In recent years, cyber attacks have grown exponentially making us all a lucrative target. According to the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), cyber threats targeting businesses almost doubled last year rising from 82,000 to 159,700.
However, as business try to keep security incidents under wraps, the actual number might be significantly higher. In fact, the OTA believes that enterprises probably experienced over 350,000 cyber incidents in 2017.
This makes it imperative for companies of all sizes to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. One way to do this is to engage in ethical or white hat hacking.
The thought process here is simple. To stay a step ahead of bad actors and prevent a data breach, you also have to think like a hacker. In other words, you’re employing hackers to breach your system to identify any vulnerabilities missed by your traditional security team.
While this approach may not sit well with some of our readers, ethical hacking works!
Tech giants like IBM have been employing teams of ethical hackers for years, and it’s gone a long way to help keep their infrastructure secure. As businesses go through a rapid digital transformation and move to a virtualized cloud environment, there’s a growing need for ethical hackers.
Ethical Hackers Know What You Don’t
No matter how good you think your security protocols are, there’s probably someone out there who can breach the system. So wouldn’t it better to have them on your side?
As mentioned above, ethical hackers know how malicious hackers think. They’re also highly creative when it comes to finding ways to penetrate even the strongest of firewalls. By having them on board with your organization, you can quickly figure out unknown vulnerabilities and patch it before a security event.
In the long run, their proactive approach can help protect your business as they’re up to date with the latest hacking techniques. In fact, they can be an asset to your business as their extensive network in the dark web can also help them find out about an attack before it even happens.
Ethical Hackers Enhance Cybersecurity Training
I have been writing about enterprise cybersecurity for quite some time, and the running theme has always been education. Without training employees about the dos and don’ts when it comes to using the company’s computing systems, you’re always going to be highly vulnerable to a cyber attack.
When you get an ethical hacker involved in these training sessions, it can reaffirm the importance of following best practices. They can achieve this by demonstrating employee behaviors that a hacker would target to create a vulnerability.
Ethical hacking or penetration testing can be done internally or as part of an agreement with a third-party provider. The final cost of each exercise will depend on the complexities of the systems and how thorough you want them to be.
However, it’s important to note that most of these individuals would have started out with malicious intentions and later had a change of heart. So it’s important to manage ethical hacking exercises carefully.
In Canada, you can even hire a certified ethical hacker(yes, you read that correctly) for about $62,288 to $74,000 per year. Those who aren’t highly experienced with less than four years of experience can expect to earn about $48,000 annually.
The provinces that pay the most are as follows:
- British Columbia - $98,000
- New Brunswick – $108,000
- Manitoba – $72,166
- Ontario – $71,842
- Quebec - $75,000
However, when you’re dealing with huge enterprise projects, you’ll have to be ready to make a significant investment. For example, ethical hacker Guido Vranken was paid approximately $120,000 a week to find bugs in the EOS code (averaging out to about $10,000 per flaw).
However, when you compare it to last year’s Equifax data breach that’s expected to cost as much as $600 million, ethical hacking is a highly cost-effective approach to securing your enterprise digital assets.