Ethical Hacking Can Help To Increase Your Network Security

April 3, 2023  |  Mark Hillary

What would the cost of a data breach be for your company? The truth is that the loss of sensitive data could cost your company far more than you may imagine. According to data from IBM the average cost of a breach was about $4.35 million in 2022.

Losing your customer or employee data is an expensive business.

Things could even be worse. There is an initial cost to redefine your network security, but then there are changes needed to improve security, any fines that regulators may charge, and the potential for customers to desert your company if they don’t feel safe.

The problem is that you can’t leave data security in the hands of your IT or security team – it applies to everyone in the business. This is especially true in this post-pandemic era of remote working. Many remote workers will have access to corporate data that could be extremely valuable to rival companies or hackers that want to sell the data.

Today it is both harder and easier to protect networks. It is harder because there is no longer the concept of physical protection – a single office location that can be protected by controlling who can access the workspace. Easier because there are tools available now that can sniff out unusual network activity 24/7. In the past a breach was often detected long after the hacker had broken in and gained access to your network.

But even with strong security in place, a staff member clicking on an email can easily download software that breaks in and transmit personal information to a bad actor. We need to depend on everyone in the business to protect data.

This requires training, but it’s important to keep testing and checking the infrastructure you have in place day after day. Companies like IBA Group offer an ethical hacking service which can play a powerful role in keeping all employees aware of their responsibility to protect corporate data.

Ethical hacking sounds like an oxymoron. Surely it’s still hacking?

The point is that these hackers are not going to damage your company or sell any secrets. They will attempt to gain access to your corporate data, but the intention is to see how secure your network really is. If the hackers gain access then they will have identified a weakness that can be corrected.

Techniques may even include sending emails to employees with the advice to click and download information – to install a Trojan horse inside the organization.

This tests the training given to employees in the real world. Information can also be sent to employees to help inform them about dangers, such as ‘we sent you a fake email asking you to click on a link, and 25% of recipients clicked the link – now your network is in danger.’ It reminds them of the danger.

No real damage is being done, but the employees are being constantly reminded of methods they can use to keep data protected.

In our modern highly distributed work environment, ethical hacking may be one of the best tools we now have to keep reinforcing defensive behavior. Without it, people will eventually relax and stop worrying about data and that could be fatal for the trust your customers have in your business.

Discover more about cyber security and read the first part of our cybersecurity series here. Find out more about phishing with our examples and learn how to understand that you are dealing with a phishing website or message.

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