How to Maintain Proper Cybersecurity for Your Startup Company
Digital tools integration plays an integral role in economic growth for new startups. It allows access to markets around the globe and improves productivity and efficiency.
However, it has also opened doors to potential cyber crimes like corporate theft, leading to financial losses, confidentiality breaches, and regulatory sanctions.
The SiteLock annual security review 2020 reports a weekly average of 2,068 bot visits per website, with the average site facing attacks 52% more often than the previous year.
The misconception that the most prominent targets of cyberthreats are limited to government organizations or large businesses has led to a false sense of security for smaller businesses around the globe. In reality, new startups and small to midsize businesses (SMBs) can be more lucrative targets for cybercriminals due to relatively low defenses against attack.
According to the 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), smaller businesses are vulnerable to 43% of the cybersecurity risk, which means if you own a small to midsize business, you should take essential security measures.
In another study by Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute, in 54% of successful data breaches, human error is identified as the main reason. So to combat cyberthreats, it's critical for businesses to incorporate cybersecurity into business strategy and cultivate security awareness practices.
Every startup must identify its assets and liabilities to determine the likelihood of attack and its potential impact on enterprise finances, reputation, and overall health.
Since cybersecurity involves many aspects, risk assessment significantly reduces time and resources by making informed decisions and building a roadmap for a cybersecurity policy (CSP).
Establishing a CSP is a starting point for any startup to protect itself against cybercriminal activities. A CSP is a formal set of rules that determines your management strategy for information risk management. It's a set standard of behaviors that help mitigate the risk, contribute to business interests, outline measures, and help your business meet industry and international compliance standards.
Encryption is a conventional way to adhere to various privacy regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), HIPAA compliance policies, and Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards to ensure user privacy and consumer confidence.
It protects data confidentiality by encrypting data at rest or transit and reduces liability when exposed. Any new startup must determine how to utilize encryption in regard to business security needs and convenience in accessing data.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication enforces additional verification measures on all login screens across the company. It protects the user or employee's account by allowing access via additional identity verification, like scanning a fingerprint or requiring that a code sent via text message is entered.
Any startup must employ MFA to reduce unauthorized access and protect against outside threats trying to infiltrate the company's network.
Attribute-Based Access Control
Some companies allow data access to employees at all levels so it can be leveraged for better decision-making. However, widespread data access raises the threat of potential data abuse and requires a mechanism that balances the associated benefits and risks.
Any business or new startup must regulate employee access to data with policy-driven automation that meets their requirements.
The integration of a complex IT landscape including cloud, mobile, Big Data, and various other technologies exposes your business to both external and internal threats. Employ attribute-based access to ensure data is only accessible by those who need to access it.
Vulnerability Assessment and Management
Conduct vulnerability assessments to determine deviations from cybersecurity policies, server misconfigurations, high-risk software, and other network vulnerabilities.
A proactive vulnerability management solution nullifies attack impact from various attack surfaces. System scanning and monitoring facilitate appropriate mitigation measures and prioritize remediation to boost protection across all IT components and data.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel that prevents ISPs, governments, and advertisers from intruding on your privacy. It's an essential measure that protects against credit card fraud and phishing attempts by intercepting and blocking all pop-ups and malicious websites.
Some of the best VPN solutions to enhance company and employee privacy are SurfShark, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN. Even the best VPN for gaming protects against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks during tournaments and online competitions.
An endpoint security platform is a cybersecurity frontline for multiple reasons. Increased reliance on cloud infrastructure and several other kinds of endpoint devices, including mobiles, desktops, and laptops, have complicated the task of enterprise security.
Since endpoint security has evolved from conventional antivirus solutions, it has become a vital solution to cyber threats. Deploy an endpoint security platform that:
- Protects devices on the network or in cloud infrastructure.
- Collaborates with other security tools to provide immediate detection with minimum response time.
Auditing and Compliance
The increase in sophistication of cybersecurity attacks requires the establishment of a secure landscape. Real-time assessment enables the automation of continuous security monitoring.
Your startup must administer regular audits that work as a checklist to validate security policies and procedures with standard compliance regulations. Take a proactive approach to build a dynamic threat management model in alliance with your business goals.
Employee Awareness and Training
Even though threats from outside the company are a huge concern, most system infiltrations result from poor decision-making among staff. The people with access to data can fall for phishing scams, social engineering, or act in ways that make them a weak link in your company's cybersecurity plan.
According to a McKinsey report, 43% of company data breaches are due to inside negligence. The best strategy here is to create a security-conscious culture by:
- Collaborating with cybersecurity leaders to bolster inside risk environments.
- Training and educating your employees on security guidelines and practices.
- Educating employees on the common signs of phishing attacks, like grammatical and spelling mistakes, embedded links, and suspicious or incorrect email addresses.
Given the rising volume of cyberattacks on new or small businesses, cybersecurity routines should be integrated as an essential part of your business. Implementing the above-discussed strategies is a proactive way to amplify your security and stay one step ahead of malicious actors.