Why Ethical Hackers have an essential part to play in protecting enterprise data from cybersecurity threats

The beginning of October sees the start of Cyber Security Awareness Month, a collaborative effort between governments and industry to raise awareness about the importance of staying safe online. Part of this conversation inevitably revolves around cybersecurity threats. Highlighting the simple steps that can be taken to protect data, whether personal, financial and/or professional is the key to changing behavior and any bad habits that organizations, and people within them, have.

One of the ways companies scan help mitigate the likelihood of a successful malicious attack is to employ the skills of an ethical hacker. Although this term may seem somewhat paradoxical, ethical hackers are actually the ‘good guys’, working against our traditional idea of a hacker to discover risks and vulnerabilities in an enterprises network, before they are compromised by someone looking to exploit them. It is important to note that by definition, what makes this type of hacking ethical is that it is done with express permission from the target. The reason why ethical hackers are so good at this is because they think as a hacker would, in order to find loopholes and weak points that others probably wouldn’t. If and when a vulnerability is found, an ethical hacker will document the issues and offer advice on how to fix the problems.

In today’s dynamic online world, the value of data is enormous. As such, those entities that store vast amounts of data are vulnerable to becoming targets of people looking to acquire this valuable resource. Nobody, including a single employee, an organization, or even countries, are immune from crimes relating to the procurement of data, including becoming victims of identity theft and banking fraud. With more and more companies entering the e-commerce ecosystem and adopting new technologies like cloud computing, the threat from imminent security breaches is clearly demanding the need for efficient information security systems.

What’s more, for a company, the reputational damage that results from a data breach is often highly damaging for the trust between themselves and their customers, as well as any future prospects. The elevated threat landscape, therefore, urgently dictates the need for a comprehensive, real-world assessment of an organization’s security practices.

Our very own Cybersecurity expert, and a formal ethical hacker, Jason Hart explains more information on the aspects of ethical hacking in this video.

Ethical hackers can help a company understand where its most valuable data is stored and exactly how it can be best protected and can work with the enterprise to reduce their overall security risk – evaluating a company’s overall security posture. For example, the business will need to think carefully about what areas of data are most important for it to protect, financial data, personal data, client data, and so on. Which area would cause them the most pain in the event of a hack? By knowing and fully understanding this, it can then effectively work with an ethical hacker to allocate its budget and resources and make sure the most important area is the best protected.

Taking a proactive approach to security can help organizations better protect their data and in the long term save them money. To be clear, hiring an ethical hacker will not make a company’s defense system 100% secure, however, once the ethical hacker has completed their report the company’s network should be able to withstand automated attacks and unskilled hackers. Although the use of an ethical hacker may not be something a company wants to willing tell its customers it is using, to garner their client’s trust on a more public level, businesses can also prove they are compliant with regulations, including PCI for credit cards and GDPR, for example. Overall, when used in combination with other good security measures, such as multi factor authentication, access control, and data encryption, the skills of an ethical hacker can mean enterprise’s defense systems are in a much better place going forward than prior to their arrival.

As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month Thales have published a new report entitled The Who’s Who of Hackers, which contains rigorous profile analysis of 66 groups of attackers with global importance today. If you would like more information you can download the report at the following link 

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Enterprise Security – Gemalto blog authored by Tim Cawsey. Read the original post at: