Protecting and securing data when a business is still in its beginning phase can seem like a challenge. Moreover, not everyone in the organization is aware that cybersecurity plays an essential role in protecting the company’s data. Also, a company may be struggling with limited resources, which keeps it away from cybersecurity issues. All these reasons make small businesses and startups favorite targets of cybercriminals worldwide.
Sadly, many small businesses and startups don’t think about cybersecurity until after a breach, which further results in disastrous financial consequences. According to the research published by cyber-insurance firm Hiscox, the average cost of a data breach in 2019 was almost $200,000, with small businesses and startups losing around $9,000 per reported incident.
This brings us to the question:
Why Do Cybercriminals Target Small Businesses and Startups?
Every company, be it a startup or a well-established organization, has vulnerabilities that cybercriminals tend to exploit for their gains. However, a business that is only at its initial stage is often followed by valuable data (like financial services or healthcare), making for a juicy target for an opportunistic hacker. Below you’ll find plenty of examples of why cybercriminals target small businesses and startups at regular intervals:
- Customer Information:
Startups are a goldmine of customer data. They work with a tremendous amount of information such as social security numbers, financial information, and transaction history.
For a cybercriminal, this type of information is most engaging and valuable. However, with leading cybersecurity companies like Fortinet, you can give your customers and organizations the protection they need. They have a wide range of cybersecurity solutions that a small business or startup can employ to their advantage. For instance, they can provide you with advanced threat protection giving a startup comprehensive network security for their IT infrastructure. Therefore, to keep your vital business information safe and secure, seeking help from a cybersecurity company is only rational.
- Proprietary Data:
Startups and small businesses often work around creative and innovative ideas for products and services, along with internal research data that could be useful to outside parties.
- Security At First :
Data encryption for your website is an essential part of a cybersecurity policy. Small businesses are always on the target of cyber thieves. Data encryption can be achieved with a proper SSL certificate like standard SSL cert, cheap wildcard SSL for subdomains security, and other digital SSL certs used for different purposes.
- Third-party Weaknesses:
Cybercriminals also target small businesses and startups because they are always in sync with larger companies as third-party vendors, which can give them entry points into those more precious networks. For instance, Target’s shocking 2013 credit card breach only happened because of weaknesses exploited by cybercriminals in a third-party vendor system.
- Several Interfaces:
Another reason for frequent cyberattacks is the rapidly growing use of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices which expands the attack surface of networks. Small businesses and startups use IoT devices generally due to their lower costs and growing abilities. And this makes their job easy for a hacker as it provides them with a backdoor from poorly-secured devices, and they end up accessing broader and more sensitive networks.
- Lack of Capital:
In most cases, small businesses and startups are working on a limited budget. They don’t always have the resources to prioritize cybersecurity into their business model. As a result, they often neglect this critical feature and make their organization vulnerable to cyber threats.
So, How Do You Keep Your Organization Safe from Cyber Threats?
Below are the measures a startup and small business owner can employ to ensure the security of their organization:
Formulate an Effective Data Security Plan
A business owner needs to find out who in your organization needs to access which type of data and formulate policies to protect this access. No one in the organization should have more access than they need. If your employees are bringing and working on their own devices, make sure they are working with all the latest security updates on their devices. This includes multiple forms of multi-factor biometric authentication, such as fingerprints and facial recognition. Make sure you review your plans at regular intervals and update them as more people join the organization. Never make your security plans get old and irrelevant.
Train and Educate Your People from the Very Beginning
Make sure you train and educate your employees from the day they join the company. After you begin the data protection program, start preparing your employees. And if new employees keep joining your organization, make sure you conduct cybersecurity workshops to get them familiar with the rules and regulations they need to follow. Also, don’t forget to go over the cybersecurity policies with your employees at regular intervals, so don’t forget to follow them. Make it a continuous process, not a one-time event.
Make Rules for Personal Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices
Smartphones have now become an extension of our hands. A few years ago, employees didn’t even have a cell phone, especially when working. But all that is now history, thanks to the fast-growing technology of smartphones and their applications. On the other hand, breaching these devices is one of the most common ways to gain access to companies’ private networks and bring company security in jeopardy. Make sure you create a “bring your own device” (BYOD) guideline for your employees and anyone who enters the premises to strengthen your cybersecurity policy.
Take Extra Steps in Securing Your Data
One of your organizations’ most crucial security principles should be to create as few as possible digital copies of your company’s confidential data. It will help secure data from any unauthorized access. However, this is easier said than done. Many employees from various departments need to access the same information, which puts your company’s information at risk. Another reason is that your employees access the data from their workstations and devices at home or anywhere else. And if anyone wants to share documents or with an outside party, they might use a third-party app that is not secure and doesn’t use any encryption.
Instead of creating multiple plans for several contingencies, implementing a safe and secure file-sharing platform like Google can solve all your problems. It provides you with a safe environment and peace of mind to efficiently run your business.
To Sum it Up
Cyber security measures can make or break your business. With rapidly changing technology, the risk of cybercrimes is becoming even more eminent. Therefore, to keep your business model safe and secure, following the measures mentioned above will act as a necessary step in the growth of your organization. Make sure you follow them and give your company more reasons to succeed.