Small business security: An overview of bug bounty programs

Preventing security breaches is a top concern for businesses around the world. The aftermath of data theft and security breach can be extremely devastating. While the financial losses are obvious, most businesses, especially small companies, have a hard time gaining back the trust of investors and customers. Big brands and corporate firms are now relying on the proactive measure of engaging the ethical hacking community for finding security flaws. In this post, we are sharing things about bug bounty programs that small businesses need to know. 

What exactly is a bug bounty program?

In simple words, a bug bounty program is where a company allows ethical hackers to ‘hack’ into their devices and networks, to find security flaws and vulnerabilities. Since this is done with proper permission, it is called ethical hacking. Hackers can report any flaws and security issues they have found, and they get paid in return, in accordance to the terms & conditions of bug bounty programs. From IP camera hack to hacking into networks, IT environments and games, ethical hackers can be used for testing any product or software.

What are the benefits?

Compared to network scanning and penetration testing, bug bounty programs are more transparent and allows a company to be unbiased in the way IT environments are tested. The whole process of finding and fixing vulnerabilities by paying ethical hackers makes much more sense than dealing with the consequences of a security breach. Also, it’s sometimes hard to be objective with in-house testing methods. 

On the flip side

Just because an ethical hacker has found a problem, it doesn’t mean that he would report the same, and therefore, bug bounties need to have good rewards. Also, network testing and scanning cannot be done away with. While your company can rely on bug bounties, over-relying on this alone doesn’t make much sense. 

Things to understand

If you want to have a bounty program, ensure that the scope is defined clearly. For instance, what should a hacker submit to prove a bug or security flaw. Also, how much they are going to get paid, and if they do more, how much they are likely to earn. For running bounty programs, it is absolutely critical to take inputs from security experts, so that everything is fair to your organization, and as well as, to the ethical hackers. 

Check online to find more on how other companies are managing their bounty programs. 

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