Securing Your Start-Up in 2020: Smart Cybersecurity Moves For Savvy Entrepreneurs

There’s nothing worse than pouring lots of time, effort, and money into a new project just to see it all wasted because tiny but important details were overlooked. For that reason, cybersecurity should be one of the first things on your mind when you’re launching a venture.

We get it, it’s easy to focus on the bigger picture and get wrapped up in the excitement of your new business. But forgetting to prioritize cybersecurity could mean the difference between make and break.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled our top tips for securing your start-up in 2020. Invest in cybersecurity now and rest safe in the knowledge it’s money and effort well spent.

The best news? Our security tips are all wallet-friendly and, in some cases, completely free of charge.

1. Make security part of everyone’s job description

Whether you’re running a team of 20, 200, or your business is a two-person show, make sure that “security” is written into everyone’s job description. Creating a security culture from the earliest days means your startup is better protected as all employees stay mindful of cyber safety and data security matters.

Security culture here means being mindful of standard best practices and implementing them always. Think all those things we know we should do (proper passwords, limited admin access, flagging suspicious emails, etc.) but that often fall by the wayside.

If this isn’t your strength, invest in some training so that you can pass your knowledge to your team. In particular, make sure your team knows about the threats posed by phishing attempts and malware.

Scams such as the “boss email” persist because they are so successful — don’t let your company be the next victim.

2. Get data encryption you can rely on

If you’re routinely sending sensitive emails, messages, or data to the cloud, it’s smart to stop your transmissions being intercepted by any prying eyes. Encrypting your data in transit is as simple as installing a VPN router for your office network.

Virtual Private Networks, provide a critical layer of cybersecurity by protecting every internet-connected device on the network. Therefore, many businesses consider using a VPN on their office routers so that all devices connected to the network can be secured.

3. Keep crucial systems only and get rid of the rest

Whether you operate primarily with cloud systems, local systems, or a combination of both, consider how many systems and services your business is using. It’s all too easy to get caught up in subscriptions and end up with countless third-party integrations.

The problem with this is that the more integrations, the more potential access points, and, conversely, a greater risk of data breaches.

Be discerning about which services you actually need and which are superfluous. As an added bonus, you might trim back on costs when you eliminate unnecessary add-ons.

4. Invest in cloud systems and storage

It might feel counterintuitive, but your company’s critical data, and any data you’re holding on behalf of your clients, might be safer saved to cloud storage than on local storage. Physically protecting your drives is not convenient and it also means the team can’t access information when not in the office.

Choosing a quality cloud storage provider is not only affordable (think around the US$10 mark per month for 1TB of storage) but these providers have digital security that easily rivals that of most companies. Not only that, but the provider is also heavily invested in physical drive security. After all, their whole business is secure storage.

That all said, cloud providers make mistakes too. So choose carefully to avoid becoming the next cybersecurity disaster story.

5. Cut BYOD culture as much as possible

BYOD here stands for Bring Your Own Device and it refers to the practice of employees working from a range of personal devices.

The issue with that is that you have no way of knowing whether BYOD devices are compromised and are allowing malware, viruses, or hackers into your company’s systems.

In an ideal world, you could provide each of your staff members with company devices, but as a new start-up, it’s possible your venture doesn’t have that kind of cash flow yet. Instead, try to limit BYOD culture by asking employees to nominate which of their devices they will work on and then stick to it.

6. Plan for the worst

It’s not pleasant to think about, but it’s smart to plan what you will do in case of a data breach. If you have customer data, you have a responsibility to keep it safe. You also have a responsibility to report any breaches in a timely manner and follow any and all regulations that apply to your company.

Failure to disclose data breaches can result in a fine that exceeds the one for allowing a breach in the first place. So with that in mind, make sure you have a post-breach plan in place that stipulates what you will do.

Planning for the worst-case scenario also prompts you to cover cybersecurity elements you haven’t previously considered and may result in better security all around.

These six cybersecurity steps can go a long way to securing your start-up in 2020 and help your get your new venture up and running in a way that’s safe and secure for you, your staff, and your clients.

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