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What is ethical hacking and why your company should use it

What is ethical hacking

In the Age of Information, cybercrime is rife. In fact, malicious hackers are now violating computers or networks at a rate of one attack every 39 seconds. That’s an alarming discovery!

With acts of cybercrime on the rise, it’s never been more important to secure your business against potentially devastating hacks or breaches. If you fail to do so, you’re essentially leaving your door wide open to cybercriminals.

One of the most effective ways to consistently fortify your company’s network against cyber-attacks is by investing in ethical hacking.

Here we’re going to consider what ethical hacking is and why it’s so important in today’s digital world.

“We need to do whatever we can to defend ourselves against hacking.”

Søren Skou, Danish Business Leader and cyber security expert

What is ethical hacking?

Also known as ‘Penetration Testing’, ethical hacking is the process of stepping into the shoes of a malicious hacker – or cybercriminal – and tapping into every key area of your internal IT system to identify potential strengths or weaknesses.

In doing so, it’s possible to gain a greater understanding of where you need to improve or evolve your cybersecurity efforts and ultimately, make your business water-tight.

Ethical hackers are specialists in their field and typically work with companies based on their specific aims, needs and security goals.

The benefits of ethical hacking

Ethical hacking is pivotal to an organization’s cybersecurity success as it involves a perfect blend of technological innovation and human intervention.

This revolutionary cyber security concept comes with its share of benefits, regardless of your industry or sector. Here are the primary perks of embracing ethical hacking:

  • Preparation: By working with ethical hackers, you’ll uncover ways to prepare yourself for future attacks both strategically and responsively. If you can prepare for future attacks, you’ll be able to kill them at the source which in turn, will save you time, money and devastation.
  • Vision: As ethical hackers can drill deep into the issues that are making your business vulnerable to attack, you’ll discover holes as well as hidden weaknesses and grasp them in a practical context. As a result of this enhanced vision, you’ll be able to gain a better understanding of where and what to invest in your cybersecurity efforts.
  • Growth: As a business, you’ll no doubt want to scale over time. By working with ethical hackers, you’ll be able to stave off detrimental cyber-attacks while gaining consultancy on what measures you need to take as your business scales – essential information for any ambitious organization in the digital age.

How to work with ethical hackers

To ensure maximum success, hiring the right ethical or ‘white hat’ hacker for your needs is essential.

That said, here are the key attributes you should look for when hiring an ethical hacker for your organization:

  • Qualifications: Professional certifications offer a stamp of competence and authenticity. When you’re looking to work with an ethical hacker, check whether they have qualifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credentials, relevant cyber security awards or in lieu of formal certification, a proven track record of excellence.
  • Recommendations: When you’re in the process of hiring an ethical hacker, you should branch out to others in your field and request recommendations and referrals to ensure you hire an expert that will yield the results you’re looking for. Moreover, genuine testimonials about potential candidates and case studies relating to their past projects will also help make an informed decision.
  • Technology: Any good ethical hacker will work with (or be happy to work with) the tools and technology to perform penetrative tasks and help doctor any cybersecurity weaknesses. When talking through your requirements, you should ask potential candidates if they’re competent in using anti-malware software like Spybot or cutting-edge cloud-based patch management platforms like Cloud Management Suite.

How to become an ethical hacker

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, ‘I’d like to become an ethical hacker’, here are some tips for getting into this most essential and rewarding of fields:

  • Read: Before you decide to embark on a course or qualification, you should read up on every aspect of ethical hacking and cybersecurity while remaining abreast of any relevant industry news. Here are some publications that will help.
  • Learn: Naturally, to become an ethical hacker you’ll need to become qualified. These courses and qualifications will help you get started.
  • Try: Once you’ve gained a solid working knowledge of ethical hacking, you should branch out to small organizations and offer your services for free (initially) to get the experience and references you need to land that first big job.

For operational insights, read Top tips and tools to maximize website uptime.

Guest Author- Jeff Broth

Jeff Broth is a business writer, mentor, and cybersecurity advisor. He has been consulting both enterprises and SMBs for the past seven years.
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