A Guide to Effective Cybersecurity for Startups and Small Businesses

By Julie Hughes on 16th September, 2020
Startups are crucial to the business economy in multiple ways.
In the past decade alone, startups have been responsible for driving some of the biggest innovations in their respective industries. Some startups have also gained massive establishments so much that they are chasing out the companies who are not innovating. On the back of that, startups provide the bigger companies an avenue to expand their services without necessarily branching out.
With such a repertoire of benefits, it is saddening to note that not all startups succeed. For the ones that succeed, there are a ton of issues that could plague them too. One of the most serious challenges is cybersecurity.
The Problems Facing Startups
Data Breaches
A couple of weeks ago, a data breach report showed that several startups had been victims of data breaches.
The notable names that showed up in that list include that of Drizly – a delivery startup that had about 2.5 million records leaked from its database. ScentBird also suffered the same fate, and they were targeted by the same hacker/ group of hackers that attacked the first startup too.
The negative implication of these leaks is that the email addresses, names and other personal details of their subscribers and customer base gets leaked. That provides the hacker with sensitive information that they can use to advance their hack. When that happens, the trust that the public has in these startups starts to dwindle. There is no faster way to lose market share than that.
There are a ton of other forms of attacks facing startups today.
BEC attacks
Since the start of the lockdown imposed by the pandemic, the FBI has gotten increased reports of tons of BEC attacks. These are targeted at businesses, with hackers trying to infiltrate corporate emails to see where they can insert their manipulation tools.
Startups are a group of small and medium scale businesses that weather up to 43%, if not more, of these attacks. For the startups that are not prepared, that could easily be the end of them. After all, a shockingly low number of businesses are prepared against a data breach.
Phishing attempts have been here for a long time. For all we know about them, though, it is surprising to see that these attacks are still on the rise. That is just another one of the many attacks that startups can suffer too.
Thus, startups need to step up their cybersecurity game for the best security model.
Protecting your Startup
Good password habits
Image from pixabay.com
The first route to go when securing your startup is ensuring healthy password habits. Anyone interacting with the company’s systems and accounts should not be doing so with weak, easy-to-guess passwords.
No password should be used for more than one account also. Every user should have a dedicated password management software to ensure they adhere to this.
Antivirus software
Antivirus software should not be far from the users also. This is especially important if you download files over the internet, connect external devices to the main computers, etc. If possible, get the IT department to set up a systemwide malware checker to root out viruses and prevent them from coming in at all.
Hacks via the internet network are not uncommon these days. This is one of the main dangers that users face with public Wi-Fi networks, and why we never recommend that sensitive files be sent over such networks.
The internal internet service used by the startup could also be unencrypted and compromised. Here, using a VPN on your office’s router will solve the issue for you just fine. VPNs provide a tunnel between your devices and the Internet. This improved layer of security ensures that your data is encrypted and hidden from hackers.
Risk assessments
Finally, schedule risk assessments for your startup. Contracting an external security audit team to identify the flaws and vulnerabilities in your system is one way to ensure you are running a tight ship. Once the recommendations are in, do not hesitate to start implementing them.
Cybersecurity is one of the most essential aspects of developing a business. Follow these best practices and stay away from online threats.