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Why bug bounty programs and pentests go hand in hand

In the world of cyber security, it is essential to proactively identify and fix vulnerabilities in IT systems. Two effective methods that complement each other are bug bounty programs and pentests. This article highlights the benefits of both approaches and provides guidance on how to set up an effective bug bounty program for your company.


The added value of bug bounty programs

In contrast to pentests, which detect vulnerabilities at specific points in time, bug bounty programs offer continuous monitoring of the security of applications, interfaces and infrastructures. The specialization of the participants in various, often novel vulnerabilities is an advantage of these programs that should not be underestimated. The involvement of a large number of experts enables a comprehensive and in-depth review, whereas pentests are traditionally rather broad and only go into depth in some areas.

Leveraging synergies: The combination makes the difference

Just like using the right tool to get the job done - a screwdriver instead of a hammer to tighten a screw - bug bounty programs and pentests complement each other perfectly. Pentests are well suited to internal systems and applications, while bug bounty programs are particularly effective in securing publicly accessible systems. By involving a broad range of security experts, a bug bounty program also strengthens external confidence in your company's security measures.

Legality in focus: providing security to maintain security

Since unauthorized intrusion into systems can be legally prosecuted, it is crucial to provide participants in a bug bounty program with a clear legal framework. Defining a "legal safe harbor" creates the necessary legal certainty for all participants by establishing clear rules for conducting the tests, accessing systems, dealing with discovered vulnerabilities and handling sensitive data.

A successful start: how and when to begin?

A bug bounty program can be initiated at any time. For a successful start, it is advisable to proceed step by step and adapt the program to the maturity level of your security management and your applications. Various program options allow for customization in terms of duration, number of participants and other factors.

Key components of a successful program

Clearly defining the scope of the test, specifying the systems and interfaces to be tested and the technologies behind them are essential. Equally important is incentivizing participants with appropriate rewards for finding vulnerabilities. A fixed budget for rewards helps to keep an eye on costs and make the program flexible. Once the program is launched, careful review and assessment of the reported vulnerabilities is critical to the success of the program and thus to the further development of your company's security level.

By applying these strategies, companies can establish a powerful bug bounty program that complements and strengthens their cybersecurity measures.

Is a bug bounty program still missing from your security toolbox? We'd love to help you strengthen your cyber security measures. Contact us today to learn more about our bug bounty solutions and how they can protect your organization.

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