Startups have a lot of potential. The sad thing is that most lack enough resources to turn their potential into reality. It takes time to grow a startup from the initial stages into an empire. Sadly, startups are often easy targets for cybercriminals, with 43% of cyber-attacks targeting them.
Since most startup leaders often have to work with low resources, and often assume that their businesses aren’t ideal grounds for cyber-attacks, they end up falling prey to such attacks. Other than the loss of data, cyber-attacks hurt the level of trust most stakeholders (customers, investors, and partners) have on these businesses. If you are a startup owner, there is a lot you can do to protect your business from such losses.
Here are four insightful tips to keep your startup safe:
Spread Employee Security Awareness
Your startup’s security posture is only as strong as your weakest point. Since your workforce is typically in the front line when it comes to daily operations, they have a huge role to play in the security of your startup. Ideally, investing in state of the art tools will only take you halfway if employees aren’t educated on the best cybersecurity practices.
For instance, it might only take an employee using public Wi-Fi without a VPN for your organization to be hacked. The onus is on your business leaders to prioritize employee training on cybersecurity practices. They should train employees on how to use the different security software, password management best practices, and how to avoid phishing attacks.
You should also train your workforce on the procedure to follow if they notice any suspicious activity on their accounts. Having all hands on deck security-wise is essential to ensuring an airtight security posture.
Be Smart With Cloud Storage
Cloud storage has been all the rage among businesses. It promises a benefit galore that makes it an ideal option in comparison to in-house storage options. Other than making it easy to access data from anywhere, cloud storage also has a low maintenance cost and embraces high cybersecurity standards.
However, most startup leaders focus so much on the benefit galore provided by cloud storage that they ignore the inherent risk that comes with its adoption. For years, cloud service providers have been working overtime to create secure cloud environments, but hackers are also working hard to look for security loopholes.
As a startup, you should look for third-party security solutions to strengthen the already strong security posture of your cloud solution. A great example would be an encryption tool as it will help mask your data were hackers to gain access to your system. Also, it might be wise to vet the different cloud providers before choosing to work with any of them, as this ensures that you can pick one with high regard for the security of your data.
Practice Password Control
Regardless of how robust your security posture is, poor password management can be a significant security loophole. What’s even worse is that your workforce mainly controls passwords. A hacker might only need to access a single employee’s password to gain access to the rest of your data. If the employee is restricted from accessing sensitive data, hackers can escalate the privileges of such an employee’s account to gain access to this data.
Sadly, an employee might use the same password across all accounts they hold with your business. Some might use passwords that are so easy that it will barely take cybercriminals a minute to crack. For those who happen to use strong passwords, some might have to write down their passwords to make it easy to remember them.
All these practices can lead to the loss of company data. Ideally, you need to train your workforce on how to pick strong passwords and use different ones across the accounts they hold with your business. Also, it might be wise to embrace two-factor verification to reduce the chances of an account being accessed by unauthorized sources.
Prioritize Software Updates
Sure, most businesses behind the software you use will take security as a priority. They, along with cybercriminals, are always looking for loopholes in the security of their products. Once they identify a gap, they work on a security patch and send it out to their customers as soon as possible.
The lucky startups are those that apply these patches to their software. In case you ignore common software updates, you leave yourself vulnerable to an attack by hackers who understand how the security loophole works.
You should assign the task of applying software updates to specific individuals in your workforce. Such updates also need to be checked and made by following a particular schedule to reduce the chances of a cyber-attack.
Considering the already small budget that your startup might have to work with, dealing with the financial burden of a cyber-attack is the last thing you need. Furthermore, you risk losing critical stakeholders to the growth of your business. Focus on the tips above to reduce the chances of a cyber-attack.