First, smaller businesses tend to be reluctant when it comes to putting enough effort into protecting against cyber-attacks as they consider themselves too insignificant to be targeted. While it may be true that the possible gains of attacking smaller entities may be less striking, the task is generally less difficult and less dangerous.
The second reason is that startups have their resources stretched thin that they don’t consider cyber security a priority. Most small enterprises lack dedicated IT staff to deal with such things.
Cyber Security continues to be among the most strenuous issues for small business enterprises. Research shows that cyber threats cost small businesses an average of $53,987. While this may seem nothing compared to the millions lost by medium and large enterprises, it is substantial compared to the size of the business. So, how can you protect your startup from these risks and ensure your business continues to grow to greater heights without any losses?
This article discusses different cyber threats affecting startups and ways by which small businesses can protect themselves.
There are several cyber attacks that the owners of startups should be aware of. Here are some of them:
A data breach is when cybercriminals try to steal your company information by getting hold of your databases. This is made easy by the personal and financial information sold on the black or “gray” market. Startups that have apps or websites that collect client information are the main targets for such attacks.
Other than cyber attacks, you should also be very careful with how you use your client’s information. Make sure to study the laws governing the usage of personal information, such as GDPR in the EU, to avoid run-ins with the law. If in doubt, do not opt your clients in anything unless they have specifically indicated a desire to subscribe to promotional messages.
Ransomware & Malware
Ransomware ranks among the top cyber security risks to businesses today. Ransomware is a particular type of malware that infects devices, including both computers and mobile phones, over an unprotected network. Ransomware encrypts folders on the compromised device, rendering them useless to the users. You’ll have to pay a ransom to the attackers to be given a decryption key, but it’s not guaranteed that the hackers will honor your payment.
How To Protect Yourself
Whether small or big, your business can be a target for cyber attacks. Startups and small businesses are actually more susceptible to the attacks majorly due to their lack of sufficient security measures.
Here is how to ensure you remain protected.
1. Proper Cyber Security Training
The most expedient way for cyber criminals to enter into any organization is through the employees. Most attacks start with spear phishing where malware is pushed to a device through a targeted email. As the company owner, it’s your duty to ensure your staff learns and understands how to respond to potential cyber threats.
2. Control User Access
Company owners should refrain from giving your employees too much access to important business information. As discussed, employees can be an entry point for cyber attacks if they are unaware of the security procedures. It is also possible that the accidentally shared sensitive data in a public domain. Make sure you only allow key users access to critical information or customer data.
3. Use Security Software
Anti-virus or anti-malware refers to a set of programs created to guard your system against viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, and other venomous software. A reliable antivirus and antimalware software will help protect your company’s data and identity. Many businesses also choose to install a VPN on their office router for an extra layer of protection and traffic encryption of all the connected devices.
4. Backup Company Data
Backing up your data regularly is critical for any company. This prevents your company from losing valuable data or business information. Even if you encounter a cyber attack like a ransomware attack that destroys your data, you will still have your critical data in your backup. Companies can take advantage of cloud storage services for easy backup.
It’s clear that no business is too insignificant for cyber threats. Knowing the risks you are exposed to is the first step to protecting your startup. Use the above tips to ensure you remain safe.
Does your business have essential cyber security measures in place?
What are some other security tools that you find effective?
Let us know in the comments below.
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