Large Corporations, well-established government agencies, and non-governmental agencies have invested in cybersecurity to build more threat-resilient networks and systems. The case is different with business startups. Most startups do lack the resources to invest in proper security measures. Hackers will have less to do to breach a startup successfully. As an entrepreneur, you will have to be extra-vigilant to secure your startup business.
This article explains tips on cybersecurity for the startup business and you can make your startup more secure.
1: Password Security
Most people turn towards using the most uncomplicated characters when creating passwords. Similarly, most people reuse their passwords on multiple accounts. A Harris Poll online security Survey now shows that 65% of people reuse passwords across multiple platforms. Passwords are the primary cause of most business data breaches. In 2019 alone, 42% of data breaches to businesses resulted from weak passwords.
To secure your startup business, the first line of defense that you should have is a strong and unique password. These types of passwords will thwart efforts of brute force and prevent unauthorized access to your systems. However, it is also great to make your passwords easy to remember. Some users end up creating very long and complex passwords and end up forgetting them. Here are some of the best password ideas you should follow:
- Length trumps complexity. A long password seems more secure. Eight to ten characters long are ideal. A long password might also be easy to forget so, write it down on paper.
- Complexity still counts. You should blend characters when creating your password. Make a blend of both lowercase and uppercase letters along with numbers, and special characters.
- A password manager is your secret weapon. It is a great tool that can be used to organize your passwords. It makes sure safe password storage. Some of the best password manager tools include LastPass, KeePass, and Dashlane.
- Always ensure that you used different passwords for each one of your accounts.
- Password storage matter. Writing them down or allowing your web browsers to store your passwords is not the best storage idea. A hacker who has access to these sources can easily compromise your business data.
These practices apply to you and your business customers. Ensure that all those who create their accounts with you abide by these rules.
2: Security Training and Awareness
It appears that many startups, as well as established agencies, are yet to recognize the essence of cybersecurity training and awareness programs. According to a recent Cyber Security Skills report conducted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, only one in nine (11%) organizations provide cybersecurity training to their employees.
It might sound crazy, but I will tell you this, as you launch your business, be prepared to launch a training and awareness program as cybersecurity for the startup business is needed critically. There is no point in working with employees who are ignorant about cybersecurity. You will only be increasing your vulnerability to cyberattacks.
A cybersecurity training and awareness program does not make your startup immune to cyber threats. However, you will be minimizing the chance of a successful data breach. The security awareness and training program will help to develop a security culture, which for a long time now has always been the holy grail for most organizations that mind their security.
The security training program will also help to improve the security well-being of your employees. It will equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills necessary to identify a potential attack and make them aware of the counter-defense strategies to protect themselves against cyber threats.
It is, therefore, crucial that you craft a perfect security awareness training program and execute it immediately you launch your business. Most importantly, know that security threats are quickly evolving. As such, training your employees should not be a one-time thing. You will need to keep them updated on the latest security threats and how to deal with them.
3: SSL Encryption
The internet is evolving speedily, and so are cyberattacks. This calls for better website protection. Google is continuously working to ensure that the internet is a safe place. It has always encouraged website owners to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. HTPPS websites have an SSL certificate, which ensures the transfer of information is safe between two points on the web.
An SSL certificate will encrypt all sensitive data transferred between your website servers and your users’ browsers. Such information may include login credentials, payment information, health records, and other personal information. The SSL certificates will encrypt the data transfer and ensure that no intruder can access the sensitive information. Additionally, for your potential customers to trust you with their sensitive information, ensure that you install a trusted SSL certificate on your website.
4: Multi Factor Authentication
Enabling a multiple-step authentication is one of the simplest yet effective security practices you should take to secure your startup business. It is a great way to improve cybersecurity for the startup business. It is a security feature that requires the user to go through an extra verification process before finally being granted access to his/her account.
Using passwords alone can never be enough security for your startup. Hackers will always figure them out. With multi-factor authentication, even if your login credentials are compromised, the hacker will have to enter a security code sent exclusively to your phone.
The multiple-step authentication technology has also endured tremendous change. We now have the use of biometric features such as fingerprints and face recognition to help strengthen the user verification process.
5: Always Use an Up-to-date Software
You are busy on your office desk, probably strategizing on how you will make your business grow. A popup notification telling you that a new software update is available suddenly appears on your screen. Because you are busy, you quickly click on ‘cancel’ instead of ‘install.’ That act alone can compromise your business and bring it to a premature halt.
Skipping a software update will keep the door open for hackers to access your sensitive information, distort the information, steal it, and spread malware to your system.
Many of the malware attacks that occur today leverage outdated software versions. The Equifax Data Breach is one perfect example. New software versions come with more enhanced security features that can help protect your business from cybersecurity threats. Never procrastinate about installing the update. Ensure that you install it the moment you see that popup notification on your screen. It is for the safety of your system.
6: Install Firewalls
There is a common misconception about firewalls- that they are only necessary for a large corporation and governmental agencies. However, the reality is that every type of business, including your startup, must have a firewall if it has to survive the many cybersecurity threats happening today.
A firewall is one of the essential defense tools for your startup. Its task is to prevent any form of unauthorized connections from reaching you. The firewalls will monitor incoming and outgoing traffic and will only allow safe traffic to your network. It is, therefore, a critical security tool that every business owner should have.
7: Access Limitations
Who should be able to access your business’s data? Should all your employees be granted permission to navigate through all data repositories? Certainly not. Your employees could as well be your biggest enemies. It is not good to trust anyone, especially in a startup setup where you barely know your employees.
The best practice will be applying the principle of the least privilege. Only those who have business with the data should be granted permission to access the data. By limiting access to sensitive user data, you will be limiting the potential threats associated with data exposure to the wrong hands.
8: Regular Data Backups
There is no full-proof technique or measure to guarantee you immunity to data backups. Hackers will always find a way of going around your security walls. The question you should seek to answer is: will I continue my normal operations after a data breach?
The backup and recovery are the processes of storing a duplicate file in an alternative source. The data can be retrieved in case of data loss or other uncertainties such as a cyberattack. The data backup plan is like a contingency plan that will keep you moving even after a devastating cyber breach.
Although your startup may not hold a lot of data, the little data you already have is crucial, and it should be protected at all costs. Regularly backing up the data is an excellent way of ensuring that you do not stop operating after a successful data breach. It is wise that you conduct data backups regularly to minimize the extent and impact of data loss.
Many startup owners often think that they cannot be victims of a data breach. That they have little to make a hacker come after them. Startups have now emerged as one of the primary targets for hackers. You should launch your business alongside comprehensive Security Protocols that Secures your Data Integrity to any form of cyberattacks. This article has given eight tips that startups should adopt to be more cyber secure.