testing


External penetration testing simulates an attack from outside of the organisation, assuming that the attacker is starting from scratch without any prior information or knowledge of the organisation’s internal workings.



External penetration testing tests to see if malicious threats would be able to gain access through online methods only. This includes internet-facing systems, websites, and applications.



The purpose of external penetration testing is to identify vulnerabilities, assess the effectiveness of security systems such as firewalls, and examine the security of cloud-based resources and any externally hosted services.

Internal Penetration Testing


Internal penetration testing simulates an attack from within the organisation. This could represent either an outside attacker that has already gained some level of access to the organisation’s networks, or someone that has access to the organisation, such as an employee or contractor.



Internal penetration testing focuses on internal networks, systems, and applications that otherwise wouldn’t be available without first gaining access. This includes all applications, devices, and networks that are available to those within the organisation.



The aim of internal penetration testing is to identify vulnerabilities within the servers, workstations, and devices that the organisation uses. It will assess how internal networks are segregated, and how access controls are performing. It will also examine the security of internal applications and databases and determine the potential impact of an internal attacker.

Looking for a More Bespoke Solution for Your Business?

We understand that businesses may have IT systems and services that are unusual or different and require a tailor-made solution. That’s why we offer free cyber security consultancy to check if we’re the right fit for your business.

Why not book in a free IT strategy meeting to allow us to gain an understanding of your requirements?

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Our Network Penetration Testing Techniques

In both internal penetration testing and external penetration testing, the methodology is the same. The process will use the following steps:

  • Gathering Information – Here we will gather information about the target organisation, such as IP addresses, domain names, and network infrastructures.
  • Scanning – We use specialist tools to simulate the techniques of a hacker to identify live hosts, open ports, and any services running on your systems.
  • Data Gathering – This section extracts information about any users, shares, and other details that could be exploited.
  • Looking For Vulnerabilities – We will identify any vulnerabilities in your systems and assess their use.
  • Exploiting Vulnerabilities – We will attempt to gain unauthorised access to your systems to assess the extent of the weakness.
  • Follow-Up Exploitation – If we successfully gain access, we will then assess how this access could be used to gain access to other resources and systems.
  • Reporting – Once complete, we provide a detailed report on our findings which includes identified vulnerabilities, their risk level, and our recommendations for mitigating the risk and patching vulnerabilities.


About Our Network Penetration Testing

At Obsidian Networks, we’re providers of the Cyber Essentials certification and are able to test our client’s security from the inside out. We’ve been performing penetration testing for our clients for the last 20 years, and our experts are up to date on all of the latest hacking techniques and methodologies. This means that they can provide the latest tests and ensure that nothing is missed.

Testing can be conducted to satisfy various compliance requirements, such as PCI-DSS, IT Health Check, ISO 27001, NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit, Trusted Partner Network (TPN), and SOC2, among others.

Penetration Testing Reports

At the end of the process, you’ll receive an in-depth report detailing all of the vulnerabilities we discovered, how they can be exploited, what the potential impact of each could be, and our recommendations for mitigating the risk and correcting the vulnerabilities. If you need assistance with understanding the report or want extra help with our recommendations, we can also jump on a call to walk through the next steps.

We aim to have your report ready within 7 days, however this could differ depending on the size of your network. The bigger the network, the longer this may take. On average, the whole report will be completed within the week.

Benefits of Network Penetration Testing

There’s a wide range of benefits when it comes to both internal penetration testing and external penetration testing. Here are a few of the most important factors to consider:

  • Identify vulnerabilities in your networks, devices, and systems
  • Mitigates risks to avoid downtime, financial loss, and loss of customer trust
  • Verifies that you’re compliant with GDPR and other regulations and provides a source to refer to
  • Allows you to create a strong incident response plan to react to threats and fine-tune your cyber security
  • Provide reports to stakeholders and other third parties to show that you take the security of their data seriously
  • Allows you to allocate budgets effectively instead of wasting resources on unnecessary areas

Internal & External Penetration Testing With Obsidian Networks

Here at Obsidian Networks, we’re able to perform both internal penetration testing and external penetration to ensure that your organisation is prepared for the worst. We also offer a range of IT services such as IT Support, Cyber Security, and Cloud Services. If you’re in the Chester area, check out our local Cyber Security in Chester page.

Get in touch with a member of our experienced team to start your cyber security journey.


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Peter Munnely at his Desk


Internal & External Penetration Testing FAQs

Will Penetration Testing Disrupt My Business?

Many of our clients don’t notice anything during the network penetration testing process, however, it is possible that it could slow down your networks or cause small amounts of temporary disruption. To try to avoid this, we try to schedule your testing at a time that will work best for your business and avoid disruption.

What Security Precautions Do You Take?

As we are being contracted by your business, we are not going to do something that would actually harm your business or IT Systems. Once we find a foothold into a system, we may exploit it and continue to investigate the scope of what is accessible in terms of confidential data, but at no point will any of this data be accessed by our team.

Our intention with all of our penetration tests is to identify vulnerabilities that can be closed down quickly to ensure that your IT Systems remain protected in the best possible way.

Is The Data Found During Penetration Testing Confidential?

Absolutely. All data found is treated with the highest degree of confidentiality, with nothing being recorded or stored in any way. Our report will provide you with the information you need to understand the vulnerabilities without listing any potentially hazardous data or information. This means that you can be assured that none of the information discovered will be at risk.