As a startup, you likely have a list of essential business tasks that you have to do like marketing, hiring employees and product delivery. Security can often be an afterthought.
For most startups and small businesses, security is a bit like getting in shape. You know what you need to do - but you don't do anything about it until it's too late or in the case of the startup - you have a security breach.
Security is especially important for startups that have access to sensitive information about individual customers like their credit card details.
A breach in security not only endangers the internal network of your startup, it can also put your customers' data in jeopardy.
Fortunately, this does not have to be the case. With these five easy and actionable tips, you can secure your startup cheaply, easily and effectively.
1. Control access to sensitive data:
Protecting customer data is smart business. Customers lose trust in companies that don't protect their personal data, and untrustworthy businesses lose money.
An effective way to guard your startup business is to restrict the number of people that can access sensitive customer data.
One way to do this is in to install the 2-factor authentication password log-in so that only authorized employees or team members can access certain files.
You also need to know where your customer data goes and who has access to it once it leaves your network so that in the event of a data leak, you can easily track it down to the source of the leak.
2. Move your critical business data to the cloud:
If your critical business data include a database of customer information, social security numbers, credit card information or home addresses, then the traditional approach of relying on anti-virus, firewall and anti-spam software tools might not be too great as a security measure.
This is because hackers and malware have become really good at tricking you into clicking the wrong thing, thereby releasing all kinds of worms, viruses and malware into your business network and stealing critical business data.
3. Install security cameras around your business premises:
While most startups operate virtually i.e. on the internet, some startups have a physical building such as homes, offices or warehouses.
Installing security cameras around your business premises is an effective way to guard your startup.
As a security measure, you can install security cameras as a precaution against shoplifters and to identify individuals as they move through high-security areas.
Whether protecting business assets such as a room full of expensive chip-making machines or laptops full of product specifications, a good security camera installed around your startup building can record the comings and goings of your staff and it can alert you or your security staff if unauthorized people enter the office during off hours.
4. Create a security-conscious workplace:
As your startup attempt to grow in today's technology-driven world, one of the top issues that you as a startup owner must confront and continue to address is security.
With the virtual workplace of most startups and the blurring of lines between business and personal devices, employees at your startup can unknowingly introduce risk to your startup by simply syncing data across their devices or when working with others outside their organization.
With this fact in mind, it is therefore important for your startup to establish data security policies that include guidelines for sharing and accessing files in your startup.
Train your team to avoid doing simple things that leave them vulnerable to cyber-attacks and to use prudent cyber practices like utilizing only trusted Wi-Fi networks, using strong passwords and never leaving their devices where anyone can access it.
Training your team members on the do's and don'ts can go a long way into protecting sensitive data.
5. Perform background checks on your employees:
Your employees can be your best assets or your worst enemies. So hire carefully, check references and make sure your new hires know the security policy of your business before they start work.
Have a policy in place that screens potential hires because as employees of your company, they would be privy to sensitive company information.
Performing background checks on your employees will reduce the vulnerability of your startup to insider thefts, fraud, embezzlement and moles in your startup.
In conclusion, be proactive. Encrypt sensitive business information. Protect everything, secure everything. Don't wait for the breach to happen. Put effective systems in place to guard your startup. Security is a habit; a discipline.
For startups, encrypting or shredding data is never going to be as much fun as building an app or designing a website, but it is a necessary chore. Whether your startup is storing sensitive data or not, it is always best to have a security plan in place.
Think few steps ahead and determine additional layers of security that will need to be established.