Cyber criminals are increasingly more active in the last couple of years, targeting both small and large businesses as well as individuals. Generally speaking, cyber criminals don’t necessarily take the size of a business into considering and often end up attacking a startup.
In response, startups must prepare for cyber attacks and anticipate on the consequences, especially since a lot can be avoided by following certain online security guidelines and most startups don’t have the funds to survive a serious cyber attack.
In this article, I’ll provide some useful tips that will secure your startup against online threats.
Let’s jump right in.
Online Security Awareness
Although you’re running a startup, it’s highly unlikely that you’re the only one working one a project – it’s pretty much impossible that no one else has access to sensitive company data. It’s therefore important that not only you but everyone else involved must be aware of online security threats and what can put the entire startup at risk.
In wake up possible online threats, make sure – as the business owner – that your teams, freelancers or anyone who’s involved knows what should ring their alarm bells and signs of potential online threats. Everyone involved must be aware and knowledgeable how to keep data safe.
Cyber criminals don’t necessarily have to breach your account in order to get to sensitive data. Instead, they can use someone else’s account to reach the same end-goal through email servers, applications or other system vulnerabilities.
Firstly, you should bring in a security expert in order to establish a clear and well-thought-out online security policy for everyone involved in your startup. Cleary describe what online behavior is expected and what should be avoided at all times, or even prohibited. For example, you should state common email vulnerabilities, what type of emails are suspicious, what files to open and not to open, and so on.
Secondly, constantly send reminders to people involved in your startup about security breaches, best online security practices, examples of certain attacks and updates with the latest cyber security threats. By doing so, everyone involved is constantly being reminded that online security is essential.
Enhance the Security of Company Systems
It’s incredibly important to enhance the security of your online systems. The security vulnerability of system increases as functions of the system expand, thus making sure that every feature of the system contains proper security at its core is essential.
There are quite a lot of security benchmarks which were established by formidable cyber security firms that develop and promote the best cyber security practices for startups to follow.
There are different benchmark guidelines available per system and every report will guide you through the proper protection practices in order to minimize the risk of a data breach or other type of cyber attack.
Aside from protecting devices, you should also improve the security of systems that connect to web servers, networks and other online databases. Currently, many experts believe that IoT devices are often extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks, yet many startups use them.
Data encryption is one of the most effective methods to protect sensitive company information such as IDs and financial details. Data breaches and identity theft are among the biggest risks to any startup and can seriously harm your business – specially for companies storing customer data as well.
In order to shield your startup against such attacks, make sure to make the switch to full end-to-end encryption tools with the highest encryption standard such as AES-256.
AES-256 can be used to encrypt databases but also email accounts and the entire communication channel of email traffic between your startup and others.
If you use proper encryption modules to protect company data and hackers still manage to infiltrate your business and steal data, it’s in ciphertext (unreadable text) which means it’s useless to hackers.
Strong and unique passwords are a step in the right direction when it comes to data protection, however, it won’t be sufficient in case passwords are cracked through bruteforce or simply stolen through a phishing email or keylogger.
Therefore, you should enable two-factor authentication for every user on all accounts. Two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security by sending a unique and time-limited code to another device to confirm it’s really you who’s logging in. That means a hackers would only be able to login if they have physical access to that device.
Outsmart Phishing Attacks
Phishing emails are one of the most common methods for hackers to obtain sensitive information and login details. A classic phishing email will pretend to be from a certain – often relevant – business or company you’re dealing with. The email typically contains a URL or attachment and once you click or open it, a malicious script will enter your system.
You could potentially enter login details on a fake look-a-like website, meaning your password falls directly into the hands of the hacker. That’s why – coming back to the previous tip – two-factor authentication is very important.
Train and educate your team on the characteristics of phishing emails and how they can verify whether it’s a legit email or malicious one.
Bill here from PixelPrivacy.com. Whether it be one of our in-depth guides or our expertly crafted “how-to” articles, we’re here to show you how to stay safe online. We believe everyone has the power to keep their data secure, no matter what your level of tech expertise is and our site will show you how!