What Is Security Testing? (With Types and Related Jobs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 14, 2022

Security testing helps minimize data corruption risks and ensures cybersecurity in the workplace. Many business aspects can benefit from security testing, including departmental databases and website codes. Learning more about security testing can help you address vulnerabilities in a company's technology systems. In this article, we review what security testing is, explain the different approaches and list jobs that involve this process.

What is security testing?

Security testing is a process that checks whether company software is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Software for security testing evaluates what effects malicious software has on databases and websites. Security tests help ensure that only allowed inputs enter a system, keeping it safe from cyberattacks. All security testing programs are functional testers, meaning it verifies whether other software systems work according to their specifications and only reacts when it senses an anomaly. It can also identify potential security risks, allowing businesses to prevent them effectively.

Related: 15 Careers in Cybersecurity

Types of security testing

There are many types of security testing, which include:

Penetration testing

Penetration testing or ethical hacking is the process of manually testing a software's security protocols. Software developers and programmers use penetration testing to make sure that all security firewalls in place work according to pre-determined standards. They may also use penetration testing to test a website's usability. For example, developers can log into the maximum amount of user accounts available on a website to see whether its servers can handle them.

Related: Top 5 Security Certifications for IT Professionals

Web application security testing

Web application security testing helps evaluate the vulnerabilities of website browser applications. It can help keep browsers safe for employees and limit the risk of viruses or malware attacks from other webpages. Software developers can install either automatic web application tests or run manual versions regularly. Manual web application tests allow developers to customize their security protocols, while automatic web application testing allows developers to set routine checks while computers are online.

API security testing

API security testing helps programmers identify vulnerabilities in application programming interfaces (APIs). These include website services, database tools and any other program that helps a software process function. API security testing helps software developers prevent future vulnerabilities by identifying potential risks before they happen. This type may especially benefit companies that use custom software, since it may require more onsite quality-control tests than generic, widely tested programs.

Related: Working in Cybersecurity: Definition, Careers and Skills

Configuration scanning

Configuration scanning is the process of evaluating and identifying any errors within a software program. It checks all software in a computer system, including database tools or custom applications. Configuration scanning helps detect any malicious software disguised as a purposeful program and helps prevent internal attacks from other websites or database storage files.

Security audits

A security audit is a structured process for reviewing all applications within a system according to a set standard. Similar to a real-world auditing process, security audits test the validity of any security protocols set in place by simulating different cyberattack threats. It also evaluates whether a security team conforms to compliance standards regarding their other security check processes.

Related: Top 10 Cybersecurity Certifications and How They Will Improve Your Career

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is a process that allows a department to identify, analyze and categorize the security risks a business' system can encounter. Department leaders use risk assessments to understand the most critical threats that can damage their stored data and disrupt daily business operations. In a long-term strategy, a risk assessment plan can also help departments prepare budgets for security investments.

Security posture assessment

A security posture assessment is a combination of scanning and ethical hacking processes that help software experts identify cyber risks and useful methods to counter them. Businesses often conduct a security posture assessment to determine which data is most valuable to a company and which types of cyberattacks pose the greatest risk. They can use this information to identify vulnerabilities in a computer system and determine how to best improve it.

Why is security testing important?

Security testing is important because it can help protect a company's data and improve their computer safety protocols. For example, companies can ensure that confidential information stays secure, like personnel files, financial records, business archives and database passwords. If you learn how security testing works, you can improve a company's current protocols and determine which upgrades they may require in the future.

Jobs that use security testing

There are many jobs that use security testing. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below:

1. Computer programmer

National average salary: $54,015 per year

Primary duties: Computer programmers write the code for a company's software applications, typically in multiple departments. They use many coding languages to test, develop and fix custom programs for daily work operations. These professionals understand how to research and develop independent code libraries to update a company's security system and address any software bugs. They also troubleshoot programs either monthly or yearly, depending on a company's technological auditing policies.

Read more: Learn About Being a Computer Programmer

2. Web administrator

National average salary: $73,924 per year

Primary duties: Website administrators build, secure and fix a company's website content. For example, they may build a company's home page or social media profile. These professionals also administer security checks and may install new protocols to reduce vulnerabilities in a website's code. Web administrators often act as internet safety advisers, helping a software team mitigate malware-related hacking events. They may also train employees and managers on internet safety.

3. IT auditor

National average salary: $92,325 per year

Primary duties: An auditor is a technology professional who evaluates a company's software systems to ensure they work properly. Auditors can focus on different departments in a company, depending on their specialization. They often evaluate a department's security protocols to identify risks and reduce the possibility of cyberattacks. IT auditors may also create the review process and update it periodically to ensure a business can function on a day-to-day basis and comply with all security regulations.

4. Software engineer

National average salary: $121,263 per year

Primary duties: Software engineers develop both custom applications and databases for companies. These can include firewall, storage and intranet systems a company uses for security and file organization protocols. Software engineers work with other technical experts to improve and secure software security standards. If they discover an issue, such as malware or phishing threats, a software engineer can patch websites and secure data in a company's internal database.

Read more: Learn About Being a Software Engineer

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