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How to Stop Cybercriminals Dead in Their Tracks with Ethical Hacking

From the very first day that organizations started using communication networks, there have been stories of hackers trying to exploit their systems. Often, fictional characters portrayed the underbelly in the world of information security on film. They posed a risk to government agencies, police departments, multinational banks, and other global corporations. What few small businesses expected was that they would soon face the same challenges as the fictional plots from previous decades.

Cybersecurity has become one of the defining challenges of this generation. In many ways, the worst fears have come true and anyone with some free time, access to the internet, and a willingness to learn can become a hacker. The tools and textbooks are readily available if they know where to look. This led to a massive rise in the number of cyberattacks on businesses over the last few years. Ethical hacking is one trend that aims to level the playing field for companies that require elevated cybersecurity protection.

What is Ethical Hacking Really?

Considering the current statistics, ethical hacking is a career choice. Individuals learn to use the same tools and technologies as criminals to develop strategies for combating threats. They then use their skills to gain employment at cybersecurity firms or managed IT services companies. These resources have become so popular that today, there are startup firms that use ethical hackers in gamified experiences to test network security systems. The idea of ethical hacking is starting to resonate with businesses, as they require access to expert resources that can evolve with the latest threats.

Developing the skills required to hack networks isn’t easy. Large hacking communities often work together to solve problems – an activity they call bug hunting. From this community, only 22% considered it a full-time profession, but 81% reported that ethical hacking helped them to get a job. This trend will continue in the future as cybercrime will remain a challenge for companies.

The Benefits of Using Ethical Hackers for Cybersecurity

Modern companies rely on their information systems to keep staff productive. This vulnerability quickly became a target for criminals who deploy malware using sophisticated strategies. Anything from a printer to a phishing email can lead to a successful ransomware exploit that puts the company’s data security at risk.

Unlike network security professionals, ethical hackers have to understand the psyche and motivations of a cybercriminal. They’ll have to not only deploy the tools but also modify strategies and study the threat landscape to exploit a vulnerability.

To achieve their goals, hackers will usually follow this process:

  • Step One – Gather information about the company’s people, systems, and devices.
  • Step Two – Research vulnerabilities and tools they could use to exploit these targets.
  • Step Three – Acquire the tools and customize them for the attack.
  • Step Four – Execute the attack in stages depending on its complexity.
  • Step Five – Use the gathered information for the purposes the attack was intended.

While ethical hackers cannot replace cybersecurity professionals, it should become a part of the modern expert’s skillset. Cybercriminals won’t stop coming after networks, and administrators can only do so much to protect their systems. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will only compound the problem. Ethical hackers will repeatedly attempt to penetrate information systems using the latest tools and strategies, highlighting the shortcomings and any new vulnerabilities in the network.

Ethical hackers take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. They can help in-house network security resources understand the changes to their attack surface and provide valuable insights into deficiencies in their configuration. Without ethical hacking, cybersecurity experts can only respond to evolving threats, instead of heading them off before they succeed.

How Managed IT Services can Help Improve Cybersecurity

The use of ethical hackers is only now becoming a mainstream strategy for ensuring cyber resilience in the workplace. However, taking care of the basics remain just as important. With Managed IT Services, companies gain all the security expertise of a dedicated team of professionals. The company can also streamline digital operations and improve its system’s reliability. As the company will only pay for the resources it needs, it will also get all the technological advances at a consistent monthly cost.

Managed IT Services from Smile Business Products

Smile Business Products provide Managed Network Services that deliver a robust digital solution for reliable business operations. As a trusted technology partner, Smile will work with companies to understand their unique needs and deploy the necessary solutions to overcome their challenges. With business productivity solutions like document management systems, communication solutions, and Managed Print Services (MPS), companies can streamline their workflows and improve their efficiencies with a digital transformation strategy.

For more information about Smile Business Products or if you want to discuss how our Managed IT Services can improve your cybersecurity, get in touch with one of our experts today.