The global cybersecurity market is flourishing. Experts at Gartner predict that the end-user spending for the information security and risk management market will grow from $172.5 billion in 2022 to $267.3 billion in 2026.
One big area of spending includes the art of putting cybersecurity defenses under pressure, commonly known as security testing. MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global penetration testing (pentesting) market size is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.7% from 2022 to 2027. However, the costs and limitations involved in carrying out a penetration test are already hindering the market growth, and consequently, many cybersecurity professionals are making moves to find an alternative solution.
Pentests aren't solving cybersecurity pain points
Pentesting can serve specific and important purposes for businesses. For example, prospective customers may ask for the results of one as proof of compliance. However, for certain challenges, this type of security testing methodology isn't always the best fit.
1 — Continuously changing environments
Securing constantly changing environments within rapidly evolving threat landscapes is particularly difficult. This challenge becomes even more complicated when aligning and managing the business risk of new projects or releases. Since penetration tests focus on one moment in time, the result won't necessarily be the same the next time you make an update.
2 — Rapid growth
It would be unusual for fast-growing businesses not to experience growing pains. For CISOs, maintaining visibility of their organization's expanding attack surface can be particularly painful.
According to HelpNetSecurity, 45% of respondents conduct pentests only once or twice per year and 27% do it once per quarter, which is woefully insufficient given how quickly infrastructure and applications change.
3 — Cybersecurity skills shortages
As well as limitations in budgets and resources, finding the available skillsets for internal cybersecurity teams is an ongoing battle. As a result, organizations don't have the dexterity to spot and promptly remediate specific security vulnerabilities.
While pentests can offer an outsider perspective, often it is just one person performing the test. For some organizations, there is also an issue on trust when relying on the work of just one or two people. Sándor Incze, CISO at CM.com, gives his perspective:
"Not all pentesters are equal. It's very hard to determine if the pentester you're hiring is good."
4 — Cyber threats are evolving
The constant struggle to stay up to date with the latest cyberattack techniques and trends puts media organizations at risk. Hiring specialist skills for every new cyber threat type would be unrealistic and unsustainable.
HelpNetSecurity reported that it takes 71 percent of pentesters one week to one month to conduct a pentest. Then, more than 26 percent of organizations must wait between one to two weeks to get the test results, and 13 percent wait even longer than that. Given the fast pace of threat evolution, this waiting period can leave companies unaware of potential security issues and open to exploitation.
5 — Poor-fitting security testing solutions for agile environments
Continuous development lifecycles don't align with penetration testing cycles (often performed annually.) Therefore, vulnerabilities mistakenly created during long security testing gaps can remain undiscovered for some time.
Bringing security testing into the 21st-century Impact
A proven solution to these challenges is to utilize ethical hacker communities in addition to a standard penetration test. Businesses can rely on the power of these crowds to assist them in their security testing on a continuous basis. A bug bounty program is one of the most common ways to work with ethical hacker communities.
What is a bug bounty program?
Bug bounty programs allow businesses to proactively work with independent security researchers to report bugs through incentivization. Often companies will launch and manage their program through a bug bounty platform, such as Intigriti.
Organizations with high-security maturity may leave their bug bounty program open for all ethical hackers in the platform's community to contribute to (known as a public program.) However, most businesses begin by working with a smaller pool of security talent through a private program.
How bug bounty programs support continuous security testing structures
While you'll receive a certificate to say you're secure at the end of a penetration test, it won't necessarily mean that's still the case the next time you make an update. This is where bug bounty programs work well as a follow-up to pentests and enable a continuous security testing program.
The impact of bug bounty program on cybersecurity
By launching a bug bounty program, organizations experience:
- More robust protection: Company data, brand, and reputation have additional protection through continuous security testing.
- Enabled business goals: Enhanced security posture, leading to a more secure platform for innovation and growth.
- Improved productivity: Increased workflow with fewer disruptions to the availability of services. More strategic IT projects that executives have prioritized, with fewer security "fires" to put out.
- Increased skills availability: Internal security team's time is freed by using a community for security testing and triage.
- Clearer budget justification: Ability to provide more significant insights into the organization's security posture to justify and motivate for an adequate security budget.
- Improved relationships: Project delays significantly decrease without the reliance on traditional pentests.
Want to know more about setting up and launching a bug bounty program?
Intigriti is the leading European-based platform for bug bounty and ethical hacking. The platform enables organizations to reduce the risk of a cyberattack by allowing Intigriti's network of security researchers to test their digital assets for vulnerabilities continuously.
If you're intrigued by what you've read and want to know about bug bounty programs, simply schedule a meeting today with one of our experts.