You have worked hard to get your startup off the ground, and you think you have covered every detail. Most startup owners forget about the digital security of their businesses, and as a result, cyber-crimes have gone up considerably. The internet gave us the liberty to market our products and services worldwide at the click of a button.
Ransomware affects millions of startups, and it can cripple your business for good and force you to close down. Ransomware is malware that takes charge of your devices or network, encrypting all the data and making it impossible to access it. The cyber-criminals demand payment in cryptocurrency first before they give you the encryption key.
Phishing is probably the most common of all Internet scams and carried out via email. The victim receives an email that looks very authentic and from a legitimate source such as a supplier or bank. The email often contains an attachment with malicious code or a link that leads to a fake website. The fake website looks very real, with an authentic-looking logo and faultless language. The website proceeds to prompt the victim to divulge information like passwords and login details.
A single email gained access to thousands of DNC and Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016. The emails were seemingly from Google and looked authentic, asking the victims to change their passwords, letting the hackers in. Clinton’s campaign had high security, and the hackers managed to work around the security and steal 50,000 emails. As they say, the rest is history.
A data breach happens when a malicious actor gains access to your systems and wreaks havoc by leaking confidential business data. Data breaches have been the cause of the collapse of many startups. The loss of reputation followed by financial strain caused by lawsuits filed by affected clients is usually the last nail on the coffin.
How to protect your startup
You can use several strategies to secure your startup from the above risks, such as:
Install a VPN
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for system and device protection is one way of protecting your data. Installing a VPN router to secure all devices connected to the network ensures hackers cannot access your data. A VPN masks your location and IP address and encrypts your data, allowing you to browse anonymously and prevent anyone from reading your communication.
The process used in risk identification is known as risk assessment. It involves five steps:
- Threat identification
- Deciding who and what is at risk
- Threat evaluation and the solutions to opt for
- Recording of the solutions and updating them if you need to.
- Strong passwords
Using strong passwords is often ignored, but it is critical in securing your system. Do not use obvious passwords such as pet names or birth dates. A password should be at least twelve characters and include upper and lowercase letters and special symbols and numbers.
A strong password is crucial, and to make it more secure, the use of multifactor authentication comes into play. You can use biometric authentication such as fingerprint and retina scans together with the password. Another authentication method is to use a unique code that is sent to a trusted device.
Install malware software
Once you click on phishing links or download attachments, you allow malware into your system. Installing anti-malware software blocks all malware from embedding into your network or devices such as routers, computers, and mobiles.
Startups face a lot of risks, and mitigating them before they destroy your network is crucial for your business’ well-being. A startup cannot afford to pay clients hefty sums in lawsuits, so as cliché as this sounds, prevention is indeed better than cure.