Step-by-Step Guide to Cybersecurity for Startups

September 28, 2022

One data leak can lead to millions in damages, not to mention the possibility of closing a business and never getting back up. Sadly, this is the reality in 2022. Last year alone, 46% of security breaches affected both small and midsize organizations.

It’s clear that cyberattacks can disrupt any business, from startups to large-scale enterprises. Using strong passwords or updating your software isn’t going to completely eradicate the possibilities of cyberattacks and fraud. For this reason, understanding the risks behind the lack of cybersecurity measures is extremely important, especially in the startup environment.

Step One: Choose a Reliable Antivirus Software

As more companies move their services to the digital landscape, new security challenges arise. Naturally, some cybersecurity measures are costly, and that’s why small companies and startups are looking for the best options to suit their needs. Probably the most common and cost-effective security solution is antivirus software.

Antivirus is a crucial part of a robust security system because it helps prevent various types of malware attacks. While most antivirus solutions offer a free trial for personal use, there are free options for businesses out there as well. For instance, FortiClient, Comodo or Nano Antivirus fall into this category. Remember, antivirus programs are easy to use and are very valuable when it comes to having an effective cybersecurity system.

Most organizations will use antivirus software that’s deployed on an enterprise level. In this case, all company devices, such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones, will have such software added to them. Despite that, some startups forget to update their software as well as their devices, creating new security vulnerabilities. To avoid such risks, you can set a strict schedule and remind your employees to update their devices.

Step Two: Secure Your Network

Having a first line of defense is an absolute must, and that includes making sure that your startup network is secured. It’s no secret that network security can be defined by the number of devices that you own in your network. If you’re a large company, of course, you’ll face more security threats compared to a smaller startup that has fewer devices.

Despite that, all organizations should follow a basic step guide in order to build and protect their networks. These are the main surface-level security solutions that security specialists recommend for startups:

  • Encryption. Sensitive data is the number one target that attracts hackers. That’s why your company should invest in encryption software. Employee records or, for instance, customers’ data can be protected by encryption.
  • Backing up data. As bad as it sounds, you need to be prepared for data breaches. In case your sensitive information gets exposed, a backup solution will help restore the lost data without hassle.
  • Two-step authentication. What’s better than a standard password? Exactly, two-step authentication solutions can help your startup reduce the chances of password cracking. As a bonus, you can use password managers to help your staff create secure credentials.

Step Three: Carry Through With a Security Policy

Do you want to lock down your security system? In that case, recognizing cybersecurity threats won’t do the job for you. Designing and implementing a formal security plan, which is defined by various policies, will help you prevent cyberattacks. It’s also important to stress that everyone in your startup should be serious about following the policies. As an extra step, you can train your staff on security awareness training and educate every member of the team to follow proper cybersecurity hygiene. That includes:

  • Updating passwords regularly.
  • Keeping activity reports.
  • Backing up your data.
  • Organizing training sessions.

For example, reporting and identifying suspicious activity, using two-step authentication, and protecting the network – are all factors that make the base of your security system. To add an extra layer of security, practice your incident response plan which is an important part of CMMC compliance. Even if you think that you’ve done it all to protect your startup, a devastating time can come despite your best efforts. That’s why it’s vital to train your staff so that they can handle the cyberattack and control the damage.

Step Four: Set Up a Firewall

Another vital layer of security is a firewall. In case your startup doesn’t have it already, you need to prioritize setting up this defense. Also, it’s important to stress that some antivirus solutions include firewall protection. Despite that, a firewall works not only as an additional way to protect your network’s devices but also as a method to protect your web applications.

A web application firewall (WAF) safeguards applications by monitoring HTTP traffic between a web app and the internet, this way making a shield between them. As proxies protect users’ identities by using an intermediary, in contrast, a WAF is able to reverse the proxy. It helps businesses to protect their servers from bad exposure because customers need to pass through the WAF before reaching the server.

If you’re an e-commerce startup that sells products and services online, you need to consider installing WAF to help protect your customers’ personal information. You can check iDenfy for such digital solutions that could help you prevent fraud and unwanted cyberattacks.

To Wrap it Up

The lack of security measures are what gets startups to face the damaging effects of data breaches and various other cyberattacks. Bad actors are getting smarter, but let’s not forget that cybersecurity solutions are getting more sophisticated as well. Nowadays, even if your startup is hacked, you can recover all of the files in the system. That said, it’s important to invest continuously in security and train your staff. Once you clear out the gaps in your security policy, you’ll ensure that your startup is digitally secure.

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