4 Things Startups Should Know About Cybersecurity

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Established businesses and large enterprises can deal with cybersecurity issues much more easily than young startups. That is why it's even more important for startups to put extra focus on cybersecurity!

According to a report by Forrester, 80% of the companies interviewed suffered a security breach in 2019. Furthermore, 54% of companies report their clients were directly affected by the attack, while 38% report they lost business because of the security vulnerabilities. What is worse, the great majority of the incidents were malware attacks. These kinds of attacks invade customer privacy and jeopardize their safety the most.

Losing clients due to security issues is something startups just cannot afford. Still, startups fail to establish security early on as they put more focus on sales, customer relations and other business operations. And while large corporations have the resources to handle cybersecurity breaches more easily, a young startup could lose everything at the get-go. Let’s take a look at what startups can do to avoid falling victim to cybercriminals.

#1 Create A Culture Of Cyber Awareness

Investing in pricey technological solutions may help your business stay secure. However, technology will not save you from the indifference and negligence of your employees. In this sense, cybersecurity is both a cultural and an infrastructure issue. Your startup needs a cultural ethos with a focus on cybersecurity. By doing this early on, you will be able to expand your team without having to worry about the security awareness levels of a potential hire.

Of course, everyone is prone to mistakes so don’t be too hard on your employees. After all, they are your first line of defense and you should value them for it. If they are afraid of getting fired, they will never report e.g. clicking on a malicious link. That’s why you need to make it clear to your staff you are all in this together and that you depend on each other to keep the business safe. Have your employees undergo periodical cybersecurity training to help establish a security-oriented mindset.

#2 Focus On Compliance Early On

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018. All companies are now obliged to protect the personal information of their European clients. If you do business internationally, it would be wise to comply with GDPR in the early stages of your startup’s growth. By now, 58% of all countries have laws in place for protecting the privacy of their citizens. And in 2020, California’s new privacy law will also go into effect. Evidently, protecting personal information of consumers through legislation is inevitable, so make sure to do it early on.

Complying with GDPR and international specifications such as ISO 27001 will turn your startup into an impenetrable cybersecurity fortress. ISO 27001 is used to specify the management system for information security (ISMS). By implementing the standard early on, you will avoid spending unnecessary time and money for mitigating countless security risks that lay ahead. What’s even better, ISO certified startups have a much better chance of doing business with large enterprises and government bodies, as compliance is often one of the prerequisites.

#3 Importance Of Access Control

As a startup, you must keep track of who gets access to your critical infrastructure. Never hand out more information than needed to outside collaborators and contractors. You need to know exactly who has access to your sensitive information even if you stop working with them. This is not a matter of trust, but precaution. There is always a possibility of your collaborator getting hacked, so make sure to be a few steps ahead.

There is a myriad of tools and services you can use to determine various levels of access. This will allow you to control who gets access to specific parts of your infrastructure. It is extremely important that people with access have a strong sense of cybersecurity awareness. Encourage them to create strong passwords and protect them vigorously. As soon as there is no more need for a person to have access to the infrastructure, make sure to revoke it immediately. You should also have them sign nondisclosure agreements stating they will not leak sensitive information such as passwords to anyone outside the startup or project.

#4 Stay Current On Security Threats

Today, technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate. Consequently, a lot of businesses and technical processes have become partially or fully automated. There are new solutions being created every day, especially in the fields of IoT and artificial intelligence. However, hackers have always been at the forefront of cutting edge tech. Therefore, they have found ways to exploit these new technologies.

Organizations also face numerous threats via wirelessly connected devices. These are referred to as shadow IoT and employees are the main targets. As far as AI is concerned, hackers are using machine learning to enhance phishing attempts with deep fake videos. Being aware of these new technologies and hacking techniques, startups are better equipped to take on any potential cybersecurity threats.

Put Extra Focus On Cybersecurity

Established businesses and large enterprises can deal with cybersecurity issues much more easily than young startups. This is because they have something to fall back on, perhaps a budget allocated for mitigating security breaches, or a steady recurring annual income that serves as a safety net should anything go awry.

However, startups can’t afford any setbacks in terms of cybersecurity. A heavy security breach could mean the end for a startup that just secured funding. This is why you need to put extra focus on securing your systems from the very beginning. Your staff must have basic levels of security awareness. You should utilize the benefits of compliance to protect the personal information of your clients as well as sensitive business data. Always know who has access to your critical infrastructure and keep yourself updated on the latest threats.



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