What is Ethical Hacking and Why Does Your Business Need It?

Fri 20 Oct 2023

Motherboard and computer system

In today's digitally driven world, the landscape of cyber security is constantly evolving. 

The need to protect sensitive data and digital assets has never been more critical. In 2022, a staggering 39% of UK businesses experienced cyber attacks, mirroring the numbers from the previous year. 

The financial implications are equally significant, with cybercrime costing UK businesses an average of £4,200 in 2021. For medium and large businesses, this cost soared to £19,400. 

Clearly, businesses need to take steps to secure their websites, data and other digital assets. That’s where ethical hackers can help.

The rest of this article explores what ethical hacking is, why businesses need it, and which ethical hacking qualifications your IT staff need to upskill. 

What is ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing or white-hat hacking, involves authorised professionals probing an organisation's computer systems for vulnerabilities, with the consent of the organisation. 

Unlike malicious hackers, ethical hackers identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities with the intention of improving security. These experts use the same techniques as cybercriminals, but the difference is, ethical hackers obtain the consent of the organisation they are hacking.

Why is ethical hacking important?

In today's hyper-connected, tech-centric world, cyber security is a top priority for businesses. 

Ethical hacking plays a pivotal role in identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious hackers. It's a proactive approach to cyber security, allowing organisations to stay one step ahead of potential threats.

If an ethical hacker can successfully hack an organisation's systems, they then inform the organisation of the weakness in their cyber infrastructure so they can build more secure systems. 

By having an in-house ethical hacker, businesses can ensure that their sensitive data and systems remain secure, preventing dangerous cyber attacks and breaches. 

Advantages of upskilling your IT staff in ethical hacking

Cost efficiency

Outsourcing can be expensive. 

Cyber security consultants can charge substantial fees for their expertise, and costs can escalate rapidly, especially if you require their services on an ongoing basis.

By investing in training your existing IT team in ethical hacking techniques, you're making a long-term and cost-effective commitment. Once your IT staff are trained, they become an invaluable internal resource, available whenever you need them, without incurring additional expenses. 

Knowledge of your systems

Your IT team understands your organisation's systems better than anyone else. 

By training them in ethical hacking, you're leveraging their knowledge to protect your systems effectively. They can identify vulnerabilities specific to your infrastructure, reducing the amount of time it takes to explain your system to an outsider.

Timely threat detection

External consultants may not always be readily available, but your IT staff is on-site and can act immediately in case of an emergency. Having an in-house ethical hacking team means that you can detect and respond to threats swiftly. 

Enhanced trust

In-house ethical hackers are a part of your organisation. Internal employees have a vested interest in the success and security of the company. They are more likely to be loyal and dedicated to safeguarding your organisation's sensitive information.

Scalability and flexibility

As your business grows and evolves, so do your cyber security needs. 

Upskilling your IT staff in ethical hacking allows you to scale your security efforts alongside your business growth. You have the flexibility to adapt and respond to emerging threats without the limitations of external dependencies. 

What skills should ethical hackers possess?

If you have some of the skills listed below (or a willingness to acquire them through a cyber security course) you’re on the right track!   

  • Technical proficiency
  • Cyber security knowledge
  • Networking skills
  • Operating system familiarity
  • Web application security
  • Wireless security
  • Cryptography
  • Security assessment tools
  • Ethical hacking frameworks
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Legal and ethical understanding.

What qualifications should ethical hackers obtain?

Consider enrolling in the NuYew Certified Ethical Hacking Course offered by MOL. This course is designed to provide comprehensive training in ethical hacking, covering all the skills and knowledge you need to excel in this field.

Why choose MOL's Ethical Hacking course to upskill your employees:

  • Learn from industry experts with extensive experience in ethical hacking
  • Learners gain practical experience through hands-on labs and real-world scenarios
  • Upon completion, employees can stay up to date with the latest cyber security trends and techniques
  • Your employees will earn a recognised certification
  • Our course offers flexible learning options to accommodate your employees busy schedule.

Ethical hacking FAQs

How long does it take to train IT staff in ethical hacking?

MOL’s Ethical Hacking Course is a flexible, self-paced course, which means the duration of the course depends on the pace of the learner. Typically, 1-2 hours of studying a day means learners can complete the course in 9-12 months. 

Is ethical hacking legal?

Ethical hacking is legal as long as the owner is consenting to their systems being hacked. 

Does antivirus software protect against hacking?

Although antivirus is an important defence mechanism to prevent hacking, it is not effective 100% of the time. This is why it is important to have an ethical hacker to find loopholes in your security system. 

Can ethical hackers prevent all cyber attacks?

Ethical hackers have the skills and knowledge to assess cyber security measures and recommend changes to prevent the risk of a cyber attack. However, where ethical hackers are limited to legal constraints, malicious hackers use illegal hacking methodologies.

Although ethical hacking cannot prevent 100% of cyber attacks, ethical hackers can still find loopholes where malicious hackers can illegally access your systems and significantly improve your defences, decreasing the chances of your organisation facing a cyber attack. 

How can I get started with ethical hacking training for my IT staff?

Do you want to increase cyber security and prevent cyber threats?

Whether you’re a business owner looking to upskill your staff, or an IT professional looking to upskill and enter the exciting career of ethical hacking, enrol onto the Ethical Hacking Course with MOL and get started. 

NuYew Tech Academy logo

IT Courses and

Progress your career in IT with industry recognised qualifications. Learn 100% online and at your own pace.