By Talal Zuberi
Entering an industry among multinational giants is easy, but retaining your position and surviving is the tough part. As soon as you create an image among the masses, people start to notice you and so does the competitors. They will study your tactics and do their best to lower your businesses revenue through specific means. Whether making price wars or buying your businesses stocks or clients.
But one thing won’t cross your mind, ‘to secure your businesses data and information.’ That’s where the competitors or people affected by your business start targeting you. As a small business entrepreneur, I have been facing multiple issues regarding how to safeguard my information and data since long gone are the days of using paper as a means to store your logs and records. I thought going digital would solve all my security concerns, but I was wrong and nowadays protecting your intellectual property, financial documents, employee records and customer info is challenging.
One petty move and you’ll merely lose your company, especially for startups. Recently I came across an article where the harsh reality of Cyber Security was shown, giving me goosbumps.
- Almost 3,809,448 records are stolen daily
- Three industries (Government, Retail, and Technology) comprises of 95% of breached data gathered (Government, Retail, and Technology)
- Out of the lot, only 38% Organizations globally are prepared to withstand cyber-attacks.
- Its predicted the average cost of the data breach would exceed by $150 million by 2020
I’m sure these stats would’ve given you a broader picture regarding the probability of being a victim of cyber-attack. But one question must raise in your mind that how are these stats related to the security concerns of a startup company? New startups are easy prey for hungry cybercriminals as they use lesser security measures to protect their data.
However, you can use small steps to keep your data intact.
1. Use Two Factor Authentication
It’s a common practice among our team to use Google Drive, Gmail and WeTransfer to control our data and contact clients. Since Google services are highly vulnerable, there is always a chance that it can be penetrated. However, these websites use ‘two-factor Authentication’ or 2FA. Google refers to it as 2 Step Verification by which verification is required if you log in to your account from a different device or after a long time. Until and unless someone has your Phone access, cybercriminal can penetrate easily break into the 2 Factor Authentication.
2. Check your business’ credit report.
The National Cyber Security Alliance has a website named ‘Stay Safe Online,’ which has excellent information about the best methods for monitoring your businesses credit record and things to look for which will notify if your company is breached or not.
A business credit report is created which separates the detrimental activities of your business, through which you can easily pick if your company has been breached or not. Just like you analyze your credit report for unusual events. This will allow you keep your entire businesses data on check and secure.
3. Initiate a Plan and Carry It Efficiently
Need tools for online security tips? Log onto the Federal Communications free online tool and Cyber Planner which will create a pivotal plan for online security. Cyber Planner tool allows you to witness all those topics which may hinder startup businesses growth. Once chosen the desired topic, you get a PDF document full of them.
Go through the document with your employees and co-relate it with your organization and cater to what information does your startup has under its umbrella. That way you will be able to pinpoint where and how a loophole is created.
4. Educate Employees And Enforce Secure Strategies
The computer is not designed to make errors unless it’s created by someone who made a mistake while analyzing it. Human error is a possible way through which data is breached. Intentionally and Unintentionally. Which is why educating employees regarding the security constraints is a must.
Many companies don’t allow employees to use their own Computers for work since it could lead to theft. But if they do allow it, they have a policy of having two-factor authentication and secure devices and change their email IDs and passwords at least once a week. The best way to secure your corporate online network and your remote employees is by using a VPN. A good VPN service can protect your online network and your employees from all unsecure threats.
5. Take Precaution with Customer Information
Security of customers’ information is the first priority for all businesses. It’s a way through which customers trust startups by all means. Its advised to use limited amount of information of the Customers, the less sensitive data you collect, the lesser you have to worry about data leakages. Allowing more focus on other financial aspects of the business.
In a Gist
Once a startup comes to light, its preyed by dozens and sometimes hundreds of companies and cybercriminals as a vulture. You never know when a breach occurs and data is being stolen right under your nose without you getting a hint of it.
A financial loss can be bounced back to, but a loss of critical data online could lead you your business or startup exposed to competitors. Be prepared!