Ten Reasons Hacking is the Best Way to Ensure Company Security - dummies

Ten Reasons Hacking is the Best Way to Ensure Company Security

By Kevin Beaver

Ethical hacking is not just for fun or show. For numerous business reasons, ethical hacking is the only effective way to find the security vulnerabilities that matter in your organization.

The bad guys think bad thoughts, use good tools, and develop new methods

If you’re going to keep up with external attackers and malicious insiders, you have to stay current on the latest attack methods and tools that they’re using.

IT governance and compliance are more than high-level checklist audits

With all the government laws and industry regulations in place, your business likely doesn’t have a choice in the security matter. The problem is that being compliant with these laws and regulations doesn’t automatically mean you’re secure. PCI DSS comes to mind. You have to take off the checklist audit blinders. Using ethical hacking tools and techniques enables you to dig deeper into your business’s true vulnerabilities.

Ethical hacking complements audits and security evaluations

No doubt, someone in your organization understands higher-level security audits better than this ethical hacking stuff. However, if you can sell that person on ethical hacking and integrate it into existing security initiatives (such as internal audits and compliance spot checks), the auditing process can go much deeper and improve your outcomes. Everyone wins.

Clients and partners will ask, “How secure are your systems?”

Many businesses now require in-depth security assessments of their business partners. The same goes for certain clients. The bigger companies might want to know how secure their information is on your network.

The law of averages works against businesses

Information systems are becoming more complex by the day. Literally. It’s just a matter of time before these complexities work against you and in the bad guys’ favor. A criminal hacker needs to find only one flaw to be successful in his efforts. Security professionals have to find them all.

If you’re going to stay informed and ensure that your critical business systems and the sensitive information they process and store stay secure, you have to look at things with a malicious mindset.

Ethical hacking improves understanding of business threats

You can say passwords are weak or patches are missing, but actually exploiting such flaws and showing the outcome are quite different matters. There’s no better way to prove there’s a problem and motivate management to do something about it than by showing the outcomes of ethical hacking.

If a breach occurs, you have something to fall back on

In the event a malicious insider or external attacker still breaches your security, your business is sued, or your business falls out of compliance with laws or regulations, the management team can at least demonstrate that it was performing due diligence to uncover security risks on a periodic and consistent basis.

A related area that can be problematic is knowing about a problem and not fixing it. The last thing you need is a lawyer and his expert witness pointing out how your business was lax in the area of information security testing or follow-through.

Ethical hacking brings out the worst in your systems

Someone walking around with a checklist can find security “best practices” you’re missing, but he isn’t going to find most of the in-depth security flaws that ethical hacking is going to uncover. You know, the ones that can get you into the worst trouble. Ethical hacking brings out the warts and all.

Ethical hacking combines the best of penetration testing and vulnerability assessments

Penetration testing is rarely enough to find everything in your systems because the scope of traditional penetration testing is simply too limited. The same goes for vulnerability assessments that mostly involve security scans. Ethical hacking combines the best of both and gets you the most bang for your buck.

Ethical hacking can uncover weaknesses that might go overlooked for years

Ethical hacking not only uncovers technical, physical, and human weaknesses, but it can also reveal problems with IT and security operations, such as patch management, change management, and lack of awareness, which may not be found otherwise.