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 lack the resources to invest in proper security measures. As such, hackers have always had a downhill task breaching startups.
This is the reason why you have to be extra-vigilant to secure your startup business. In this article, you will learn about some of the most security measures you can use to safeguard your startup from cybersecurity threats.
1. Password Security
Most people veer 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. As a result, passwords are the primary cause of most business data breaches. In 2019 alone, 42% of data breaches to businesses resulted from weak passwords.
The first line of defense that you should have for your startup is a unique and robust 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. The longer the password, the more secure it is
- Complexity still counts. Always combine both lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- A password manager is your secret weapon. They are great tools that can be used to organize your passwords and ensure safe password storage. Some of the best password manager tools include; LastPass, KeePass, and Dashlane.
- Always ensure that you use different passwords for each one of your accounts.
These practices apply to you and all stakeholders of your startup. Therefore, ensure that all those who create their accounts with you abide by these rules.
2. Security Training and Awareness
It appears that many startups and 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.
As you launch your business, be prepared to undertake a training and awareness program. 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. It only minimizes the chances of a cyber-attack. The security awareness and training program will help to develop a security culture, which for a long time now has always been seen as 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 to identify a potential attack and make them aware of the counter-defense strategies to protect themselves against cyber threats.
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. HTTPS websites have an SSL certificate which is the protocol that will ensure the secure transfer of information between your startup’s end and your web visitors’ browsers. It thus encrypts sensitive data making it unreadable by hackers.
Such sensitive information may include login credentials, payment information, health records, and other personal information. With the increasing cases of data breaches, you have no option but to buy and install the SSL certificate.
Being a startup, you also need the SSL certificate to help you rank in search engines. There are several SSL certificates options that will work best for your startup. For instance, you can use the Comodo Essential SSL certificate, a cheap and cost-effective certificate that will secure your chosen domain or subdomain.
4. Multiple Factor Authentication
Enabling a multiple-step authentication is one of the most straightforward yet effective cybersecurity tips you should take to secure your startup.
It is a security feature that requires users to go through an extra verification process before finally being granted access to their account. With multiple-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 undergone tremendous transformation. For example, we now use 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.
6. Install Firewalls
There is a common misconception about firewalls- that they are only necessary for large corporations and governmental agencies. However, the reality is that every type of business, including startups, must have a firewall 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. It will monitor incoming and outgoing traffic and will only allow safe traffic to your network.
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.
Many startup owners often think that they cannot be victims of a data breach and that they have little to make a hacker come after them. that is not the case. Startups have now emerged as one of the primary targets for hackers. You must launch your business alongside a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to ensure that you are resilient to any form of cyberattacks. This article has given eight tips that startups startups should adopt to be more cyber secure.