Launching a new venture can be an overwhelming task. It grants you responsibility for sensitive information. Whether it’s credit card details, social security numbers, employee wages, or business taxes, protecting these pieces of information is vital. Thus, the last thing you would want is a security breach.
Getting hacked can negatively impact your business. For starters, sensitive data of your employees, business, and clients may get into the wrong hands. Even worse, your business may lose its reputation and potential clients as a result. After all, once both current and potential clients feel like they can’t trust you with their personal data, they’ll look for alternatives.
It’s true that you can do crisis management to manage the negative outcomes of a data hack. However, once you’ve lost public trust by compromising sensitive information, you will have a hard time regaining the trust of both clients and employees.
Given how hard it is to clear your brand reputation after a data hack, it’s wiser to start putting cybersecurity measures in place before you have reason to worry.
Let’s talk about 10 cybersecurity tips to protect your startup
If you are uncertain about how to improve cybersecurity in your business, here are 10 tips you can leverage:
1. Deploy a Cybersecurity Management Plan
It takes a good safety plan to protect your business from cyber threats. Therefore, you should set up a cybersecurity management plan that keeps your business data safe throughout. Once you’ve developed this plan, your suppliers, contractors, and employees all need to be aware of it. Beyond that, they need to know how to activate it. For example, who should they inform when they suspect there’s been a breach in the network? How can they contribute to making sure that it works smoothly?
This plan must also be scalable. It should adapt to the evolution of technology. And that includes the potential risks that businesses are bound to face with time.
2. Ensure you have Protection for Remote Workers
While the remote working environment can benefit your business, it also brings about new types of cyber threats. After all, since your employees won’t be protected by the local office network, it’s easier for them to fall victim to malicious attacks. Additionally, since they don’t have access to the same security you offer in your office, you may also lose company devices in the case of physical theft.
Nevertheless, the risk of an attack shouldn’t prevent you from having remote workers. To secure sensitive business information, simply encrypt this data.
Once you’ve encrypted your data, in case a business device is stolen from your employee’s home, the data in it will be safe. You must also enact policies and procedures to ensure your staff keeps company data safe while working from home.
3. Secure Configuration
As you install new network devices and computers, you need to have security measures in place. You should employ a strategy that eliminates unnecessary functionality and fixes vulnerabilities quickly. Software update programs and automated patch management are the best ways to manage this.
4. Plan for the Worst
Data breaches are common in the digital space, and virtual businesses are on the radar of cybercriminals. Therefore, it pays to have measures that protect your business’s reputation in case it’s hacked. You should have in place processes and policies to contain the impact before it gets worse. You can even set up a risk management team to handle all incidents associated with cybersecurity.
With a crisis management plan in place, you can respond to the situation promptly. Part of this response should include informing the public what you’re doing to manage the situation. Keep in mind that crisis management doesn’t end as soon as you’ve contained the situation. Once you’ve managed the situation, you still need to share the improvements you’re making to secure your network even further. If people believe you’re doing everything that you can to ensure this never happens again, they’re far more likely to forgive you.
5. Secure your Business from Malicious Software
Malicious programs also known as malware include ransomware and viruses, among others. Simply put, it’s any content or code that threatens the safety of your IT systems. It can lead to loss of data and disrupt your business. Employing powerful anti-virus should help keep your systems safe from malware. Even so, your should train your staff on the measures they should take to avoid malware and keep the company’s IT system safe.
6. Provide Team Education
There’s more to a robust cybersecurity plan than deploying powerful programs like anti-virus software. Educating your staff on cyber threats is one of the effective ways in which you can keep cyber threats at bay. Therefore, you should organize an education program that trains every member of your company on how to keep the systems safe. You should also use this opportunity to share the safety policies you’ve put in place.
Most importantly, you need to encourage security-conscious habits. This should motivate the employees to report security breaches without fear.
7. Regulate the Use of External USB devices
Even with powerful network security, cyber threats can penetrate your system through external devices. Anything that can be plugged into your business computer is a potential threat to business data. In fact, everything from USB storage to tablets and smartphones can transfer malware into your IT system. In some cases, they can even be used to steal a massive amount of confidential data.
In other words, if your staff is using these devices, then you could lose sensitive information. Corrupted devices can even cost you your brand reputation. To prevent such damages, you must develop policies that regulate the use of these devices. Once you’ve put these policies into place, ensure all the employees are aware of these measures.
8. Provide Network Security
The simple act of connecting to the Internet can leave your IT system susceptible to cyber attacks. This is also true if your IT system is linked to partner networks. As such, you must have robust network security. It should be able to handle potential threats and keep your company systems safe. There is a vast range of options when it comes to network security solutions. Some great examples include anti-virus software, email security, and firewalls.
10. Track All your Services Including Networks
Proper tracking of all your virtual systems keeps you updated on their current status. In case you fall victim to a cyber attack, you will be able to identify it on time. For example, unusual traffic from a strange location is a perfect example of a potential cyber threat. Similarly, if you notice a massive data transfer, that’s a major red flag that something isn’t quite right. If you notice this kind of suspicious activity, you should employ protective measures immediately.
11. Regulate User Privileges
While user privileges are important in the running of your business, you should regulate how much access your staff gets. This applies to both system and data access. As the ultimate administrator, you should only grant them access to the necessary pieces of data they need. This should reduce the level of risks you expose your business to. With this approach, any mishandling of business data will not affect your startup severely.
These are just a few steps you can take to ensure your business is safe from cyber attacks. However, if you want your venture to be more secure, you can do more. Unfortunately, there are certain risks that you just can’t manage on your own.
If you really want to protect your business against cyber attacks, the help of a professional team can come in handy. If you are located in NYC, you can easily access the best cybersecurity in New York City. Remember, the safety of your clients and business data is paramount. Developing a cybersecurity strategy is even more important for the success of your startup.