When starting a business, cybersecurity is not one of the first things that come to mind. Many start-ups focus on innovating a product and developing an efficient business plan but neglect security. Cash constraints may also put the idea on hold.
Make cybersecurity an integral part of your business’ success. The approach chosen will depend on the size and scope of the company, but no matter what, ensure that all data, systems, and networks are protected from malicious threats. Why is a cyber-secure start-up so important?
Attackers Are Targeting Small Businesses More
Large-scale threats on large corporations grab headlines, but attackers also go after smaller enterprises searching for confidential information. Cyber attackers know that smaller companies often lack the resources to properly secure data and networks, making them vulnerable and easy targets.
As experts such as F12.Net will let you know, the best course of action is to consult a cybersecurity professional. They will analyze your company’s infrastructure and help you develop proper security protocols. They will also create a security plan that monitors and detects suspicious activity. Most importantly, they will educate your team on cyber hygiene and best practices.
It Increases Brand Reputation
A secure online presence will maintain customer trust and loyalty. As more people opt for online services or cashless payments, they entrust their data to the companies. Any security breaches can lead to a loss of customer confidence and a considerable decline in brand reputation.
Clients want to know the security measures at every pay point, social media platform, and website. Keep them informed of every effort or step to protect data, such as encryption protocols used. You can also display a security badge indicating your website is secure.
You’ll Comply With the Regulations
As a start-up, you’re not exempted from government regulations. Know the applicable cybersecurity laws and protocols to adhere to. Some industries, such as financial institutions, health care, and law firms, require compliance with very stringent regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Failure to meet the set standards could lead to hefty fines and penalties, not to mention damage to your company’s reputation. Be on the lookout for new regulations that may require an update of your security protocols. Also, create a culture of compliance. Every day, remind your team to stay current with the standards.
It Saves Time and Money
Security threats come with huge costs. You lose valuable data and time in restoring it. A ruined reputation is also expensive to fix, especially for a startup. Security measures like firewalls, antivirus software, and multi-factor authentication will reduce security incidents and are cost-effective.
Since your enterprise is still tiny, security experts may charge you less since they will not spend too much time on a vast system. Finding and fixing vulnerabilities in a small organization is more accessible than in larger companies with more complex systems. Taking preventative measures now will save you from huge losses later.
Now that you know the importance of a cybersecurity strategy for your start-up, create one as soon as possible. Invest in the right tools and update yourself on the latest security trends. More importantly, understand the different ways attackers exploit vulnerabilities. Common attacks to look out for are:
Phishing is trying to acquire sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. The attacker uses emails, SMSes, or messages to send malicious links or attachments.
The communication looks like legitimate requests and is difficult to distinguish from the real ones. Spear phishing attacks are directed at individuals or companies. They are more targeted and deceptive as they come with personalized messages.
Malware is malicious software designed to disrupt computer operations, gain access to private data, or display unwanted advertisements. The most common types of malware include viruses, ransomware, and spyware. These threats spread through malicious emails, websites, or your network.
Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks
A DoS attack attempts to make a system or server unavailable for its intended users. It happens when malicious actors send too many requests, which overwhelms the server causing it to crash. This attack is devastating as it can have long-term effects where companies lose access to essential data and resources.
Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks
A MitM attack secretly relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other. The goal is to intercept and modify the information. The attacker steals data or hijacks accounts. MitM attacks often happen when one uses unsecured Wi-Fi connections.
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts the data on an infected computer or device, making it inaccessible until a ransom is paid. Ransomware can be spread through malicious emails or a network. It is a dangerous threat as it risks data and demands money to restore access.
Password cracking gains access to user accounts by guessing or breaking passwords. A brute force attack attempts to gain access to a system by trying numerous combinations of usernames and passwords until the hacker finds the correct one. A dictionary attack uses a list of common words and phrases to guess passwords. The longer and more complex the passwords, the more difficult they are to crack.
Zero Day Attack
A zero-day attack exploits an unknown vulnerability; the security team doesn’t have time to respond and patch. The attackers steal data, launch malware, or access systems and networks. They are the most dangerous type of cyberattack, as developers and security teams often do not know the vulnerability exists until it is too late.
As you will realize, you cannot afford to ignore cyber security when establishing or running a start-up. Map the company’s digital landscape and understand who needs access to what. Set up strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, use a secure VPN for remote workers, and implement stringent user access policies. Most importantly, liaise with an experienced cybersecurity expert to assess the company’s security posture regularly. It may cost money upfront but is worthwhile in the long run.