When startups are most vulnerable to cyberattacks

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Devin Partida is a small business and startup writer. Apart from StartupNation, his work has been recognized as Entrepreneur, AOL, Yahoo! Finance and Business2Community. You can learn more about Devin on his personal website. Latest post by Devin Partida (view all)

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The last thing you want to think about when starting a small business is a breach of your proprietary data and financial account information. Cybercrime is a big deal. Malicious apps and online payment fraud cost companies $1.79 million every minute.

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Although financial losses are not the only headache, such cyber security breaches cost small enterprises. They can sometimes even suffer irreparable damage to their reputation. While large businesses have brand recognition and pressure to recover, not all smaller companies can.

Therefore, securing their network is essential for small-business owners. It’s not an afterthought closing expense, hopefully you can at least skate until you generate more income.

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You still need the most cost-effective approach, including understanding your weaknesses. Here is the time when startups are most susceptible to cyberattacks.

when setting up the network

It should come as no surprise that cybercriminals attack when setting up your business network. They understand that it takes time to install antimalware software on each device and train their employees on the correct procedures.

Before loading proprietary data and personally identifiable client information into your system, you must attempt to reach SOC 2 compliance. These service organizational control reports ensure that you correctly store, transmit, process, maintain and dispose of data in alignment with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) guidelines. Getting a great report reassures customers that you’ll treat their data with the highest respect, which inspires trust.

How can you set up a secure network that follows SOC 2 principles? It helps to understand the important defense terminology and the layers of protection required:

Firewalls: These isolate one network from another. They come in hardware and software models, some working as standalone devices such as routers or servers. Intrusion Detection Systems: These detect hackers or malicious software on the network so that you can take immediate action to prevent a breach and prevent similar intrusions in the future. Proxy servers: These act as interlocutors for client software to request information from other servers. Network access controls: These limit network access to only endpoint devices that comply with your security protocols, such as company-issued laptops. Web and Spam Filters: These prevent users from accessing potentially risky websites or opening emails containing phishing attacks.

Your best bet is to hire a qualified computer security specialist to set up your network. Brainstorm important aspects of your policy and write your cyber security plan before you install your system, as making changes later can lead to headaches and problems with non-compliance.

What can small businesses do to thwart the top 5 cyber security threats?

when hiring new employees

A business is only as secure as the number of employees it hires. You can have the most secure network you can, but the wrong person can still cause considerable harm if you fail to conduct proper pre-hire screening.

When conducting a background check, please ensure that you use third-party providers that are legally compliant. Otherwise, you risk exposing their Social Security numbers and other personal information to potential staff members. These don’t come for free, so save this step until you’re offered a casual job based on successful completion of the screening.

What should you look for? Use your common sense, but recent crimes related to financial matters are obvious red flags. In contrast, the cannabis exposure that occurred before the change in laws 20 years ago is not necessarily a cause for concern. If you feel unsure, it’s okay to contact the candidate and ask follow-up questions.

When collecting and sending data

Hiring the best people matters because breaches don’t just happen through computer and cellphone access. Suppose you run an accounting firm. Your customers routinely volunteer sensitive information that your staff members can write down in a hurry. Do they understand that they should immediately break such documents?

The world has become virtual, and it’s never too early for the environment. However, meeting customers through Zoom also opens up the possibility of data breaches. To prevent spies from entering, please limit who you distribute access codes to and use the green room or waiting room to prevent participants from entering before the host starts.

Also, train your employees to disable virtual-assistant features on their phones before going to meetings where they can discuss sensitive information. Plus, it’s embarrassing that Siri doesn’t respond to your client’s response to “Could you please rephrase this?”

when on the road

Staff training is essential, especially if your team travels off-site. Install VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) on work-continuing computers and require contractors to use them when working in transit. Hotel Wi-Fi networks are completely open, making them vulnerable to spying from others in the same facility.

However, shrewd thieves don’t even need the room key to listen in on the conversation or look over their shoulder while typing on their tablet. Restrict customer practices such as filling out benefits forms at coffee shops where passersby can hear spoken credit card or social security numbers or copy this sensitive information from their screens.

Anti-glare screen protectors cost a lot less, but they do a great job of preventing spying, as you only see blanks if you’re not at the exact angle. Plus, they make it possible for your employees to work out without glaringly causing a screaming migraine—a nice little benefit.

When going through mergers and acquisitions

Your young company started showing such great results that a large enterprise decided they wanted to buy in and expand your operations. Congratulations! But beware of cyberattacks.

Startups are susceptible to cyberattacks during mergers and acquisitions. Criminals obtain non-publicly available information which they use to extort victims and get them to comply with ransom demands. For example, they may threaten to release proprietary data that could affect a company’s stock price.

When allowing outside visitors

Lastly, your startup’s data is susceptible to cyberattacks from outside visitors. It is important to establish building entrances and exits. Doing so protects your information and that of employees in an age when mass shootings have become an American tradition.

Consider setting up a keyless entry system and only allow a select number of individuals to know the code. A video camera is also a must. They can help the police identify a thief in the event of a burglary, if nothing else. Remember those cheap anti-glare screens? They can protect data from prying eyes – essential if you see frequent visitor traffic.

When startups are vulnerable to cyberattacks

Cyber ​​attacks cost businesses millions of dollars every minute. A breach can have a huge financial impact and cause irreparable damage to your reputation. Stop them before they strike. It helps to understand when startups are most susceptible to cyberattacks. By addressing the vulnerabilities listed above, you can protect your client data and your bottom line.

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