Is Your Startup Secure? Here are Seven Basic Cybersecurity Tips for Startup | by Arslan Hassan

Is Your Startup Secure? Here are Seven Basic Cybersecurity Tips for Startup

Setting up your first online or brick and mortar store brings with it a different kind of happiness. However, this can easily turn into a nightmare if your defenses are not strong enough to thwart cyberattacks. 

The majority of the startups avoid securing their operations as they consider themselves to be less attractive to hackers when compared with established industries. Reality is a little different than assumptions since hackers love to target small businesses or startups. However, there is no need to worry because we are here with seven useful tips that will strengthen your defense!

1. Educate Your Team
A company is made up of technical and non-technical employees and while technical workers are good at spotting and stopping cyberattack earlier in its tracks, the same cannot be said about non-technical workers. Since the lack of technical knowledge can put your business at risk, it is mandatory to educate your team on cyber practices. This includes your HR department, PHP and MySQL web development team, front desk officers, and more!
You can create manuals, conduct workshops or create some practice material to educate your entire team on phishing, malware practices, and cloaked attacks, etc. 

2.  Install Antivirus on Every Device
When it comes to startups, there are several expenses that need to be taken care of. While there is no harm in investing in a native mobile app, cutting corners on cybersecurity to make up for other expenses can cost you dearly. Because of this, you must install and run antivirus software on every device that is related to your business such as mobile phones, computers, laptops, and tablets, etc.
Antivirus programs are extremely important since they protect your online browsing, deter unauthorized access, and prevent unsuspecting individuals from clicking on shady links. 

3. Protect User Access Control
It can be a little difficult to keep up with all the network vulnerabilities and security risks. The good news is that you can protect your corporate network from unknown individuals making unauthorized changes to your system. So, instead of sitting around and letting hackers do their work, you can set up administration privileges which only allows a handful of employees to access certain administrative areas.
On top of this, set up tough security protocols around your administrative network to further strengthen your cybersecurity. 

4. Create Strong Passwords
For your business operations to run smoothly, you may need to open multiple accounts.  As the number of the accounts increases, so does the number of passwords you need to remember. While it may sound appropriate to stick with easy-to-remember passwords, such a combination of characters may not provide the level of security you require.
To deter cyberattacks before they cause massive damage, it is better to stick with difficult passwords. For instance, you can combine capital letters with numeric characters, symbols or lower case alphabets. If you like, you can come up with a new word and set that as your password. Non-dictionary words will not only provide an additional layer of security, but they will also stand their ground in case of a brute force attack.  

5. Hire a Cybersecurity Consultant
Cybersecurity is best handled by people who work in it, i.e. cybersecurity consultants. No matter how hard you try or how much knowledge you gain, the lack of experience will always put your company at risk which is why it is better to bring in security consultants right from the beginning.
Cyberattacks are evolving at an alarming pace and regardless of how many strong defenses you have; all it takes is a tiny security mess-up to unleash hell upon your network. The best way to deal with such scenarios is to hire a professional who is specialized in testing the networks to spot weaknesses. They will do exactly what cybercriminals do; but instead of stealing data, they will fix up the network’s vulnerabilities. 

6. Invest in Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-Factor Authentication is a strong security protocol. With this system in play, users will have to supply the computers with code along with their usernames and passwords to access their accounts. In this security protocol, the users can choose to receive 4-digit code either through a registered email or provided contact information. To add more security to this step, the sent code comes with an expiration time of two minutes. Should you fail to input the code within that period, you will have to ask for another code again.
With the cybersecurity landscape changing, more and more organizations are leaning towards Multifactor authentication in place of 2FA. If you are concerned about a cyberattack, then the former may be a better choice for you! 

7. Keep Your Company’s Software up to Date
Nothing damages the security of any network better than outdated software. No matter how great your software is, it will always have certain security drawbacks. Upon identifying such security loopholes, new software is released into the market that addresses the concerns and patches up the holes. When organizations refuse to update their software, they are essentially providing hackers with easy access to exploit their systems through the security loopholes.
Whether you have third-party applications, developer tools or in-house applications, you need to update the software of everything to deter cyberattacks. 

The Bottom Line
Whether you like it or not, the cyber landscape is changing constantly at a greater speed. So, it does not make sense if you choose to stick with old or outdated practices.
Not updating your security measures will not only harm your organization but it will also damage every individual associated with it. Not to mention data breaches and leakage of private information on the internet that would be followed by a litany of legal action. Instead of paying hefty amounts in damages in the future, now is the best time to reevaluate your current security protocols and invest in protective measures.
Since startups are already low on money; the last thing they want is a legal battle or leakage of crucial information in the wrong hands. So, it is better to enhance your defenses, set up some new security protocols, and hire all the right people to help you strengthen your startup. 

January 8, 2020
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