There are a million things you need to consider when you’re a leader in a startup and cybersecurity should be at the top of your priorities.
The average ransom demanded during a cyber attack is $750k, which isn’t a price you want to take to your investors.
Wondering where to start?
We’ve got a checklist of some of the most important things you need to get right when you’re establishing your innovative business.
#1. Use a VPN
A VPN is there to protect your browsing from actors who want to know where you’re getting online. With 70% of startups offering remote work, you want to make sure you and your team are protecting your work and data.
You want to make sure you get the right tool for your needs, so test a VPN service for things like:
- Ease of connection;
- If they have a mobile app;
- If you’re able to choose the country your server is in.
#2. Install anti-malware software
Malware can lead to all kinds of problems for your business, the biggest threat probably being ransomware. This is when malicious software gets into your startup’s networks and steals or corrupts data until you pay a hefty ransom.
Choose a tool that can scale up with your business and keeps up to date with the latest hacks and attacks on the internet to keep you protected at all times.
#3. Have a password manager
Remembering the password to anything can be a nightmare and with the new tools your startup uses, like social media accounts, you need to be all over passwords.
Ask any group of startup owners and there’ll be a few who have had the nightmare of losing passwords for admin accounts or not having 2FA phone numbers anymore. Using a password manager negates this by having your team’s passwords centralized and shareable.
#4. Manage permissions wisely
Rules like GDPR and PCI-DSS compel startups to have a clear understanding of who has access to your data and ensure only those who really need access can. Make sure you understand the data your business processes and have a plan for who needs access.
Look at the data you use and consider the roles that need it. Log the people who have access to spreadsheets and other systems and remember to remove them if they leave the business.
#5. Get a firewall and anti-virus software
You can get these two tools as a package to make your subscriptions easier to manage. A firewall will check everything that goes into and out of your business systems for threats and antivirus software will regularly scan your systems and devices for threats.
It’s important to keep these tools up to date – make sure all your team downloads the necessary updates as soon as they come through.
#6. Use secure cloud storage
Cloud storage is the future of business – there are not many reasons a startup would need to maintain its own on-site servers. Servers are also a big sunk cost and overhead that you don’t need as an agile startup.
The vast majority of businesses, 91% to be exact, use cloud storage in their business. It increases collaboration and productivity as well as facilitates the remote working that your team demands.
#7. Install SSL on your website
Your website is most people’s first impression of your brand-new company so you want to make the right one. Having a secure sockets layer (SSL) on your website is the first level of trust you build with your online audience and it protects your website, too.
The padlock next to your company URL protects your business reputation and keeps data moved from browser to the server encrypted.
#8. Invest in cybersecurity training
Cybersecurity principles may seem obvious to many, but there will be people in your business who are not as savvy as you.
Indeed, one of the biggest hacks of 2021 that shut down Colonial Pipeline and disrupted fuel supplies across the USA was due to an employee not protecting their passwords appropriately.
Outsource cybersecurity training and make sure your team is up to date on simple things such as:
- How to spot a phishing email;
- What a reliable website looks like;
- How to keep their devices secure.
It could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.
#9. Hire a CTO
It sounds expensive to bring someone else into your C-suite, but if you don’t have a CTO you should strongly consider hiring one. You can bring in someone on a part-time or consultation basis if your business isn’t tech-heavy and it’s a wise investment.
Making the right choices about your technology stack when you’re business is growing and scaling will serve you well in the years and investment rounds to come.
Strong security can be a legal requirement if you operate in areas like the EU, but whether you’re obliged to or not, good cybersecurity is a good business decision.
Keep your systems and data protected from day one. Online security shouldn’t be an afterthought for your business, rather, it should be baked into everything you do from the outset.