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Top Strategies To Secure Your Startup

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Many startups do not consider cybersecurity a priority, which is a potential danger. A study revealed that a small fraction of small businesses are willing to address the issue of cybersecurity.

In the past ten years, cyber threats have increased significantly and become more sophisticated. It is impossible to come up with business strategies without coming up with cybersecurity strategies.

Before you formulate cybersecurity strategies, here are some of the cyber threats facing new businesses:

Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most prevalent threats, both in new and well-established companies. In this type of attack, and as the name suggests, cybercriminals hold your data, devices, computers, or servers at ransom by encrypting data. The encryption ensures you cannot access your data without the key hackers give you after paying a ransom in Bitcoin.

An example is the Petya ransomware, which grows through phishing emails when a user downloads an infected email attachment. Petya encrypts and overwrites your files in over a hundred extensions. The ransomware encrypts the master boot record and hijacks your computer’s loading process in the following system reboot. After the reboot, you will get a ransom notification that demands $300 paid via Bitcoin.

Phishing

Phishing is one of the oldest scams, and hackers manage to dupe people every year. Phishing attacks involve the sending of fraudulent emails to target victims, purporting to be from trusted sources. These emails come with attachments or links, which redirect you to a fake website once you click on them. The phoney website proceeds to ask for sensitive information such as username and passwords, which may then be used to hack into your other accounts.

Cryptojacking

Cryptocurrencies have been booming in the late 2000s. Many businesses joined the bandwagon despite the general financial concerns. A recent report revealed that Cryptojacking has affected 59% of businesses in the UK. Cryptojacking is difficult to track and trace, making it a favourite for hackers.

How to secure your startup

You have to find ways to secure your startup from cyber threats. Some of these include:

Installing a VPN

You can ensure security by downloading a VPN app from a trustworthy provider. A VPN protects you from ransomware and other malware by hiding your IP address. The service also encrypts all your communication and ensures nobody can read your data. Some businesses also use a VPN router to secure all connected devices in the office.

Strong passwords

Using strong passwords is one of the oldest rules in the book. A strong password is one that you can easily remember, but no one can guess. The password should also include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Using apparent passwords such as names of pets or children and birth dates makes it easier for a hacker to compromise your system.

Use multifactor authentication

Alongside strong passwords, multi-factor authentication works very well. Use a password and have a second code sent to a second trusted device. This makes it harder for a hacker to hack your system. You can also use a password and biometric authentication, such as a retina scan, which cannot be replicated.

Educate your employees

Educating your employees on how to spot phishing scams and how to avoid cyber threats generally is critical to your startup’s well-being. Ask them to be wary of downloads and suspicious links that may turn out to be viruses.

Update software

Ensure you update all your computer software as well as your hardware. Using outdated plugins make you an easy target for cybercriminals. If you use an IT service provider, ask them to ensure all your servers are up to date.

Install anti-malware and anti-virus software

Install anti-malware and anti-virus software to fight against malware and viruses. Anti-malware software is more specific and keeps ransomware and Trojans at bay. Anti-virus software offers more generalized protection against viruses.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity should be made a priority for your startup. Hackers use very sophisticated methods to crack your passwords and inject malware into your system. Phishing is especially prevalent, as most people think nothing about clicking on a seemingly innocent link. The not-so-innocent link or attachment is usually a front for something more sinister.

Cybercrimes can quickly bring your business down, primarily if your data is held at ransom by the attackers. You are at the attacker’s mercy, and you can only hope that they will release the data one you pay for. If the attackers decide to leak your client and business data, you could easily face potential lawsuits from clients. To be on the safe end, use these and other measures to ensure you mitigate these crimes before they happen.

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Sean Jacobson

I'm Sean, a former HR and business consultant providing you insights into the business world for Leader to Leader.

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