As a start up, you have a million things to think about. It’s a very exciting yet challenging time and it’s a real test of a business owners multi-tasking abilities. It’s also one of the times when your business is most at risk. Start ups very rarely have cyber security and data protection at their hearts from day 1. The awareness of that tends to come later and is implemented once the business has found its feet and is up and running. But as your business takes its first tentative steps, it’s incredibly vulnerable to attack, so it’s important to take some steps to make sure your business is protected in these early days. To help, we have 4 cyber security tips for start ups that can keep your business and your data safe, no matter your budget.
Implement Information Security Processes
When you’re first starting up, there are a lot of things going on. Keeping track of how everything works and where all of your data goes can be tricky, but it’s essential if you want to create a solid, secure foundation for your business information security. We recommend having some form of information security program in place. This should cover the basic practices your business has, to protect data and manage information. Think of it like planning for a road trip – you don’t need a detailed list of every single activity, but an overview of your general direction and destinations along the way is useful. This helps you keep track of everything, identify key risk points that need more protection, and will be very useful when you start to scale your business.
Ensure Proper Password Management
Passwords, passwords, passwords! The bane of many people’s lives, especially if you’re not great at remembering them. If this is you, you might be tempted to use the same password for everything, to save the hassle of resetting things when you forget. However this is one of the worst things you can do; once a hacker has that one password, they have access to everything. Hackers are looking for the easy way in, so using the same password in multiple places makes you a very good target. You might as well hand them the keys to your business. Instead, get yourself a unique and complex password for everything that needs one. If you can’t remember them, don’t try to get around it by storing them on spreadsheets or on post-it’s by your desk. Instead, try using a specialised password management tool like LastPass, Bogmar or Dashlane, most of which are free to use. It’s a simple, easy step that can potentially save your business.
Educate Your Team
No matter what size your business, one of your biggest weaknesses when it comes to cyber security is always your people. People can be tricked and manipulated, or they can simply be forgetful. Since this is one of your biggest risk points, you need to make sure your employees are all educated on the risks, the warning signs and their part in the protection of the business. Now, if you’re a one-man band, that might just mean you need to learn the essentials yourself. But if you have anyone else involved in the running of your business, no matter how minor their role, you need to make sure they are educated and alert. Your employees can then become one of your first lines of defence.
Install Security Patches
This is one of the most basic tenets of good cyber security, yet it’s the thing people either forget to do, or actively avoid doing. Many people worry that installing patches and updates to software will slow things down (which hasn’t been helped by the whole Apple incident), but in reality, patches and updates are an essential part of your cyber security, and shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored. Having an unpatched machine is one of the easiest ways for hackers to break in, and is the digital equivalent of holding up a big neon sign saying ‘free data here’. No matter what the program, always make sure you are running the most up-to-date version, with all patches installed.
Of course, these are just a few of the simplest and low-cost methods for protecting your business, while it gets off the ground. As you develop and grow, you will need more sophisticated processes and protections in place to ward off determined hackers who see SME’s, large businesses and corporates as a good target for data theft and fraud. That’s where Bridewell Consulting can help. We can provide cyber security audits, pen testing and full cyber security solutions to keep your business protected 24/7. If you would like to know more about how we help businesses secure their data, and keep it safe from hackers, just get in touch with the team at Bridewell Consulting today.