In April of 2024, Bugcrowd commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study, examining the potential return on investment (ROI) that enterprises may realize by deploying Managed Bug Bounty. 

This study is especially timely, as investing in crowdsourced security has become an imperative for organizations seeking to bolster their cybersecurity defenses. New, more sophisticated threats are always around the corner, and relying on traditional security measures alone is insufficient. 

Bug bounty engagements are one of the most popular applications of crowdsourcing. They offer a proactive approach to security by harnessing the collective ingenuity of hackers in combination with rewards-based incentives. They provide an ongoing and cost-effective means of identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, ultimately reducing the risk of data breaches and reputational damage. 

The purpose of this study by Forrester Consulting is to provide organizations a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of Bugcrowd’s Managed Bug Bounty on their organizations. 

Methodology of the TEI

To compile these results, Forrester interviewed four representatives with experience using Bugcrowd Managed Bug Bounty and surveyed 39 decision-makers at the manager level or above who are responsible for security strategy, vulnerability management, or security operations at an organization that is leveraging crowdsourced security. 

In the study, Forrester references a “composite organization,” which refers to their aggregated interviewees’ and survey respondents’ experiences. 

Highlights from the TEI

The study found that there are many quantified benefits for using Managed Bug Bounty that were realized by the composite organization. Some of these highlights include:

  • A 268% ROI and $1.43M net present value over three years
  • Improved security operations efficiency and avoided hiring two full-time employees (FTE)
  • Avoided 60% of traditional penetration test costs
  • Reduced risk of a material breach by up to 30%
  • Reduced cybersecurity insurance premium costs by 9%

Forrester completed a three-year, risk-adjusted PV cost for the composite organization, finding it experienced almost $1.5 million in net present value and a ROI of 268%. This includes platform and reward pool costs, along with minimal implementation costs. Payback on the initial investment was found to happen in fewer than six months for the composite organization. 

Unquantifiable benefits 

The study found that the composite organization experienced more than just quantified benefits. The organization experienced a shorter time to remediation, improved relationships between developers and security due to better communication, improved reputation and demonstration of security maturity, improved compliance reporting, effective researcher pairing and strong vendor support, and flexibility to adapt to changing threat environments without new hires or onboarding new tools. 

Quotes from customers

The study is full of many great quotes from customers who have firsthand experience with the benefits of Managed Bug Bounty. Here are a few highlights from the study:

“The Managed Bug Bounty program is a critical piece of our security program. We would be at substantially more risk if we were not using a bug bounty program.” –Head of Information Security, Healthcare

“Our partnership with Bugcrowd has been invaluable. Instead of paying per hour, you pay per actionable finding. That is a major differentiator because security expertise is not cheap and can take many hours.” –Senior Director of Information Security and IT, Automotive

“[Bugcrowd Managed Bug Bounty researchers] find sophisticated exploits. When they find something, you pay attention to it. I don’t know how we’d do it without that because I didn’t see another easy-to-implement solution that is very cost-effective for the value you get.” –Global CISO, Telecommunications

“I have found that the researchers that I’ve been paired with via Bugcrowd and their ‘secret sauce’ platform have resulted in very high-quality interactions with their researchers. The communication has been very fast and efficient…I’m thrilled to have Bugcrowd in my corner. They’re an essential part of keeping our organization and our customers’ data safe. I’m very glad that they’re my partner.” –Head of Information Security, Healthcare

Download the study and dive into the survey results, interviews, and analysis.