When starting and growing a business, fledgling entrepreneurs are usually overwhelmed with the day-to-day running of activities that they seldom consider their enterprise’s safety. Thus, most startups give little consideration in protecting their business from cybercriminals and do not factor in the cost of cybersecurity in their budget. Granted, there might be many pressing issues that demand time and finance at the onset of a business, however, cybersecurity should still be of utmost priority and integrated into every business’s plan and budget because one hack is all it takes to ruin a business.
With the rate of cybercriminals and cyberattacks rising steadily over the years, it is highly imperative for startups to not only employ the services of a cybersecurity firm but to be aware of the major causes and mistakes that make most businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Here are 10 things every startup must know to safeguard their company.
1. Add cost of security to budget
Where most entrepreneurs get it wrong is at the budgeting and planning stage of their startup. They do not see security as a fundamental necessity in the early days. Consequently, they never factor in the cost of cybersecurity services when drafting the company’s budget. More often than not, this lack of foresight in security measures inadvertently makes most startups easy prey for cyber attackers.
2. Startups are not invulnerable
Most times, new founders like to nurse the notion that their startup’s relatively small size somehow makes them inconspicuous to hackers. However, what they fail to note is that big or small startup, hackers do not discriminate. Cyber attackers spread malicious malware using scripts that exploit vulnerabilities in a company’s system. If you are running a startup, do not make the mistake of leaving your business unprotected by harboring the notion that hackers are not concerned with new companies. Always ensure to protect your business against cyberthreats from the first day of launching.
3. Educate your employees
Cybercriminals exploit the ignorance of people to gain access to sensitive information. Granted, your employees are the backbone of your organization, but they are also the weakest link. It’s your responsibility to inform and educate your workers about the cunning devices of hackers and cybercriminals. The latest security protocols and information must be readily and speedily disseminated through calls, messages, and memos, to always keep your team security conscious. You can benefit from the advantages of using HughesNet Voice to communicate with members of your workforce wherever you are without having to worry about network interruptions and communications breakdown.
4. Beware of ransomware
If you have not heard of or experienced a ransomware attack before, you better guard yourself against it, so you don’t fall victim. Ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts files on a mobile device or laptop. The malware prevents you from accessing your information except you pay a ransom, after which the hacker will provide you with a key to decrypt your files. Most hackers will charge anything from $500-$3,000 as ransom. Paying the ransom does not guarantee that the hacker will provide the decrypting code, anyway. Always back up your company’s file on a secure server regularly so you can easily retrieve your files should you fall victim of ransomware.
5. Tighten your website’s security
Your website should have security features like SSL that encrypts sensitive information and prevents unauthorized access to your files. When you use an SSL certificate on your site, you can comfortably send and receive data using an encrypted connection. More importantly, if your company stores customers’ credentials online, an SSL will prevent hackers from gaining access to such sensitive files. Also, customers are more willing to trust a website with SSL security, so be sure to enable it on your site.
6. Be cautious of phishing
The easiest and most common way for your startup to fall prey to cyberattacks is through phishing. Phishing occurs when hackers create a similar webpage of a popular website and ask people for their login details. Once these hackers collect these passwords, they may steal sensitive information and sell them on the dark web. When running a startup, all workers should receive training to spot phishing attempts and never submit login details on any website.
7. Use two-way verification systems
Sometimes, hackers can discover passwords to your files when you or your employees submit such information on a phishing site. The best way to prevent unauthorized login is to use a two-way verification system that works by asking for a specially generated code after entering a password. This code could either be sent to you or a worker in charge.
8. Have varying levels of access
Not everyone is your company should have full access to complete information. The fewer the people that are privy to sensitive information, the lesser your susceptibility of being hacked. Ensure to place access restrictions on private files so that only employees with a specific clearance level can see or use such data.
9. Monitor your company’s data
Sharing information with third-party vendors is vital to build and grow your startup. Sometimes, this partnership with a third-party may come to a natural end with all access privileges logically revoked. Other times the end of partnership could be the departure of an employee. Incidentally, most startups make mistakes when they forget to cancel administrative rights and change existing passwords. Luckily, some cybersecurity firms can help you track and monitor your data, so you know who knows what and when.
10. Use security patches
Apart from phishing attacks, an unpatched machine still opens a startup to the possibility of hacking. Don’t use unpatched versions of any software, be it Flash or Java. In addition, always make sure all your security patches are updated continuously because hackers always create new programs and scripts to bypass major security systems.
A successful cyberattack on a company can prove detrimental to the growth of a company. Sometimes, it’s not the loss of finances, it’s the damaged reputation and recession in customers’ trust that spells doom for most startups. When it comes to cybersecurity, startups should understand that the cost of employing a cybersecurity firm is greater than the benefits. Also, startups need to cultivate a culture of security consciousness from top to bottom. Employees should know that hackers may exploit their ignorance and that protection against cyberattacks begins with them.