A lot of small business owners make the mistake of thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’ when it comes to cyber security breaches. We often have a tendency to assume that cyber attacks only happen to big organisations and conglomerates. However, this is certainly not the case – breaches have been experienced by those who have just set up a business as well as the well-established companies.
Everyone is at risk of a cyber attack so no matter how big or small your business is, it is vital to establish an effective and sophisticated security framework. You may think that it is not in your budget to invest in cyber security, but the cost you will suffer, both financially, and in terms of reputation if you are the victim of a cyber attack will be much, much greater.
In fact, this is something a lot of start-ups cannot survive. Digital security should be a fundamental part of any business plan for a new venture. Keeping that in mind, continue reading our business blog for some top tips on effective cyber security for start-ups.
First and foremost, one of the most important things you need to do is make sure you encrypt data. Failure to do this will make your data relatively easy to access. Encryption should be seen as necessity for literally everything from personal information, to account details, to customer orders. Whilst the more sophisticated hackers may be able to get through encryption mechanisms, you are making yourself a target if you do not encrypt your data and thus this should certainly be a starting point when it comes to your security strategy.
Store Minimal Customer Data
A lot of businesses store an extensive amount of customer data without giving it a second thought. However, you need to remember that if you are going to collect it then you must also protect it and that also means when you dispose of any electronic equipment you absolutely must ensure a professional hard drive wipe is carried out. As a start-up it is unlikely that you will have the time and resources to invest in protecting huge amount of customer data. Therefore, minimise the data you store in order to combat this problem.
Set Up Software Protection
In addition to the points that have already been mentioned, all companies need to have firewall software, anti-virus software and anti-malware software as a standard. This will protect your business from outside access as much as possible. Do you really want to run the risk of one of your employees opening a dodgy email and that one little action leading to an outsider having access to your network? With software protection in place you minimise the chances of this happening substantially. Don’t merely install the software and then forget about it. You will need to run regular checks and update the software whenever required.
All employees should be educated about IT security and the role they play when it comes to protecting your business. They need information on how to step up a strong password, how they should and shouldn’t use company credentials and so on. You should also make an effort to monitor your employees’ actions to guarantee they are following the policies you have put in place.
Choose Vendors Carefully
Last but not least, a lot of security breaches occur through third parties and therefore you need to assess your supply chain with a considerable amount of care. Make sure all vendors are trustworthy and have a good reputation.