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Bug Bounty Program: Worth giving a shot or not?

September 26, 2023 8:57 am | by Sarvika Technologies | Posted in Tech

Businesses from various industries are constantly adopting new innovations and technologies to boost their productivity levels, enhance their operations, and stay solid in a fast-paced landscape. However, as dependency on the internet and automation has grown multi-fold, it has also given rise to cybercrimes.

The surge in cybercrime cases and their various forms has raised concerns among IT organizations as any gap in security can turn into serious trouble.

Although discovering vulnerabilities in the networks before releasing new products or services through internal assessments and penetration testing teams is not a new thing and happening for ages, there are sometimes some gaps left unsolved due to limited time and manpower.

In recent years, many businesses have adopted one more method of tackling the bugs in the system, which is receiving too much appreciation- the Bug Bounty Program.

What Are Bug Bounty Programs?

Bug bounty programs are initiatives where external individuals or independent security researchers are given the opportunity to uncover bugs in software or systems. It’s like hosting an open competition where anyone, regardless of their experience or expertise, can examine the software or system for bugs.

If they find any issues, they receive a monetary reward from the organization, with the payout based on the severity of the problem. These bugs typically include security vulnerabilities but can also encompass process issues, hardware flaws, and more.

Why Do Businesses Use Bug Bounty Programs?

Bug bounty programs provide businesses with access to a diverse pool of ethical hackers and security researchers who can help identify vulnerabilities in their code. This external perspective helps ensure that all blind spots are addressed before malicious hackers can exploit them.

Additionally, having a bug bounty program in place signals to the public and regulators that an organization is committed to robust security practices.

How are these bug bounty programs conducted?

To conduct bug bounty programs effectively, organizations establish rules and regulations that participants must follow to be eligible for rewards.

These rules typically define the types of testing permitted, such as prohibiting denial-of-service attacks or social engineering.

They may also specify which systems or software are eligible for testing and which are off-limits. After identifying security vulnerability issues, participants need to prepare and submit reports to the organization conducting the bug bounty program.

The organization then reviews these reports, determines their validity, and decides on rewards, which may include recognition or other incentives beyond monetary compensation.

Benefits Organizations Gain From Bug Bounty Programs

The practice of conducting bug bounty initiatives presents a multitude of benefits for organizations, which has led to the increasing adoption of such programs within the corporate landscape.

More Security

One of the foremost advantages offered by bug bounty programs lies in their capacity to identify and rectify vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked or missed by internal assessment teams. The larger pool of participants increases the likelihood of uncovering vulnerabilities from various angles, ultimately leading to the development of more secure software.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Completely becoming dependent on full-time security professionals and conventional penetration testing practices can be financially burdensome, particularly for smaller and mid-sized IT enterprises. In contrast, bug bounty programs represent a savvy and cost-effective alternative, as they compensate independent white-hat hackers or security experts only when they successfully identify a valid vulnerability.

Reputation Management

An effective bug bounty program does the job of advertising and enhancing a company’s reputation by showcasing it as a responsible and proactive player in the realm of cybersecurity. This also results in fostering trust among clients, business partners, stakeholders and the government, who appreciate the organization’s commitment to security.

Access Talent Beyond Geographies

Bug bounty programs enable organizations to tap into a wider pool of security researchers from any part of the world and simultaneously reduce dependence on their internal resources. These experienced researchers bring extensive knowledge and expertise in addressing security challenges, offering a broader perspective for creating foolproof software/systems.

Continuous Testing and Learning

Bug bounty hunters continually probe systems for vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This ongoing security testing aids companies in identifying new vulnerabilities that may emerge due to technological advancements or changes in the threat landscape.

In many cases, personalized one-on-one training sessions have displayed better outcomes in elevating the learning levels of individuals. It promises benefits such as

Challenges of bug bounty programs

Above you have explored the benefits that bug bounty programs bring to the table for the organization. However, they also present some challenges that an organization needs to deal with to get the best outcome from their external support.

One of the most formidable challenges that businesses face is managing the mammoth volume of reports received in this program. It often gets a complicated affair for IT firms to manage numerous sorts of reports in a limited time frame.

After the complexity of managing a large pool of reports, the second or one of the most difficult challenges businesses is assuring the level of bounty rewards. While many large businesses are high on revenue and able to offer large rewards to attract the best of best-talented security researchers, many struggle due to less revenue leading to not bringing top talent to participate.

Many a time, bug bounty programs have come along with legal and ethical challenges that have put the organizations into serious trouble. There are many incidents where participants have deliberately tried to cause damage to the system or data and cause legal issues for the organization.

Does your organization need to consider the Bug Bounty Program?

Several large organizations now run bug bounty programs on their own or partner with dedicated platforms, making bug bounty programs an integral part of cybersecurity. A bug bounty program is ideal for a company that has complete trust in its vulnerability management processes and is seeking expert verification that it hasn’t missed anything.

In many enterprises, targeted pen testing and red teaming are carried out on an annual basis and for all major new releases, complemented by bug bounty programs. Although it is costly to have both, it maximizes the chances of finding vulnerabilities within an enterprise. Let us know your opinions on it by reaching us at hello@sarvika.com

Written by Sarvika Technologies

Sarvika Tech is a team of young, energetic, and technology-loving people on the journey to help companies achieve their goals by supporting their IT needs. In a nutshell, we are a people’s company where the priority is their knowledge enhancement and career development. We believe that focusing on our most important asset, the team, will enable us to push boundaries and deliver ingenious IT solutions.

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