Data security and privacy are the top concerns for any business, and startups are not an exception. Loss of confidential data can have negative implications, from financial losses to reputational damage. You may even end up facing legal hassles if customer privacy is compromised at any point. If you have just started your business, you may be a tad more worried about data privacy because breaches are hard to handle at this stage.
Moreover, you may not have enough money to invest in a sophisticated cybersecurity plan that secures your confidential data. The best approach is to look for affordable measures that provide ample coverage and peace of mind without costing a fortune. Fortunately, there are some viable options, even for cash-strapped startups. Here are some measures you can rely on for securing your data without breaking the bank.
Have a strong data security policy in place
Every business, including a budding startup, must have a well-planned data security policy in place right from the day it comes into existence. Small businesses and startups need to go the extra mile because they are soft targets for hackers.
Start by understanding your challenges and vulnerabilities and creating a policy covering each of them to the granular level. It is equally vital to identify the critical assets and ensure that they are encrypted.
For startups that want to economize data security, it makes sense to minimize protected information. Avoid collecting protected information unless you truly need it. Similarly, destroy files that are no longer required.
Empower your IT team
Empowering your IT team with visibility and control is the key to strengthening your security. They should be able to see what every single employee is doing with company data, which devices they are using and where data is stored.
Regular sync and share keep the IT managers’ one step ahead, and it becomes all the more important in a Bring Your Own Device ecosystem. Keeping track of data and devices often gets challenging because the number of devices grows with time, and the line between personal and corporate devices is blurred. But having a mobile device management solution in place can make things manageable for your IT team.
Apart from empowering your IT team, it is also important to train the rest of the workforce. Breaches and attacks are often a bigger risk for startups because employees are not aware and educated enough to prevent them in the first place and handle them if they happen.
Training your team may be an expense, but it is worthwhile, considering it can save you a lot in the long run. Employee training should include aspects such as physical security of devices, data loss prevention, and identifying suspicious links and signs of phishing attacks. Also, educate them about the value of strong passwords and VPNs while accessing company data remotely.
Invest in a reliable file-sharing solution
A free file sharing service appears to be an attractive prospect for startups that want to cut down their expenses. However, it may not be the best thing to leave your security to chance. Investing in a user-friendly secure file sharing solution is a better idea, even if it means spending a bit on an enterprise-grade solution.
It offers complete protection against the general and advanced threats, so you can rest assured and concentrate on your growth initiatives. The IT team will also have fewer problems to handle and can focus on managing the other infrastructure aspects. Apart from ensuring security for business data and information assets, the solution also keeps you one step ahead with compliance.
Encrypt your sensitive data
Data encryption is another simple and cost-effective method that a startup can implement for safeguarding itself from breaches. While encrypting your customer’s and employees’ sensitive information is vital, you can extend the practice to all information, even the email addresses and internal files. The best thing about encrypted information is that it will be unusable even if it is breached, so you have zero worries about data falling into the wrong hands.
Encryption technology is relatively cheap, so you need not worry much about toppling your budgets. Ideally, you should have the strongest encryption available and store encryption keys on a different server.
Conduct regular penetration testing
Another cost-effective measure to safeguard your new business from a data breach is penetration testing, which is to be done regularly. Fortunately, there are several penetration testing tools you can pick for different budgets, so you can easily find one for your startup.
Start by assessing the specific needs and infrastructure of your company and finding a tool that will cover them all. Ideally, you should invest in one that will be of use through the lifespan of the business, even if it means going a bit over and above your budget.
Although limited budgets are always a concern for startups, they cannot afford to risk data breaches. Such incidents not only disrupt operations and cause financial losses, but they may also result in reputational damage, particularly when customer data is compromised. Following a pragmatic, budget-conscious approach for data security is the best way to handle things. It keeps you stress-free about the confidential information yet does not exert financial pressure on the business. Startups should definitely go the extra mile with security!