Starting a business is hard, and it’s even more challenging in a world plagued by, well, a plague. As if a pandemic weren’t enough to contend with, fledgling ventures are also facing viruses of a different kind, especially as most startups choose to use technology in many different ways in their operation. Here we will talk about take this into consideration to protect your startup system security.
This year’s COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how cybercriminals are quick to profiteer from uncertainty and confusion. Across all sectors and industries, be they private and public, fraudsters have upped the attacking ante.
Contrary to popular belief, cybercriminals are just as likely to attack small companies as they are big names. We might believe hackers target big companies the most because these attacks garner more media attention.
The increased cyber threat level highlights just how vital a proper, multi-faceted cybersecurity plan is to all businesses and startups in particular. After all, getting off to a running start is considerably more problematic when your company’s systems, data, and financial information is compromised.
Consider the impact of a data breach on a new venture; financial loss isn’t the only repercussion. The hit to reputation can be difficult, if not impossible, to recover from.
With the above factors in mind, it’s critical to build your cybersecurity plan alongside your company. Make security an essential part of your startup’s ethos from the get-go, and you’ll be much better placed further down the line.
Here are some of the top strategies you should take to ensure you have a startup system security.
Create a culture of cybersecurity
This is arguably the most impactful thing you can do to secure your venture. Because when all staff is on-board with the importance of security protocols, your company is far less likely to fall prey to human foibles, which hackers deliberately and cleverly target. Whether your startup is a one-person show or consists of a team of thirty, make it known that cybersecurity is everyone’s job.
It might sound ominous, but constant vigilance is critical when it comes to ensuring ongoing security. Try to keep up to date with the threat landscape, particularly as it pertains to your sector. Pass this information on to team members in the form of cybersecurity training sessions.
If you lack the skills needed to impart training, hire cybersecurity professionals who do have the know-how.
Regularly scan your company’s system security for vulnerabilities
Technology is impressive, and so too are the numerous tools, extensions, and add-ons we use daily to get down to work. Our digital systems are dynamic and designed to help our businesses succeed. But there’s always the possibility of vulnerabilities, and it’s those vulnerabilities that hackers actively seek out.
Perhaps your clients’ data is not secure in the cloud, or your website’s payment system has a glaring exploit. Whatever the situation, it’s essential to close the digital gates as it were. Regularly checking your systems and protocols for vulnerabilities is one of the best ways to get on top of potential exploits before they cause havoc.
Your best bet to check over your systems is an IT professional. Make sure you re-check if any protocols change or you add new technology or steps.
Secure the IoT in your office
There’s no doubt about it, the Internet of Things (IoT) has given us a lot in terms of convenience. Smart, interconnected devices swiftly cut the time it takes to complete specific tasks, but we pay for the convenience factor with an increased threat level.
There is an equal, if not greater, number of potential ins a hacker can use for every device connected to a network. Consider the case of a casino being hacked via a smart fish tank or the new Kaiji malware that targets IoT devices.
Securing your office’s network is easy enough. A VPN router performs the same job as a traditional VPN app but covers every device connected to the network.
Cut BYOD culture as much as possible
BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device and refers to a culture among businesses whereby staff regularly complete work-related tasks on their personal devices. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? After all, most of us have answered work emails while commuting or quickly checked some data from our phones before a meeting.
But the issue with BYOD is that personal devices have an uncertain security status. They could be infected with malware or, outside of an office setting, staff could be connecting to compromised networks.
Whenever possible, try to limit work tasks to company devices. Or ask your employees to nominate one personal device that they will use for work. This is easier said than done, mainly if your company operates on a remote work model. In these cases, provide your staff with the security tools they need to work safely on personal devices.
Use paid cybersecurity software and solutions
Besides VPN encryption, which we covered earlier, your venture (depending on its size and scope) should also invest in the following security tools:
● Email scanners
● DNS protection
● Advanced firewall
● Automated penetration testing
It’s not enough to rely on free software to cover your cybersecurity bases. Let alone software that comes from questionable sources. There’s a reason why paid security solutions continue to do well in the market: they mitigate more threats than their free counterparts.
Another worrying element of third-party extensions and software is the amount of data these programs may collect. There’s always a chance you’re compromising your clients’ data, so for that reason, you’re always better off sticking to paid solutions.
Practice Good Digital Hygiene
Sometimes the basics are overlooked amongst all the chatter about DDoS and data sniffing and other threats. But solid digital hygiene practices matter as much as ever:
● Sign out of accounts when you’re finished
● Ask staff to use complex passwords
● Don’t repeat passwords across accounts
● Use multi-factor authentication methods
● Treat email links and attachments with suspicion, always
● Keep all software, and operating systems updated, and install updates as soon as they are available
While many of the steps covered above are simple and easy enough to implement, a surprising number of companies overlook cybersecurity measures. An Accenture study indicated that a mere 14 percent of small businesses are equipped to handle cyber threats. Don’t let your new venture fall at the first hurdle because of poor system security practices.