There are many managerial and operational tasks required to successfully grow a startup business. One of the biggest mistakes startup businesses make is neglecting to safeguard their data from cyber threats. Some studies show that 200,000 new malware samples were discovered each day in 2016. Unfortunately, analysts expect this number to increase as more businesses use cloud storage and other internet services. Safeguarding your online information is paramount to setting up your business for success. The following tips in this article will help you protect your startup business from cyber threats.
#1) Create Strong Passwords
Don’t underestimate the importance of creating strong passwords. A common tactic hackers use to access systems and servers is spamming countless username and password combinations. Known as a brute force attack, it’s a rudimentary yet oftentimes effective tactic. To protect your business from brute-force attacks, you must create strong passwords for all privileged accounts and change them on a regular basis.
#2) Enable Two-Factor Authentication
You can go one step further with your business’s login security by enabling two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires more than just a username and password; it also requires the user to perform a second verification task, such as entering a PIN or submitting a fingerprint. This additional step makes a world of difference in strengthening your business’s cybersecurity and protecting it from cyber threats.
#3) Beware of Phishing Scams
Research shows that 85 percent of businesses have suffered a phishing attack. Whether it’s an email with a spoofed “from” address or a social media profile presenting itself as a legitimate company, phishing scams are a common way in which hackers deploy ransomware and other forms of malware. Thankfully, it’s also something that startups can protect themselves from through education and training. Business owners should train employees on how to identify and avoid phishing scams.
#4) Professional Cyber Detection and Response Services
Consider hiring a professional cybersecurity firm to further strengthen your business’s data security. Managed Dectection and Response (MDR) services are perfect for startups looking to create an iron-clad barrier of defense against cyber threats. As the name suggests, it detects and responds to potential cyber threats. This is in stark contrast to basic network monitoring services, which only detect threats.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of MDR services, however, is their ability to identify new threats. Traditional Security Operations Centers (SOCs) only target existing, known cyber threats. MDR services, on the other hand, respond to potential cyber threats that haven’t otherwise been identified.
#5) Conduct Routine Cybersecurity Risk Assessments
When was the last time that you conducted a cybersecurity risk assessment? By conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment on a regular basis, you’ll have a better understanding of potential threats, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities in your business’s systems.
Depending on the industry in which your business operates, a cybersecurity risk assessment may be required. Doctors and other medical service providers, for instance, are required to conduct them as per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Whether it’s required in your business’s industry or not, a cybersecurity risk assessment is an essential component of strong data security.
#6) Patch Software and Applications
Running outdated software or applications is a serious mistake that opens the doors to cyber threats. It’s no secret that hackers specifically target businesses running outdated software or applications. If your business is running an old version of Windows Server 2016, for instance, you should update it as soon as possible for maximum protection. Outdated software often contains vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit for system access. Therefore, you must patch all software and applications to protect your business’s data.
#7) Encrypt Data
Finally, encrypting your business’s data can protect it from prying eyes. Encryption involves running your data through an algorithm that converts it to an encoded form. Hackers may still be able to access it. Unless they have the encryption key, however, they won’t be able to read it. As a result, cybersecurity professionals tout encryption is being one of the most effective safeguards for data.
In conclusion, hopefully these tips and suggestions not only give you more direction in how you can protect your small business but also help you to realize the importance of understanding the threats toward cyber security and how to manage them. There is enough to worry about in creating a successful startup business. Don’t let a data breach be something that impedes your growth and success.
About the Author: Rick Delgado is a freelancer tech writer and commentator. He enjoys writing about new technologies and trends, and how they can help us. Rick occasionally writes for several tech companies and industry publications.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this and other guest author articles are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.