In this age of digitalization, no company, industry, or country is safe from cyberattacks. Every organization has vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit. And knowing that startups and small businesses revolve around evolution, which needs constant change to adapt to the ever-changing technological world, you have to consider that this agility also creates possibilities for new risks. By that, we mean cybersecurity threats.
Unfortunately, startups and small businesses often believe they don’t need a cybersecurity program because they are too tiny for scams and attacks. What they don’t know about that mindset is it only exposes them to a broader scope of threats.
In this article, we’ll explore more about the significance of cybersecurity and provide some security tips for startups and small businesses. So, if you own a small firm or are just starting your company, read on and learn about why cybersecurity matters to your business.
The Importance of Cybersecurity
By definition, cybersecurity secures your data, which includes everything from sensitive intellectual property to the personal information of your clients and workers. Without it, you’re making your business vulnerable to threat actors who could endanger your company’s confidential information and reputation. However, if this isn’t enough reason for you to invest in cybersecurity programs, here are a few more:
1. Startups and small businesses are usually seen as easy targets.
Startups and small businesses make an easy target for threat actors because of numerous reasons:
• Shortage of budget for a thorough and updated security defense system
• Limited security awareness among employees
• Lack of risk management policy and procedure and lack of risk awareness, in general
• Failure to secure endpoints
Since startups and small companies tend to keep their focus on marketing and growing the business, they often overlook the importance of security. And that just gives hackers more advantage to quickly getting access to the company’s data. In fact, according to Verizon’s 2019 data breach investigation report, 43% of all data breaches targeted small businesses.
2. You hold invaluable information.
You have to understand that even the smallest businesses or the newest startups still hold sensitive information like your employees’ and customers’ personal or financial details. And that information is what the hackers are interested in. With that in mind, having a security defense system is vital to protect confidential information.
3. Non-compliance can be expensive.
For doing business in new markets, there are usually independent compliance requirements that you need to follow. Failure to do so, in this case, data breach, only gets you to spend more than the amount you’ll pay for solid cybersecurity measures. If you think about it, investing in cybersecurity is way better than paying for data breach costs (non-compliance), operational costs, and reputational costs. That being said, always make sure to allot a budget to security and comply with data security regulations.
4. An established cybersecurity program gives you a competitive edge.
If you adhere to safe security practices, chances are you attract clients and business partners to work with you. Knowing that you have a robust security system as a startup business, they will be confident to put their money and trust in you.
And aside from business partners, you also help retain your employees to take every step with you in growing the brand. It’s already difficult to hire people, so don’t make it even more challenging to retain them because of security risks.
5. A cyber-attack can put an end to your business.
If you have a startup company, be aware that even the slightest glitch could cause your corporate growth an end. You must, therefore, weigh the risks to thrive and expand.
A breach during the early stages of your organization could seriously put all your hard work to an end. It is typical for hackers to take down vital network infrastructure and websites after a data breach using DDoS assaults and other techniques. Fixing that requires a lot of money to risk with no assurance of regaining access and control of your data and IT systems.
As a small business, there’s a huge possibility that you won’t only lose a lot of money and reputation in this situation but will also find it hard to recover. In the worst-case scenario, the business will only resort to having a total shutdown.
How To Mitigate Cybersecurity Risks
Now that we have learned about the significance of cybersecurity in startups and small businesses let’s discuss how to mitigate the risks. Even though developing and maintaining a cybersecurity program may seem challenging and frightening, there are fundamental steps you can follow to get started. Here are some:
• Establishing a comprehensive cybersecurity framework based on zero-trust principles
• Investing money in training employees about security management
• Updating software and operating systems when new patches are released
• Ensuring that firewalls and antivirus programs are up to date and providing adequate protection for all devices
• Using identity management to monitor and limit access to sensitive data
• Using a strong password and updating it regularly
• Implementing access management tools, such as single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA)
• Data encryption and regular data backup
The Bottom Line
In this digital age, inadequate security measures affect everything for every business, small or startup. With that in mind, we can say cybersecurity matters—as it is no longer an option to take but a necessity. So, to protect customer data and intellectual property and grow as a business, start investing in strong cybersecurity programs.
This article was written by Katie Pierce