If testing your antivirus program or other applications sounds silly, then consider this your wake-up call.

Just because you’ve bought something to protect your services, doesn’t mean it’s a surefire way to protect your data. System applications, embedded applications, games and more are not invincible either. It’s safe to assume that the protection services you have in place have loopholes that bad actors know about and are just one step away from obtaining data.

You’re smart to have a service in place, it just needs routine check-ups and maintenance – just like your antivirus does for your system. Consistent monitoring and upkeep does take time, though. If you aren’t properly staffed with a team who can execute this effectively with the many tests necessary, consider looking to the experts. Here’s what really goes into application pen-tests as well as the data you can find from them:

For starters, you want to expose the weaknesses that exist between the application and the rest of your IT infrastructure. Anything you download onto your system interacts with the network and neighboring systems. Bad actors look for vulnerabilities in order to go in and corrupt the system. The pen-testing team will identify the risks you face between the application and IT infrastructure – this benefits you by finding the potential problems in a controlled manner before they actually happen. This will give you more time to repair any gaps, or update your security efforts altogether.

Next, you should assess application security against real-world attacks by manual testing. Create a test environment that will mimic what could happen in the real world to see how your system will stand in the midst of a real attack. Seeing where the weaknesses lie here can buy you time toward finding the right fix. What you are really trying to do is buy time so you can ensure your systems are running optimally and avoid the breach in the first place.

Then, you need to identify security design flaws. Applications constantly need to be updated to new versions— whether it be for bug fixes, a modification to the overall app or needing an update to match the progression of technology itself. With the many changes to come, there is ample opportunity to find the gaps in security measures and in turn, modify your efforts or security measures to ensure you are protected.

In the end, you need to be confident in the application’s overall security. At the end of the day, you are the one who will constantly be using, or in the midst of, these applications. It’s uncomfortable to doubt the success of the applications or tools you have in place. It’s like walking on eggshells waiting, and more so hoping, you don’t trigger some mass catastrophe. Conducting routine pen-tests will remove the urge to worry or stress about the potential for attacks.

We can ensure you that if you put the time and money into effectively testing your system, conducting routine maintenance, and implementing these safety measures for your team. Though—it’s important to note that no matter what security measures put in place, everyone is still at risk. The purpose of these tests is not to eliminate risk but to empower businesses to operate confidently and securely so that if and when an attack happens, you have the team or support needed to combat them.