By Katie Pierce
Cyber attacks have increased in frequency over time. The potential of cyber threats from malicious actors is at an all-time high since businesses increasingly rely on digital platforms to keep their data. While we’ve seen these attacks have victimized large companies, ultimately leading to damaged reputation or closure, the most vulnerable target of these hackers is startups.
Most startup entrepreneurs are overwhelmed by their day-to-day tasks to grow their businesses that they tend to forget to implement cybersecurity in their operations to protect themselves against cybercriminals.
With the rapid growth of threats and attacks over the years, startups must integrate cybersecurity into their businesses.
Read on as we will tackle everything startups need to know about cybersecurity, including its causes and implications and some security tips to protect you against cybercriminals in the future.
Importance of Cybersecurity for Startups
Cyber attacks are inevitable regardless of your organization’s size. Without the essential cybersecurity strategy, you risk the integrity of your data and business reputation as it protects and secures a business’s sensitive information from hackers. Thus, cybersecurity is the cornerstone of every business, ensuring operations run smoothly in the long run.
Moreover, having the proper security strategy means you care about your business and customers. Granted, you lack the resources to implement cybersecurity strategies, but being a startup also means more reasons for you to do it. Unlike big corporations that can bounce back after an attack, you still have much at stake.
You’re still building your business and establishing your relationships with your customers, and once a cyber threat arises, it could damage their trust and your reputation as a company.
Cyber attacks also cost a lot. On average, an organization could spend a minimum of US $200 a year. And as a startup, you cannot afford to lose a significant amount of money, time, and other resources identifying the root of the security breach.
Why Are Startups More Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks?
Startups are the common target of hackers because they find these businesses more accessible to hack due to a lack of experience and resources to protect themselves from malicious threats. According to the Ponemon Institute, the rise of cyberattacks directed at SMBs is growing to nearly 45%, and 39% don’t have an incident response plan.
The demand of consumers and intense competition in the industry enabled many new entrepreneurs to allocate their funds to tools to build their startups, with cybersecurity being the least of their priorities. They think that they don’t need it until it happens to them.
Cybercriminals take advantage of this mindset and identify all your vulnerabilities, which makes it easier for them to hack. Also, with every business transitioning to mobile, the risk of experiencing these attacks doubled.
Tips On How To Handle A Cyber Attack:
As more and more cases of cyber attacks surface, hackers are becoming creative with how to get into various files and devices; they even use sophisticated tools. In that case, you need to know how to respond when hacked.
- Inform everyone as soon as possible – Let those affected knows if hackers invaded your system. Avoid what Yahoo did when they waited years to tell their employees and customers about the security breach.
- File a notice of the breach – Complain about the case and let professionals handle them as soon as possible.
- Experience the hack– Learn any signs of security breaches and
- allow cybersecurity experts or your in-house IT to respond to the hack.
- Launch a response plan – If your company doesn’t have a guideline, it’s time to create one so that your team has something to follow in times of panic.
- Hire cybersecurity experts – Let the experts do several tests to identify your systems’ vulnerability to avoid a future data breach.
6 Ways To Prevent Hackers From Attacking Your System
Limit Those Who Can Access Your Account on Your Team
If you have a small team, it could seem that giving everyone admin access will promote transparency. However, this could potentially expose any data to hackers. Try designating account management to only one person to protect your social media accounts from any cyber attacks in the future.
Create Strong Passwords
One of the simplest ways hackers obtain sensitive data is through weak passwords. Your passwords should always be complicated, one-of-a-kind, and include a variety of symbols, numbers, and letters. Many excellent password managers are very secure, recommend using complex passwords, and even notify you if a login was made that’s not you or your email appeared in a data dump.
Updated Your Systems
Startups utilizing antiquated technology and systems are particularly vulnerable to attack. Customers count on you to protect their personal and financial information, and you can’t do it without modern systems and software. To promote a culture of security in your firm, schedule a day to frequently check that all employees have updated their systems and software.
Employ Multi-factor Authentication
Many industries are now incorporating multi-factor authentication in their logins, and you can typically see this in mobile banking. It’s good that using multi-factor authentication is becoming more common than just relying only on inputting passwords to make it easier for you to identify and confirm whether you logged into the account or not.
Establish a Firewall
Setting up a firewall is crucial for defense against cyberattacks. Your firewall serves as a protective barrier for your network, keeping an eye on incoming and outgoing data traffic and thwarting malicious data packets and outside threats.
Listen and Engage With Experts
Startups must move quickly and nimbly to succeed, and focusing time and resources on security may slow down this process. Outsource to others for their cybersecurity knowledge to assist you in detecting hazards and protecting yourself from those risks instead of attempting to acquire all the skillsets internally to handle security.
As more industries rely on the internet to store data, cybersecurity must be a priority, no matter how large or small your business is. By being aware of the causes and the risks of cyber attacks, you are now equipped and ready to protect your business from cyber-attacks.
(The author is a freelance content writer-slash-teacher.)