3 Ways to Increase Profits by Driving Agility with Bug Bounty Programs

October 4, 2021

The pressure to innovate continues to build across industries and businesses of all sizes are catalysing a digital mindset to accelerate their transformation. Organisations with a high baseline of digital maturity have a better competitive advantage, and they adapt faster to changing market conditions. However, as businesses become digitally mature, they will have to deal with the alarming increase in cyber threats – forcing conversations on data ownership, privacy, security, transparency, and trust.

A Deloitte article on ‘Pivoting to Digital Maturity’ highlights that investing early to build flexible AND secure infrastructure capabilities is central to digital transformation. They will inevitably enlarge their attack surface as they build out more robust digital assets, capabilities, and ecosystems. This is likely why cybersecurity is also the top priority for higher-maturity organisations since they have more exposed assets to monitor and secure.

However, workforce shortages exist for almost every position within cybersecurity. A Frost & Sullivan Global Information Security Workforce Study reveals that we are on pace to reach a cybersecurity workforce gap of 1.8 million by 2022, a 20% increase over the forecast made in 2015. There will be a desperate shortage of people who can design secure systems, write safe computer code and create the ever more sophisticated tools needed to prevent, detect, mitigate and reconstitute from damage due to system failures and malicious acts.

That is why bug bounty programs play a crucial role in establishing the right balance between mitigating risk and enabling business innovation. Leveraging the worldwide community of security researchers working 24/7 can help you secure applications at scale before malicious hackers exploit vulnerabilities. It is a dramatic shift from traditional security audits such as pentests. Traditional testing models cannot meet the demands of modern agile development methodologies. They are expensive, resource-intensive, and are only a point-in-time assessment. With pentesting, you must wait a few weeks to complete the tests and the final report. As soon as the information comes out, the findings may become obsolete. And some critical vulnerabilities slip through even the most mature application security programs.

Bug bounty drives agility within the organisation, and at the same time, meets the never-ending demands of those customers who trust you with their personal information. In short: it’s a must for digital businesses.

Here are Three Ways to Increase Profits by Driving Agility with Bug Bounty Programs:

Get Access to an Army of Global Security Experts

Traditional pentests do not address the talent shortage. Quite the contrary, pentesting providers suffer from the same lack of skills as their clients. As a result, traditional auditing approaches lack an effervescence of ideas and the needed complementary skills. Hence bug bounty programs offer a modern solution since testing is not limited to one ethical hacker or a limited set of testers. Thousands of global security researchers (or ethical hackers) work or can be handpicked and rotated on a given scope with various approaches. Researchers use their creativity to detect many flaws that would otherwise be missed because of the naturally limited skillet of a small pentesting team.

Likewise, it is increasingly challenging to find skilled penetration testers at short notice before a new release. Moreover, applications today utilise multiple technologies. One person cannot be an expert in all of them, so having a diverse range of people with a broad skillset testing the software makes more sense. It’s like having a large army of security researchers who are incentivised to spend time deep-diving into an application searching for more technical, complex vulnerabilities, which isn’t the case in running regular pentests.

When asked what made them choose bug bounty over pentests, a cybersecurity expert from a leading publisher of cybersecurity solutions highlighted that their operations must reflect the strong cybersecurity practices they endorse to their customers. “About two years ago, we decided to move to continuous monitoring, both to improve the security of our applications and reassure our customers. Bug Bounty was the natural choice to underpin this modern cybersecurity strategy.” Happy with the skillset and experience the community offers, he further added, “That’s a key point compared to traditional approaches: bug bounty offers an extensive range of skills to ensure that applications are as secure as possible”.

Since businesses only pay for valid vulnerabilities as defined earlier in the program, bug bounty is also cost-effective to secure applications and increase the bottom line.

Benefit From In-Depth Vulnerabilities Reports

Businesses must constantly evolve to meet changing business models, new regulatory requirements, technological innovations, and increased cyberattacks. Cyber security threats and vulnerabilities must be identified, defined, quantified, and managed. Professional pentesters usually have a defined scope and typically follow a standard methodology that assures that the entire breadth of the scope is covered. Unlike professional pentesters, every bug bounty hunter brings their unique expertise to maximise their chances of finding vulnerabilities very quickly – as only the first reporting hunter gets rewarded.

A security expert from Olvid, an instant messaging start-up, highlights that continuous monitoring by expert hunters validating every new update is critical for every business in today’s world. “About two years ago, we decided to move to continuous monitoring on YesWeHack’s platform, both to improve the security of our applications and reassure our customers. Bug bounty was the natural choice to underpin this modern cybersecurity strategy. If we want to protect our application from hackers, it must be evaluated by researchers who use their exact methods and think like them,” he added.

Since bug bounty hunters do not face the time constraint and do not follow a common toolset, they think out-of-the-box to cover different application sections in more depth based on their unique skills and experience. This ensures that products and services released in the market are secure and more likely to win customers trust, hence driving sales.

Drive DevSecOps With Continuous Vulnerability Reports

In a world of accelerated production code deployments, a cumbersome manual traditional security audit may cause delays. Bug bounty programs are more comprehensive than traditional audits and provide continuous feedback since it is platform driven. By categorising, prioritising, and documenting vulnerabilities continuously, the whole remediation process gets streamlined and allow organisations to triage issues efficiently. With standard audits, security teams rarely run a remediation check. If a significant security flaw is discovered, the deployment is delayed until the code is fixed. With bug bounty, the risk prioritisation will be higher, which will be passed on to the support team to fix the vulnerability. Post-deployment of the fix, the hunters will retest the application to check if the bug was fixed.

The same cybersecurity expert from a leading publisher of cybersecurity solutions highlighted that the reports written by the bug bounty researchers detail precisely the vulnerabilities found and how to fix them. “The bug bounty model is a much more agile approach than traditional methods. We can’t be agile when we’re doing pentests. Bug Bounty has ultimately allowed us to launch an actual monitoring process for DevSecOps. Moreover, we can provide agile, in-depth security in collaboration with all stakeholders without overly impacting them, with continuous improvement in mind,” says a leading European cyber security expert,” he said.

With bug bounty programs, security teams can run tests at any time and get confirmation of remediation quickly. This responsiveness and availability can add significant value to building, testing, and improving products, thus driving higher business profits.

More Resources on Increasing the Return on Security Investments With Bug Bounty Programs

As digital innovations make the world a faster, better, and much more efficient place to work and live, the focus is shifting towards security threats and how best to handle them. A secure and hardened IT environment helps gain customers’ trust in the long run. To understand how to maximise the return on investment (ROI) of bug bounty programs, download the eBook on “Five Reasons Bug Bounty Improves the Return on Security Investments “.

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To find out more, contact one of our Bug Bounty experts:

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About YesWeHack:

Founded in 2015, YesWeHack is a Global Bug Bounty & VDP Platform. YesWeHack offers companies an innovative approach to cybersecurity with Bug Bounty (pay-per-vulnerability discovered), connecting tens of thousands cybersecurity experts (ethical hackers) across 170 countries with organizations to secure their exposed scopes and reporting vulnerabilities in their websites, mobile apps, infrastructure and connected devices. YesWeHack runs private (invitation based only) programs and public programs for hundreds of organisations worldwide in compliance with the strictest European regulations.

In addition to the Bug Bounty platform, YesWeHack also offers: support in creating a Vulnerability Disclosure Policy (VDP), a learning platform for ethical hackers called Dojo and a training platform for educational institutions, YesWeHackEDU. For more information: www.yeswehack.com