Ethical Hacking: Reasons To Test Your Cybersecurity

Dakota Murphey

Every day, cybercrime reports become more shocking. In the UK alone, some 46% of all businesses suffered some form of cyber breach or attack in 2017.

Many companies are turning to ethical hackers in the battle against criminals. Ethical hackers are cybersecurity professionals who engage in professionally conducted hacking assessments designed to provide organizations with insight into their vulnerabilities.

Here are a few reasons you should consider working with an ethical hacker.

The increasing sophistication of cyber attacks

Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated. As hackers develop more advanced techniques, it becomes necessary to employ equally advanced defenses. Ethical hacking is an important way to establish where your organization is most vulnerable and how to implement more effective forms of defense.

The expense of getting hacked

Getting hacked is extremely costly, not just in terms of the upfront financial costs, but also below-the-surface costs such as reputational damage. The expense of achieving and maintaining a mature cybersecurity posture is an investment in avoiding the financial strain of suffering data breaches.

Hidden risks

One of the key uses of ethical hacking is testing defenses. Penetration testing, one of the most common forms of ethical hacking, can help you identify as well as address weaknesses across networks, systems, and applications.

If your defenses are untested, there may well be exposures that you simply did not know about. Ethical hacking is one of the most effective ways to understand how secure your organization really is.

Detection and response capabilities

One form of ethical hacking engagement that can be extremely useful is red teaming. This technique can help you understand the effectiveness of technology, personnel, and processes in defending against cyber attacks.

A red team operation sees experienced professionals attempting to breach your business over a period of weeks and months to achieve an agreed-upon objective, such as obtaining access to sensitive data. Red teaming uses a “no holds barred” approach to achieving its goals and helps comprehensively test threat detection and response capabilities.


Modern businesses are required to comply with a huge variety of data security-related regulations and standards. These range from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), overseeing the processing of personal data, to PCI DSS, the standard for protecting card-payment information. Among the requirements of GDPR, for instance, is a process for regularly testing, assessing, and evaluating the effectiveness of security controls and processes.

Forms of ethical hacking are key to supporting this aspect of the regulation. These include regular penetration testing and having detailed plans for knowing when and how to report a data breach.

A guide for future security investments

A key benefit of ethical hacking is that it can help to guide future security investments. Learn exactly where your organization is weakest and hence where you need to prioritize security spending and training. Ethical hacking can also help you to improve understanding of the latest attack methods and assist in the development of new monitoring techniques and processes to identify them.

For more on this topic, read Cloud Security Fears Rise: How To Reinforce Control.

About Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is a tech writer specialising in cybersecurity, working with Redscan on this and a number of other GDPR, MDR, and ethical hacking projects.