You’ve probably poured everything you have mentally and financially into your startup. There’s an area you’re likely overlooking, however, and that’s cybersecurity.
Anytime you’re using technology, you are at risk of being the target of a cyberattack, and the way these attacks occur is always evolving.
For example, one of the big threats right now are the different types of DNS attacks, and as is the case with so many other types of cyberattacks, it doesn’t matter how small you are. You could be a business of one and still be the victim of a cyberattack.
A study from the Ponemon Institute found that 55% of SMEs experienced some form of cyberattack leading up to the collection of the data for the study. If you use the internet, have a website or have cloud accounts, you’re at risk and SMEs may be more at risk because they don’t always have the resources or knowledge to deal with threats.
As a startup, you probably don’t have the budget for a dedicated IT team, but the following are steps you can take regardless.
If you’re at the helm of your startup, whether you have employees under you or not, you set the tone, and you are the leader. You’re also the person who can make or break your cybersecurity policies and implementation.
Even if you don’t have the budget to bring a security professional on with your company, learn as much as you can.
Get a feel for what the current threat landscape looks like and what you can do to protect your business.
Some things are simple—for example, making sure you understand phishing scams and how to be safe when you open your email.
Another thing you can learn about it and implement with no money at all and very little time is the use of strong passwords. If you’re using the same password across multiple accounts, you’re more likely to be a target.
Use a password manager on all of your devices so that you can mix them up but don’t have to worry about remembering them. With a password manager, all your stored passwords are encrypted.
Another simple step to put in place?
Enable two-factor authentication on all of your accounts.
When you’re storing backups, don’t do so on your own network. Store them somewhere that’s not connected to your company network, such as the cloud. Then, if your data and network are compromised, you’ll have copies of everything elsewhere.
If you do have employees, even if just one, train them on cybersecurity best practices as well. An estimated 90% of company breaches stem from phishing attempts, and in these cases, a cyber attacker will pose as a trusted person, such as a bank representative. Then, you or your employee would theoretically give the attacker sensitive information.
One of the most important things you can do for your business in terms of cybersecurity, no matter what your size is, is to learn how to recognize phishing attempts.
Have the Fundamentals In Place
As your budget grows, so might your cybersecurity protections, but in the meantime, beyond educating yourself and training your employees, you need to have at a bare minimum the basics of cybersecurity in place.
First, conduct a cybersecurity audit. This is important because it will show you where you are versus where you need to be. It will also give you a baseline so you can measure the success of future strategies you implement.
Beyond that, have a firewall. Anytime you have security software, make sure that you update it as you’re supposed to, and patch devices and firmware.
A good option for some startups, even with a small budget, is to consider managed IT services.
As a business owner at the helm of a startup, you might not have the time to put into cybersecurity. Managed IT is often an affordable way to get features like constant network monitoring, IT support, and device updates.
What’s especially good about managed IT for a startup is that there’s an inherent sense of scalability available from most providers so you can grow as you need.
You’re busy when you’re running a startup, and your time and attention are being pulled in countless directions, but that doesn’t mean you can overlook cybersecurity. Cybersecurity can be make or break for a startup, and there are things you can do today to make your business more secure from threats.