4 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses and Startups: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Business in 2018

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

As technology evolves with cloud computing and the internet of things (IoT), the risk of a data breach also rises. As businesses depend on critical (and often sensitive) data to function, it’s vital to always be prepared and vigilant to keep your IT infrastructure secure.

This can be a huge challenge for small businesses and startups with limited resources, but they just can’t afford to be complacent. This is because while the headlines may have focused on major corporations like Equifax, Uber, and Yahoo, bad actors don’t discriminate.

In fact, last year’s ransomware attacks like WannaCry and NotPetya reaffirmed that we’re all targets. This makes it important for organizations of all sizes to be focused on their cybersecurity posture, processes, and procedures to try and stay one step ahead.

But how do you achieve this? Here are four tips that can help you avert a major data breach.

1. Develop a Detailed Risk Profile

Protecting your business starts with conducting a security audit. If you don’t have cybersecurity professionals in-house to do a thorough security assessment, enlist a reputable third-party to get the job done.

It’s vital to engage in this activity as a security audit will help you identify risks and formulate a highly detailed risk profile. This approach will also help you develop policies and best practices to safeguard your precious digital assets and data.

Creating a risk profile based on your security assessment will also enable you to allocate an appropriate budget to keep your business protected. This isn’t going to be easy if you’re working with limited resources, but small business owners need to understand that securing your IT infrastructure is paramount to staying relevant.

One of the best ways to manage tricky risk ratios is to evaluate each potential security solution based on the three pillars of the security model. This means that your security solution should be able to efficiently do the following:

  • Protect a user’s identity
  • Secure digital assets
  • Secure any runtime privileges

2. Engage in Regular (Mandatory) Training Activities

Whenever I write about cybersecurity, employee training always comes up as one of the critical components of keeping businesses secure. This is because it’s key to keeping your startup protected from bad actors.

While hacking techniques have evolved significantly and become highly complex, the human element still plays a massive role in helping them breach your internal systems. So it’s important to keep engaging in regular training programs to educate staff about the following:

  • The changing cybersecurity environment
  • Phishing and spear phishing techniques (and attacks)
  • The seriousness of creating strong passwords
  • The importance of keeping software up to date

If you’re leveraging IoT technologies, it’s critical to immediately update default passwords. If you haven’t done this already, do it now!

3. Devise a Robust Incident Response Plan

No matter what you do to build a digital fortress, you have to acknowledge the unavoidable.

What does that mean?

Ask any cyber security professional and they will tell you that data breaches can always happen and they will probably happen sooner rather than later.

This means that you have to develop an incident response plan based on the findings of your security audit. Once all internal technology is brought up to date and employees have been properly trained, an incident response team will have to be put together.

The team should be comprised of individuals with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This means formulating basic rules and instructions in advance to rapidly respond to an active incident (and minimize damage).

This approach can also help minimize downtime and ensure business continuity. As data will be critical for (almost) all online gambling businesses going forward, keeping it secure should be at the core of your overall management strategy.

When you devise a robust incident response plan, it will be critical to do the following:

  • Make sure that everyone understands their assigned roles (and responsibilities)
  • Identify key performance indicators to measure an event
  • Actively engage in testing

4. Stay Proactive (...Always)

Even if you haven’t experienced a data breach, you will need to take steps to keep your incident response plan fresh. So whenever you perform a regular security assessment to identify risks, make sure that you also review the plan.

Going forward, cybersecurity will be vital to maintaining business continuity and brand value. So if you have the resources to constantly engage in this activity, it will be worthwhile to do it.

Whenever your business is cash-strapped, hiring an external firm will be the best option as you can gain access to a someone like a Chief Information Security Officer without the salary and benefit packages that go with the role.

Does your business require a security audit to identify risks? We can help! Reach out to Digi117 now!