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Approaching bug bounty programs: A guide for small businesses

Some of the biggest brands have bug bounties, which help them find and fix bugs, vulnerabilities and other security issues. For the unversed, a bug bounty program is offered by an organization for ethical hackers, so that they can test for a vulnerability and report the same. Ethical hackers get paid in return for their effort. This is among the proactive cybersecurity measures, and it makes sense, considering that the same vulnerability may be exploited by a real hacker. Small business owners and new startup founders do have their reservations about engaging the security community. But ethical hackers can be used for testing varied IT resources and environments. If you are considering a bug bounty program for your small business, here are some important things to consider. 

  1. Take help. While it may seem easy to run a bounty program, things can be complicated in the real world. For instance, what proof does an ethical hacker needs to provide to prove a vulnerability? Also, if your business already has security issues, bounties work like green signals for real hackers, who may find a way to exploit the opportunity. Also, how much an ethical hacker should be paid for a job? If you are wondering how to hack your company’s recorder and make the most of such programs, consider taking help from professional services. 
  2. Be open to the security community. There is one downside of bug bounties – Programs can become a point of contention between your brand and ethical hackers in some cases. For example, if your bug bounty program is unclear, or the scope of the terms & conditions are not defined, ethical hackers may find themselves in a position, where their work is not paid for as expected. The idea is to be open to the security community. 
  3. Test everything. To make the most bug bounties, ensure that your program is comprehensive. Yes, there are costs involved, so you need to decide on a budget. The idea is to create a program that will pay the ethical hackers and will not dent your cybersecurity budget in a big way. All IT resources should be tested at some point, and for that, ethical hacking is always handy. 

Check all details of how businesses with a similar profile as yours are running bug bounties, and get a company that can manage the program for your business. Create a budget and work according to your brand needs.