If you’ve just started your own venture but haven’t yet thought of deploying a proper cyber security strategy for your startup, think again. Your company is more vulnerable to hacking than large-scale businesses.
Did you know that more than 40% of cyber attacks are aimed at startups while less than 15% of them are prepared to tackle them?
The consequences of these attacks are catastrophic for these small businesses. They may cost them nearly $200,000, even putting many out of business.
These costs don’t occur in a single day.
Instead, they add up over a stretch of several weeks or even months in the form of lost data, downtime revenue losses, business disruption, and even the company’s reputation.
Most startups fail to acknowledge the fact that keeping a business secure from cyber fraud is more than antivirus software and a firewall. Another thing that stops them from investing in good cyber security is the lack of funds.
Yet, cyber security must be the first thing on your mind apart from your daily business operations. So, in this article, we have listed five proven cyber security strategies to protect your business.
Here are five cyber security strategies to enable you to remove vulnerabilities from your small business. These strategies, if done right, can help you save your business from financial as well as reputational loss.
- Invest in employee security enablement
- Build a fraud risk management strategy
- Identify the compliance requirements
- Conduct vulnerability scans regularly
- Build a data backup
Read on to learn more in detail.
The most common reason for data breaches is the lack of employees and contractors to make the right decision. This means that your startup is more at risk from what happens inside than an attack from outside.
Here is where employee security enablement comes in.
Employee security enablement is basically instilling skill sets in your IT department and technical personnel. This ensures that cybersecurity best practices are implemented throughout the lifecycle of all technology you use – products, applications, and services.
Small businesses can greatly benefit from it because neither do they have the expertise nor the budget to continuously improve and upgrade their security. Investing in employee security enablement helps your employees understand the risks and implement steps to address those risks.
It provides a platform for even small businesses to develop their overall security into an advanced, dependable, and resilient system that demands little effort for the value given.
Startups generally tend to neglect anti-fraud measures landing them in more fraud risks than large companies. One of the most common misconceptions that most startups have is that fraud management is expensive and time-consuming.
They feel that they only need to focus on it after their business has reached a certain size.
That’s far from the truth.
This guide to fraud and risk management lays down the basic five principles of fraud risk management. They include fraud risk governance, assessment, prevention, mechanisms, and monitoring and reporting risk.
Apart from that, as a startup, here are a few tips for you to kickstart your fraud management journey.
- Conduct internal audits to validate financial data, detect errors, identify loopholes, and prevent tax and legal damages.
- Divide responsibilities across different departments so that every key duty is carried out by multiple people which minimises errors and reduces risks.
- Create a standard code of conduct across the organization which sets a tone among all employees about the ethical and unethical practices and repercussions for poor code of conduct.
- Have a channel to report suspicious behaviour in place so that employees can let you know when they notice undesirable behaviour
Non- compliance with regulatory authorities and essential laws may land you in serious legal feuds. It may even lead to the closing down of your business.
That is why it is important that you do not dilute compliance requirements. Operations should be designed with an emphasis on minimizing technological debt and the detrimental consequences of future security issues.
If your business focuses on a specific sector, meeting compliance requirements become all the more crucial for you. That’s because you will deal with business clients who are trying to avert supply chain threats.
You might end up losing excellent opportunities if you fail in doing so.
Furthermore, compliance laws also vary depending on the country you are operating from.
As an example, California’s privacy laws must be followed by you if you are doing business in the state of California and are involved in direct or indirect personal data collection. If you fail to do so, you may face penalties of up to $7500.
Meeting privacy, reliability, process consistency, confidentiality, and privacy criteria is no longer a choice for businesses of any size looking to expand. These goals are crucial for obtaining consumer trust and the confidence of your investors.
A vulnerability scan is a great way to identify possible security loopholes in your database. It prevents hackers and fraudsters from entering your system and disrupting your business operations.
For startups, it is among the most economical ways to perform a security scan. However, do not confuse vulnerability testing with penetration testing.
A penetration test is generally more expensive than a vulnerability test and uses the latter as a part of its testing.
Vulnerability scanners uncover and classify system faults as well as identify remedies and, in certain situations, predict the effectiveness of security mechanisms. They help enterprises stay ahead of the deluge of security issues, exemptions, and previously unknown defects.
These tools are used to analyse the integrity and defences of any internet infrastructure to aid IT workers in quickly pinpointing, detecting, and even classifying security issues far before they are discovered by a hacker or fraudster.
Vulnerability scanning, governance, and evaluation all adhere to the same fundamental cybersecurity principle.
A hacker cannot enter if there’s no way for them to get in.
For that purpose though, searching for vulnerabilities and subsequently fixing them is a vital IT security strategy.
A vulnerability scan can help with this process by detecting and even repairing flaws. This reduces the danger to security personnel and transaction centres. You can use third-party or in-house scans. Open-source scanners are also available but they come with several limitations like poor customer service.
Data loss is one of the most detrimental consequences of a cyber attack. Therefore, you must start building data backups right from the beginning of your business operations.
One of the best ways to do this is to set automatic data backups that ensure that all the information gets stored periodically. You can also create multiple copies of crucial data in both forms – hard and soft copies.
Depending on company interests and resources, you may want to try investing in services that offer disaster recovery in case of cyber fraud. These services aid you in backing up your data regularly and gaining access to it in the event of a future breach of security.
Having an excellent cyber security strategy ensures that your business is protected from prying eyes who are always on the lookout to attack small businesses like yours. Apart from being a risk mitigator, it also acts as an excellent competitive differentiator that helps you acquire new clients and customers.
It also helps you expand your business to a large scale without any disruption. Remember, cyber security is not just about protecting your firm and customer data. It is also about the scalability of your business and a chance to accelerate market growth. It also acts as a cornerstone in building a reputation among your target audience.
Author – Tuba Sarosh
Tuba Sarosh is a result-driven SEO content writer and editor, who helps businesses turn their readers into clients. She writes about trends, tips, how-tos, and other cool stuff that helps businesses serve their customers better. When not writing, she’s either reading a good book or experimenting with recipes.