Data protection is an ongoing practice for all startups. One tiny slip and the business’ cybersecurity can be breached. Despite the risks and the major consequences that cyberattacks and data breaches bring, many startups and small businesses do not take security seriously enough.
Criminals target small companies or startups more often than you think. According to a recent report by IBM, compared to last year’s data, the average cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million. On top of that, cybersecurity specialists argue that more than 50% of small businesses close within half a year after facing a cyberattack.
To avoid this devastating scenario, we’ve prepared a 5-step guide on how to protect your business and upgrade your defense against bad actors online.
- Prioritize Password Security
Cybercriminals use stolen or compromised passwords and login details in most of their crimes. Even though proper password hygiene isn’t a new concept, it sometimes gets ignored. In general, to avoid human error, in cases where it’s possible, companies need to get rid of passwords. To solve the issue regarding password security, startups can use hardware security keys or biometrics to protect their personal information and company accounts.
“How does biometric security work?” you may ask. It’s simple. A password can be forgotten or compromised, but your biological characteristics can’t. Each person has unique traits that can replace passwords for a more secure way of accessing data. For example, some startups use biometric scanners to scan the person’s biometric data and later approve or deny their access to the company network.
If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can use another alternative for passwords, which is two-factor authentication. Surprisingly, cyberattacks and data breaches happen often due to third-party credentials. That’s why startups should enable this extra layer of security for all of their employees, including freelancers, to protect themselves from bad consequences.
- Restrict Access
It’s vital to control access to data as well as to limit the information’s access. Not all of your startup’s employees need to get access to all of the files. To strategize data access security, you need to provide each team member with permission. Keep in mind that the limit here is for a reason, as it helps minimize the chances of data breaches or cyberattacks.
To keep up with this practice, make sure to inform your employees to keep their business and personal accounts separate. Even if that sounds obvious since there’s a lot of data, such as bank accounts, emails etc., it’s sometimes hard to separate all of the accounts. As discussed earlier, passwords play a huge part in this too; therefore, don’t forget that recycling credentials is a no-go.
- Backup Systems and Data
Backing up your information is an essential part of your startup’s security routine. If anything goes not according to plan, system backups help ensure that you have a complete copy of your data that’s ready to be restored, no matter the cybersecurity attack that occurred. This is extremely important in today’s cyber world, as startups have lost funds because of the increasing ransomware attacks.
You can minimize the threats by identifying the critical assets and implementing backup software that allows recovering all of the vital information. Of course, there are removable hard drives for this matter, but you can also hire online backup providers to plan the step-by-step backup strategy for you. With such a security strategy, each startup can decrease the threats of data breaches or cyberattacks.
- Have Insurance and Hire a Professional
If you have a financial advisor, that means your startup can use the help of a cybersecurity professional. A specialized person would take care of the whole business’ security system, which is the key factor for finding security gaps or taking care of attacks in real-time before they escalate further. Finding vulnerabilities through professionals only isn’t enough for safeguarding your business from internal or external threats.
Even if you’re able to recover your startup after a cyberattack, to survive in the market, you need to use all of the extra security measures that you can handle. For this reason, a cyber insurance policy might come in handy when dealing with sensitive data. If by any chance, a cyberattack occurs, insurance prevents major financial losses for the startup.
- Use Identity Verification
We’ve covered many tips regarding how to upgrade your internal startup security, but the last step is to make sure that you’re protected from cyberattacks and fraud from the outside. Any company that has money flow, including transaction-driven startups, such as e-commerce or fintech players, needs to implement remote identity verification service. This demand for digital ID verification solutions boomed during the pandemic, and now, it seems that as per consumers’ popular demand, it’s here to stay.
Identity verification helps startups reduce operational costs and onboard new customers safely, without having to worry about false identities or scammers storming into their platforms. The service helps identify the true customer identities, preventing the startup from becoming a money-laundering channel. That means only legit customers can access the startup’s services, and if they do not pass the ID check, they aren’t granted access for security reasons.
Not having a proper cybersecurity system can cause serious damage. Some startups do not recover from major data breaches and cyberattacks. To prevent that from happening, businesses need to protect their reputation and data as well as value their customers by using special security measures, such as identity verification.