8 Business Security Tips for Startups
When it comes to cyber security and starting up a business, a lot of people do not know where to begin. The key is to realize that even when just starting up, you could be at risk. Startups have become easy targets for cyber threats. Many organizations feel they are not at risk because there is the assumption that they remain unnoticed to attackers.
A study done by the Ponemon Institute shows that 58% of people believe management does not look at cyber-attacks as a significant risk, and 44% say it is not a priority. By not having a security system and it not being one of your top priorities from the beginning, it only makes it easier, quicker, and less risky for cyber criminals to access your data. This is why it is imperative to be proactive, and continuously address data security and potential issues.
As a startup, you may not have the IT resources to implement and manage your security systems from the beginning. Here is a list of 8 business security tips that startup can follow to protect their company, customers, and employees from cyber threats.
- Have a formal security plan
When going into business, you should first have a formal security plan in place. The plan, at minimal, should address;
- What kind of data is being stored?
- Who has access to the data and under what circumstances do they have access.
- The guidelines for file sharing.
- How data is to be handled and protected.
- A set response plan for data loss or theft.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Cyberplanner is a great resource to create a custom cyber security plan for your company. Go to http://www.fcc.gov/cyberplanner to start your plan.
- Store minimal information
You should only gather customer data that is essential for the business. The less data stored, the less likely it will get taken.
- Maintain latest security software
While attackers are becoming more efficient, it is important to realize that solely relying on antivirus, anti-spam, and firewall software tools is becoming less effective every day. However, they definitely play a significant role in protecting against the most common threats and are the best defense against them available today. So no matter how small your business may be, having the latest software and taking updates seriously is very important. Antivirus software should be set to run a scan after every update, and new software should be installed as soon as it’s available.
- Keep your employees educated
It is imperative that your staff is trained in security principles and cyber awareness. According to Verizon Data Breach Investigation Reports, 62% of data breaches in 2013 were caused by an internal mistake and significant error. Aside from formal training, here are a few basic tips your employees at minimal should keep in mind:
- If personal devices are used, they should be password protected.
- Do not click on anything suspicious or open unknown emails.
- Hover over links to assure they are valid.
- Don’t fall for fake antivirus offers.
- Make passwords unique and change them often.
- Encrypt sensitive information
Information such as names, emails, bank, and payment information, etc. should be encrypted as soon as they start being stored. A data breach of this information could lead to customer distrust and heavy lawsuits, so be safe from the beginning.
- Backup important business data and information
Any documents such as word processing, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, and accounts receivable/payable files should be automatically backed up, as well as stored separately offsite or in the cloud. Losing sensitive information that is critical for business could set back production or cause distrust from a customer, among other things.
- Limit employee access
Access controls should be set, and employees should only have access to data systems that relate directly back to their position. The ability to download and install software by employees should also be limited. The less access one has to sensitive data; the less prone they are to human error or misuse.
- Secure your Wi-Fi networks and provide firewall security
If there is Wi-Fi within your organization, it should be secure, encrypted, and hidden, and password protected. Firewalls will prevent others outside your network from accessing data on a private network.
Keeping these business security tips in mind when you start up your business will allow you to protect all that are involved in the most cost effective, efficient, and meaningful way. Data breaches and cyber threats are highly unpredictable, so the best thing you can do is to take precaution, and stay prepared.
Take the Steps for Success
Ready to put these security ideas into action and take your business to the next level? The experts at QAT Global are here to support you and deliver secure, cutting-edge software to your users that leverages best practices, emerging technologies, and modern engagement models. Using an Agile software development approach with proper planning and the right people on your team will put you on the path to success. The development team at QAT Global is experienced in developing all kinds of secureenterprise applications and SaaS products for clients in a wide variety of industries. Put your next software project on the path to success, start the conversation with our development team today.