Cybersecurity issues are so frequent that they’ve become the norm. Any company can be the victim of a massive Equifax-scale data breach at any moment. But before you scrap your computer and try to do business off the grid, you should know there are thousands of computer geeks dedicated to keeping your company safe.

They’re called ethical hackers, and while that sounds like an oxymoron, they’re here to help and you need them more than you think.

Ethical hacking explained

Unlike the hooded, fast-typing cybercriminals breaking into your network from their basement, ethical hackers are certified security professionals hired to do one job: check for vulnerabilities. Instead of compromising your network and stealing data for themselves, they compromise your network to tell you just how easy it was to break in.

“Yeah it took only two tries to get your password. Didn’t even break a sweat.”

They perform “penetration tests,” which simulate the latest techniques malicious hackers use like software exploits, network intrusions, and social engineering scams. They’ll then compile their findings and discuss possible solutions so you can eliminate your network's vulnerabilities and keep your data safe.

Large corporations like Google and Microsoft regularly employ ethical hackers to find exploitable flaws in their products, but small- and medium-sized businesses have plenty to gain as well.

Think like a cybercriminal

For business owners who know how to keep up with software updates and use strong passwords, ethical hacking may seem like an unnecessary expense. But, are you 100% sure your employees do these things?

Even if your staff is security-conscious, it’s naive to think cybercriminals aren't a step or two ahead of them. In fact, hackers routinely infiltrate networks with never-before-seen malware that can’t be detected by conventional means.

Ethical hackers think like cybercriminals and are therefore able to predict which areas of your business are at risk. This means they can find security flaws so you can fix them before anything happens, saving potentially millions of dollars in data loss and lost productivity.

Raise awareness

Ethical hacking is also a great way to raise security awareness. For example, you can hire a hacker to perform simulated phishing attacks on your employees and record how many people take the bait. You can then use this data to show them just how gullible they are to online scams and how much damage that can cause.

“What were you guys thinking when you wired $10,000 to a Mr. Vladimir Trumpski in Russia?!”

In extreme cases, you can even give ethical hackers permission to steal and break into company-owned devices to test your organization’s physical security, and provide you with practical advice so you and your employees know what and what not do with company computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Stay up to date with security

Besides using their hacking superpowers to make the world a better place, ethical hackers monitor security forums and the dark web for the latest threats. This way they can find out about an attack and develop countermeasures before it affects your business.

The challenge now is finding a certified hacker you can trust. Our suggestion would be to talk to a managed services provider that offers in-depth security assessments and services.

If you’re based in New York, why not talk to Red Key Solutions? We’ll safely hack and secure your systems so the bad guys can’t jack your info! Find out more today.