What Is Ethical Hacking And Why Is It Essential For Cybersecurity?
In the technology-dominated business world we’re operating in, organizations are finding it harder and harder to protect their data. Cybercriminals and hackers from all over the world can break into a business’s system and steal their data to cause them damage or extort them for money. Often, the only way to combat these threats is to use their own weapons against them. This is where ethical hacking enters the conversation, an often misunderstood yet crucial concept for ensuring cybersecurity. In this article, we explain what ethical hacking is and 6 reasons why you need to implement it as a means to fortify your organization.
Can Hacking Be…Ethical?
Hacking is a term that most of us are familiar with. It refers to the act of using illicit means to compromise digital devices and networks through unauthorized access. It sounds sinister, but there is more to hacking than malicious intent. In fact, hacking can become ethical when a company initiates it via collaboration with an ethical hacker. In other words, an organization hires a skilled professional, also known as a white hat hacker, and permits them to “break into” their systems to identify any vulnerabilities. This allows businesses to discover their security weaknesses and address them before any valuable information falls into the hands of a malicious hacker.
Now that we have clarified that intention and permission are what differentiates malicious from ethical hacking, let’s look at a few reasons why an ethical hacker is a necessary addition to your company.
6 Reasons Your Business Needs An Ethical Hacker
1. Cybercrime Is On The Rise
For quite a few years now, individuals, businesses, and governments have been relying more heavily on the Internet to operate. Unfortunately, hackers have been threatening their peace, trying to exploit weaknesses in their networks for their personal gain. The situation has only worsened since, especially during the pandemic, cybercrime increased by as much as 600%. This truly concerning number must be your wake-up call, as every day we become more and more vulnerable to cybercriminals who can easily gain access to our personal information. If you don’t want your business to suffer, you must take action sooner rather than later and invest in cybersecurity.
2. Identify Weaknesses Before They Can Be Exploited
The main purpose of ethical hacking is to discover vulnerabilities in your system before malicious hackers get the chance to do so. One way ethical hackers achieve this is by mimicking the actions a black hat hacker would perform to gain unauthorized access to your network, with the exception that they have your permission to do it. As they probe applications, networks, and devices, ethical hackers can detect security holes or technical bugs that could jeopardize your company. Once identified, all these faults in your cybersecurity can be patched up before anyone can exploit them.
3. Safeguard Sensitive Data
Your business doesn’t only handle its internal data but also sensitive information regarding your clients and collaborators. In an age where data has become such a valuable asset, its protection must be your organization’s top priority. Every time that a new client signs a contract with you and shares their personal information, they trust that you have taken the necessary measures to safeguard it. Ethical hacking helps you do that by scouring every database and cloud service where such data is stored and making sure that it won’t fall prey to malicious intents.
4. Foster Security Awareness
Despite being an essential addition to your organization, an ethical hacker can’t do everything on their own. Often, your cybersecurity is not just threatened by external attacks, but also by unsuspecting employees that don’t recognize them. Some phishing emails are constructed well enough to fool an employee into clicking malicious URLs or sharing sensitive info. Ethical hackers can help you instill a cybersecurity awareness culture among your employees by sharing some of their valuable knowledge with them. For instance, an ethical phishing email can initiate a workshop on the dangers of phishing and how to keep safe from it.
5. Comply With Regulations And Standards
The high number of cyberattacks has urged many governments to implement strict cybersecurity regulations that all businesses are expected to comply with. Although these regulations don’t require you to collaborate with or hire an ethical hacker, there is no doubt that their help will be invaluable. Their unique knowledge can help you remain compliant with industry standards so that you avoid legal and financial repercussions. At the same time, you can rest assured that your organization is safe from cyber threats and attacks.
6. Gain Customer Trust
Businesses are particularly preoccupied with cybercrime, as its repercussions extend further than financial losses. Keeping the breach of your systems secret is practically impossible, resulting in a great impact on your company’s reputation. If you jeopardize a client’s data once, it’s safe to say they won’t resume their collaboration with you. Thankfully, ethical hacking will support your cybersecurity strategy and protect your rapport with your clientele. It will show them that you are a responsible organization that is committed to protecting their personal information, thus fostering a trusting and long-lasting relationship.
As the digital landscape becomes more and more dangerous, ethical hacking has become a necessity for businesses that operate online. This is mostly due to the unique ability of ethical hackers to know how malicious hackers operate and act before they can hurt your business. Using these proactive measures, they can identify vulnerabilities, fortify your business, and help it become more compliant as well as more reliable and safe for your clients.