Does your startup have a cyber security challenge?
Today’s guest author offers a 3-step cyber security plan for your small business.
This post was contributed.
While we might not yet be traveling to Mars and we haven’t worked out how to travel through time, the technological advancements that are taking place can make it feel like we are in a science fiction movie sometimes. Personalized adverts on Facebook make it feel like we are one step away from Minority Report and Alexa’s ability to beatbox messes with our minds.
One aspect of the twenty-first century that businesses have struggled to get to grips with is cybersecurity. While we try to add firewalls, ever more secure fixes, and anti-virus software, hackers and cybercriminals have always been two steps ahead.
If the public health body of the NHS can be hacked and infected with spyware in the UK, what hope do you have as a small startup?
Don’t worry, all is not lost. It is possible to arm yourself and your venture to ensure that a cyberattack does not prevent you from trading or working as usual. However, you want to prevent a cyberattack before it even happens. Take a look at these simple essentials that you should have nailed to ensure your startup is as safe and secure as houses.
3-Step Cyber Security Plan
While it sounds ridiculously simple, you need to train your staff not to open those dodgy-looking emails.
Clicking on a weird looking email attachment is still the number one way to have a virus infect your network. You could be struck with a worm, spyware or ransomware which can be devastating to your business. Even if your data and files are backed up and you can continue working, there is a chink knocked out of your secure reputation for your clients and customer base.
Train your staff annually. By taking one day out to have the professionals in to warn your staff about emails and refresh their memories about the importance of having passwords that are at least twelve random characters long and changed regularly, you can prevent the most common cyber attacks.
As an employer and the owner of your startup, the buck stops with you. Make sure that you don’t cut corners when it comes to your cybersecurity, and that you spend your money wisely.
Get the most secure firewall that you can and implement a cybersecurity policy that every employee signs up for. Ensure that any files and sensitive data on your network are accessed on a need to know basis. The fewer people accessing this information, the less chance it has of falling into the wrong hands.
While you want to be a hip and cool employer and you’re keen to allow flexible working and working from home, you also don’t want your financial assistants scrolling through confidential budgeting spreadsheets complete with customer details in their favorite coffee shop.
You can source a mobile device management software that doesn’t sacrifice personal privacy. By having this at your fingertips, you can shut down and disable a device if it becomes lost or stolen. While your employees may be panicking about telling you that they’ve misplaced their laptop, at least you can prevent it from falling into criminal hands.
When you do allow staff to take company hardware off your site, make sure that this is logged and that your staff signs up to a charter to ensure they have ownership of the laptop or tablet. You need to empower your staff to feel free enough and autonomous enough to do their work at home, but you also need to trust them to do this responsibly.
If you are a new startup and cybersecurity isn’t your forte, you might be keen to get the professionals on board. Outsourcing this business function to protect your assets will be money well spent. These IT specialists will work with you to train your staff, construct a cybersecurity plan and to update your protective software. They will also encrypt all necessary data and ensure that your files and system are backed up regularly. This is vital. If an attack was to occur and ransomware was on your network, you can carry on trading while the experts sort out the issue. While outsourcing may be an expensive prospect, this is nothing compared with ensuring that your business remains active and viable.
Being cyber aware can feel like one extra business responsibility too many. You are more concerned with your digital marketing, your funding, and your cash flow. However, never neglect the importance of your cybersecurity. It could be the make or break to the success of your business venture.
Readers, please share so new business owners become aware of this cyber security plan.
Do you have any tips to add for an even more effective cyber security plan for a new business? I look forward to your views in the comments section.