Why Your Startup Needs to Make Cybersecurity a Priority
Who doesn’t rely on IT these days? Ignoring the cybersecurity aspect of it means putting your startup at several risks. Reputation damage, loss of your customers’ trust, regulatory fines, and lawsuits over identity theft and neglect — that’s the tip of the iceberg. The financial repercussions alone can be dire and bring your startup down.
Your business needs to make cybersecurity a priority, and here are the reasons why:
1) Malware is rampant
Malware is a constant threat, and it comes in many variants. Some steal passwords, and others install a backdoor on your computer. But the most potent malware is ransomware. By encrypting your files, it forces you to pay the ransom or risk losing them forever. Not a pretty position to find yourself in.
The ransom tends to range between $500 and $1000. But there’s no guarantee you would get the access keys even if you decided to pay up. The perpetrators rely on the anonymous side of accepting payments in Bitcoin. Thus, getting the police involved doesn’t do anything to help resolve the situation either.
2) Your team needs ongoing education
Knowing how to recognize the threats is not enough if you’re not educating your team members. People tend to be the weakest link in any cybersecurity plan, even when everything else is in order.
Take the impact of the human factor in phishing, for example. The hacker can trick any of your team members. And then they will end up installing malware on your IT devices or parting ways with confidential login credentials.
Last but not least, there’s always the threat of data interception. Nowadays, bringing your device into the workplace has become a thing. But if your team members handle sensitive work-related files and send them over a network of questionable origin, these files can get in the hands of an unauthorized third party.
3) DDoS attacks and downtime
A DDoS attack can render your servers out of commission for long enough that you’ll be losing valuable customers in the meantime.
The attackers overload you with an excess amount of traffic. And that’s nothing but a burden on the servers’ resources. As little as an hour of downtime can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
You could very well be losing the most high-paying customer of your entire career this way. A small business owner can not take the loss. Not to mention that downtime won’t exactly help you win over the trust of your potential customers. Or to help you maintain the right image in the eyes of your current ones.
4) Device security is taken for granted
Too many entrepreneurs assume it’s the manufacturers’ and the developers’ job to make their devices secure.
While this is true to some extent, relying on it too much does not serve you well. Are you careless enough to leave the default login credentials unchanged? That could pave the way for hackers to breach your defenses like it’s a walk in the park.
A single device can be a weak link in your cybersecurity arrangement. The damage depends on how much your business counts on IT. Imagine what might happen if hackers get control of your heating systems or the front door. Not a pretty sight, especially if you’re not even aware that your systems have been compromised.
What can you do to not be an easy target?
Cybersecurity is a broad topic. But there are a couple of quick fixes you can apply to become a much tougher nut for the hackers to crack:
- Install a file encryption software such as Nordlocker. Even if they manage to get around the login of your system, you can set up a password for each file individually. Make sure to use encryption for sensitive information such as scans of the personal documents, company secrets, etc.
- Make use of a good antivirus suite. Even if an infected file somehow finds itself on one of the company’s computers, the antivirus will detect it as soon as possible and try to disinfect it. If that fails, the file will go to quarantine to avoid the possibility of someone executing it and infecting the computer.
- Take advantage of a password manager. By using one, you will no longer have to remember all the passwords by heart (except for one master password). The password manager allows you to make each password unique and hard to guess without it being a burden on your memory.
- Use a VPN whenever you transfer work-related files. Otherwise, you leave yourself exposed to hackers intercepting them. Particularly when accessing the web through public Wi-Fi networks.
Based on the points made above, prioritizing your cybersecurity should no longer be up for debate. Since it’s a broad topic to explore and there’s much to learn, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start working. You will thank yourself later.