5 Security Tips for Startups Looking to Succeed in the Digital World
The internet is indispensable. Thanks to the all-encompassing connectivity that the internet brings to the table, the barriers to entry into the business world are all but gone. Hence the advent of the startup economy worldwide. However, the connectivity that fuels economic growth also opens many doors for cybercriminals, which they are more than eager to use for their benefit.
Cybercrime is today’s fastest-growing form of criminal activity. Data breaches are in the headlines almost daily. The online environment in which many modern-day businesses operate is highly vulnerable. To succeed, organizations must leverage innovative security technologies and practices to minimize online risks.
Our partner NordPass gives five simple yet effective cybersecurity tips that can apply to most startups regardless of their size or industry.
- Alarming trends for businesses that are starting out
The story that the numbers tell us about cybercriminal activity is not a happy one. It’s a fascinating and frightening story all at the same time. In just a couple of decades of the 21st century, we’ve witnessed an impressive number of successful data breaches against some of the most prominent organizations in the world. Because the media tends to focus on large-scale cyber events in its reporting, it is not surprising that 57% of small and midsize Businesses (SMBs) believe online criminals won’t target them. Unfortunately, that is a misconception of epic proportions.
A 2019 Ponemon Institute report reveals that 66% of SMBs experienced a cyberattack in a single year, and 63% faced a data breach. What’s even more worrisome is that a recent IBM report notes that in 2021, the average global cost of a data breach reached 4.24 million USD, which is 10% more compared to 2020. Finally, the National Cyber Security Alliance reports that up to 60% of small enterprises that fall victim to a severe cyberattack go out of business within six months. The numbers don’t lie, and it’s fairly obvious that cybercrime is not going anywhere anytime soon and is likely to only increase in frequency and sophistication with time. The stakes are high, and so it’s high time for cybersecurity to climb up to the top of any startup’s priority list if it wishes to be successful and profitable.
- What can you do to ensure a secure perimeter in your company?
Cybersecurity is a vast and complex topic. Taking the first steps in establishing a secure infrastructure in a business setting can be daunting and overwhelming. But be not afraid — we’re here to help, and these five simple tips can be a starting point in your company’s security journey.
- Determine vulnerabilities
Any startup looking to take the first steps in its cybersecurity journey should start by assessing its IT systems. Understanding your infrastructure will allow you to evaluate potential vulnerabilities that could attract an attacker’s eye.
For starters, you can examine your data storage infrastructure and list who has access to it and whether there might be any entry points that might not be obvious at first. The process of determining vulnerabilities within an IT infrastructure will be different for every organization. Depending on the evaluation scale, you might consider outsourcing the whole project.
Once you’re done with the analysis and have a list of potential security vulnerabilities within your infrastructure, use the information to develop a comprehensive security strategy. Finally, remember to review your security strategy regularly as security threats are constantly evolving, and keeping up with that evolution is part of the whole cybersecurity game.
- Cybersecurity training for the team
Verizon’s 2022 Data Breaches Investigations Report found that up to 82% of data breaches involved a human error of some sort. With rapid advancements in security technologies, human error will more than likely remain the leading cause of data breaches and other cyber incidents. For that reason alone, cybersecurity training is quickly becoming a staple of today’s business.
Getting the entire team on the same page security-wise is one of the most important things you can do to develop your overall security strategy. Regular training sessions are another thing that can significantly reduce the chances of your organization falling victim to an attack. In an unfortunate case that your organization is hit with a cyberattack, employees with extensive cybersecurity training will know the drill and will likely maintain the potential damage to a minimum.
- Deploy a password manager
The Verizon report also notes that 80% of data breaches result from poor or reused passwords, which we can consider a human error. One of the best ways to not have your startup among the cited 80% of companies that experienced a breach due to lax password security is by deploying a password manager for company wide-use.
Password managers such as NordPass Business are quickly becoming a default tool in most modern-day organizations. Just think about it: on average, a person needs to remember about 100 passwords. Each of those passwords would be unique and complex in an ideal world. Unfortunately, that is not the case. A whole lot of people tend to reuse passwords.
A Yubico and Ponemon Institute study revealed that individuals reuse passwords across an average of 16 workplace accounts. At the same time, IT security respondents say they reuse passwords across an average of 12 workplace accounts. That same study cited 59% of IT security professionals reporting that their company relies on human memory to manage passwords. With the percentage of data breaches caused by human error and poor passwords, it should be evident that a corporate password management solution can significantly improve the company’s overall security posture.
Today’s password managers designed for corporate use come equipped with an encrypted vault where teams can safely store and access passwords whenever the need arises. Furthermore, password managers eliminate the need for notoriously insecure password spreadsheets and can even improve productivity within the organization.
With NordPass Business at hand, employees can focus on what matters instead of shuffling through credentials to access online accounts they need for work. NordPass Business allows users to automatically save new passwords whenever they create an account. They can also autofill login credentials and share them securely with their team members without having to worry about exposing sensitive data to suspicious third-parties. All of these features are designed with productivity and efficiency in mind.
For security officers within the company, NordPass Business offers an intuitive and effective way to manage all the users within the organization from a single place — the Admin Panel. Within the Admin Panel solution, Owners and Admins can easily add or remove members as well as grant certain access privileges depending on specific needs, which is great in a growing organization. New team members can get access to essential company data securely and quickly while any departing employees can be easily removed from the organization, which limits the chances of sensitive data leakage.
- Ensure network security
With remote work on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, network security has become incredibly prominent over the last few years. Unsurprisingly, the HP Wolf Security Blurred Lines & Blindspots Report found that there has been a 238% increase in global cyberattack volume during the pandemic.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure network security is by deploying a virtual private network (VPN) service within the organization. A VPN secures the network by encrypting the internet connection and the data transferred over the corporate network. These capabilities of a VPN service protect companies from third-party network intrusions that could eventually lead to an all-out data breach. A VPN also provides team members with a way to use their home Wi-Fi without compromising the company’s network and the data transferred over it.
- Keep your software updated
Today, most business operations rely on software, whether it’s to account for sales or to store data. Any software that you use should be regularly updated not only to make it more effective but also to ensure security. While most software updates add new functionalities and features or fix minor bugs, a software update’s most crucial aspect is usually security patches that eliminate potential vulnerabilities.
Sure, being interrupted by a notification prompting you to update an application can be annoying. But all it takes is a single missed update for bad actors to have an opening. Be sure to inform your team that software updates are critical to your overall security strategy and that they should be ready to install them whenever prompted.
- Security is the way to success
The current trend of cybercriminal activity suggests that attacks will only increase in frequency and will become more sophisticated in the future. Staying on top of all the cybersecurity trends can be daunting, but there’s no getting around it. Remember, these five simple yet effective tips should be treated as a starting point in your startup’s development of a robust security infrastructure. Take time to follow security trends and never stop improving your security practice. Fail to do so, and your way to success will be a rough one, to put it midly.
To help you ensure that your startup and sensitive information is being properly protected Startup Lithuania has partnered with NordPass – the password manager that helps your startup grow. Take advantage of the free NordPass business trial, get consultations with experts, a dedicated account manager, and other benefits. Find out more and claim the offer here.