Adaptability to the ever-changing technology industry landscape is a constant requirement of a start-up's life cycle. As a result, agility creates opportunities for new risks, which must be managed in order to survive. Sadly, start-ups often believe that they're too small to need a cybersecurity program, leaving them exposed to a broader array of threats. And when the security measures are not entirely in place, start-ups become an easy target for hackers. As a result of their lack of preparedness, most small businesses close within months of being attacked by cybercriminals.
According to a recent report by IBM , the global average total data breach cost is 4.35 million dollars. The healthcare industry's average cost of data breaches is the highest at 10.10 million dollars. Considering the average cost of a data breach, it’s imperative to understand how hackers find vulnerabilities.
In an era when cybercrime and data privacy attacks are on the rise, customer trust is vital. Consumer confidence is now a challenge for start-up owners. It is challenging to build trust as a start-up. A cyber security setup is essential for any business, regardless of size and location.
This article will dig into the importance of cybersecurity for start-ups and list some tips to improve the overall security outlook of your organization.
Importance of Cybersecurity Measures
Start-ups may lack resources, but that doesn't mean being excused from cyber threats. Data breaches, phishing attacks, denial of service attacks, and malware are all types of cyber threats your start-up may face. Expenses associated with a data breach can extend for months or years, and these are expenses that companies do not anticipate when planning their budgets.In fact, according to a 2021 report , nearly 84% of data breaches resulted from social engineering attacks.
Even though these threats can be costly and disruptive, you can prevent them by developing a robust cybersecurity framework, training employees in cybersecurity best practices, and performing periodical security audits.
In other words, by not having an essential cybersecurity strategy in place, you put yourself at risk of hackers who pose a threat not only to your data acquisition and integrity but also to your company's reputation.
In the present times of digitalization and exponential data growth, cybersecurity has become a necessity. Regulations are becoming stricter, and so are consumer expectations. Organizations of all sizes are now required to provide Security Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs) to prospective partners, a tedious inquiry about their security policies and procedures. The regulations that govern your industry, as well as the type of data you're accumulating, may require audits as a way to enforce security policies. With a solid cybersecurity foundation, these security initiatives are manageable, despite their resource demands.
Protecting your organization and scaling it up require investing in cybersecurity. Security isn't just about protecting data but also about acquiring clients, accelerating market growth, and building public trust, which will serve as the foundation for future business growth. Instead of looking at cybersecurity as a risk mitigator, it can be leveraged to enable client acquisitions, build partnerships, and geographical expansion of business.
Mitigating Cyber Threats
The following are some basic steps to set your company on the right track for its security journey.
· Use data encryption techniques and strong, hard-to-decrypt passwords.
· Educate employees about cyber threats and cybersecurity best practices. Encourage the use of complex passwords and change them from time to time.
· Track every employee’s network activity; limit their permission to download software in their systems or access programs outside the network. Restrict social media access.
· Ensure that all devices are adequately protected with the latest antivirus software and firewalls. Conduct vulnerability scans as often as possible.
· Update software and operating systems for new patches as and when they are released.
· Implement access management tools like multi-factor authentication and Single Sign-On.
· Have cloud-based storage and backup solutions in place. Encrypt and backup data regularly.
· Protect your internet connection and sensitive information by installing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
· Have the third party follow the same security protocols that your team follows.
· Keep an eye on who is accessing which data and why. Restrict employees and third-party access to sensitive data unless necessary.
· Invest in cybersecurity experts to identify and mitigate risks.
While the above measures can help mitigate cybersecurity risks to a large extent, any organization can be a target for a cyberattack. Apart from implementing a solid cyber security framework such as firewalls, intrusion detection, and malware protection, businesses should also have policies and procedures for handling sensitive data.
Besides preventive measures, businesses should also focus on having a detection and response system. Often, hackers find ways to gain access to data files and devices, so chances are that your business may still suffer from a cyber-attack. Companies can detect a potential attack by monitoring their networks for unusual activities. Hence, there is a need to have procedures to respond to cyberattacks.
The following are some best ways your organization should respond:
· Employees and customers should be informed of the breach as soon as possible.
· Immediately notify industry regulatory agencies if a breach has occurred.
· Get started on your response plan as quickly as possible - and create one if you don't already have one.
· Investigate the hack thoroughly, hire cybersecurity experts, or have your IT department implement a response plan.
· Perform penetration testing on your company's systems to identify where the most vulnerabilities exist.
· Revoke assets/devices until you figure out how to protect them.
Cybersecurity begins with prevention. And since hacking is unpredictable, it's wise to be prepared for the worst. As an entrepreneur, you can minimize the damage by developing a plan to implement a solid security framework.
The threat of hacking shouldn't stop you from growing and managing your company. Cybersecurity and data management should be top priorities for your company. You'll also be able to defend your business against modern-day threats and attacks. Start-ups may not consider cybersecurity as one of their top priorities. Nevertheless, your business can stand out from the rest if you build a solid foundation for substantial growth.
 Cost of Data Breach, 2022 https://ibm.co/3RvUXoR
 Social Engineering Cybercrime Evidence Analysis https://bit.ly/3SRDoAu