Reports about data security breaches have recently flooded the majority of mainstream media outlets. However, as much as most top businesses and brands rely on the ‘online or digital wave’ to meet customers’ demands and remain competitive, cyberattacks are ever on the rise and constantly evolving.
What may begin as an unfaithful employee clicking a purportedly innocuous link in their email can result in a huge setback that will lead to your startup shutting its doors. Data breaches not only cost your startup a lump sum of money but also tarnishes its reputation. Emerging entrepreneurs have to be privy to threats towards digital security and how to manage and protect their growing ventures against digital villainy.
Here are some of the most critical queries you must keep in check to boost your startup’s tech security.
Top 10 Questions for Boosting Your Startups Tech Security
1. Does My Startup Have an IT Security Policy?
Having an existing set of rules and strategies guiding people who have access to your startup’s IT assets is an essential step in preventing and alleviating security breaches. And, it shouldn’t rest at that. You have to document the IT security policy and ensure the involved stakeholders are in full compliance.
An effective IT security policy guarantees your startup’s assets’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability, especially clientele data.
Regularly update your IT security policy in response to the relevant changes in your business, new threats, and resolved issues from previous breaches. In addition, inform and update all the staff members about these changes. For instance, you have to elucidate that they must not share or disclose any of their user ids and passwords.
2. Who Has Access To Your Startup’s Data?
As mentioned, unwitting and accidental employee negligence or even third-party associates is often the weak link in a corporation’s cybersecurity system. Likewise, don’t entitle all staff members to the startup’s critical data, such as financial information and intellectual properties.
And most importantly, the amount of information your vendors have access to. Be knowledgeable on how contractors and vendors store data, compliance with data protection regulations, cybersecurity controls, and access controls.
A practical and effective approach to this is having a privacy and confidentiality agreement with external parties.
3. How Regularly Do You Partake an Audit of your Startup’s IT Security Checklist?
An IT security audit is a vital and must-do process if you want to protect your startup and keep its doors open.
Comprehensive and regular IT security audits (at least once every six months) allow you to verify your startup’s security infrastructure( hardware, software, data centers, etc.) In turn, you can painlessly ascertain any vulnerabilities in your security system. Also, a thorough audit can play a critical role in the following ways:
- You can identify irrelevant tools and processes that don’t play a part in the security function.
- Determine if your startup is capable of thwarting data breaches and recuperate or restore breached information.
- Solutions to address any security breaches.
Not to forget, the majority of your prospective partners and clientele might demand to see the assessment of your startup’s security audit before executing any transactions with you.
4. Do You Have Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage?
A successful cyberattack can damage your startup in several ways. For example, tarnishing its reputation, data loss, business disruption, and the lump sum amount of ransom you might have to settle.
And Yes, you might have the healthiest and best digital hygiene practices to curb any attacks. However, comprehensive cyber liability insurance premiums are peanuts considering the help, protection, and coverage when an unprecedented breach occurs.
5. Do You Back Up Critical Data On a Server In a Remote Location?
First and foremost, with the help of senior management, identify your startup’s critical data and assets. Subsequently, find an ideal location to store the said data. For instance, external hard drives or cloud backup only accessible to you are an excellent and practical location.
Data backup is a safe way to ensure you are proactive about your startup’s tech security.
6. Is There an Existing Firewall System and Intrusion Detection System(IDS) on All Web Connections?
Without a firewall system, your startup’s network is vulnerable to constant threats. For the last three decades, firewalls have been a pivotal first line of defense in keeping destructive forces out of your network. Top it up with an IDS, and digital threats might be your least concern.
There are numerous firewalls and intrusion detection systems available, each offering various protection, benefits, and drawbacks. It’s best to choose the proper type of firewall suitable for safeguarding your startup’s online security. Also, never use an IDS as a replacement for a firewall system. Instead, use both components concurrently to ensure sufficient protection.
7. Are All Devices and Computers Protected With up-to-date Antivirus Software?
Not just the antivirus software. Update all of your startup’s computer software. Out-of-date infrastructure and software attract hackers and cybercriminals. Plus, the outdated antivirus will fail to repel new viruses. Antivirus updates have the latest files and techniques needed to resist new threats and viruses.
8. Are You Aware of all the modems and wireless access Connections? Are they Secure?
Your startup should have a dedicated WiFi protection system. Wireless networks are easy to breach, even for amateur hackers. However, cybercriminals find it hard to breach Secured wireless networks.
One common mistake startups make is using home WiFi systems lacking the protocols essential to protect critical business data. Data breaches due to poorly secured or unsecured networks are a pervasive phenomenon. Employees using public WiFi systems must never access sensitive information.
9. Do All of Your Employees Have Strong Passwords That They Regularly Update?
Both managerial and low-level employees should use strong and secure passwords with a combination of random numbers, letters, and symbols. On top of it, they shouldn’t use business passwords for their social media accounts.
Even better, you can go a step further with your startup’s login security by authorizing other forms of access control such as two-factor authentication.
10. Your Clientele Personal Identifiable Information, Is it Encrypted?
Online hackers target unencrypted customer information such as names, birthdates, credit card numbers, home addresses, email addresses, and social security numbers. They use such data to commit identity thefts that might eventually be traceable to you.
Therefore, it’s vital to encrypt all sensitive data. And again, cloud-based platforms are perfect solutions in alleviating data theft.
Understanding the cybersecurity threats is a crucial step in ensuring your growing venture is on the right track. Of course, it might be impossible to be immune to all kinds of attacks, but a comprehensive tech security program can cover these challenges.