Every organization, big or small, should build cyber security policies based on best practices to maintain data and applications secure.
If you are building an innovative startup, you will start to generate some capital. Then, out of nowhere, you might face a major privacy breach. In a matter of a few seconds, everything you have done, planned, and hustled can be destroyed.
It won’t be new to hear that organizations of all sizes and stages should take their cyber security seriously.
But protecting data when an organization is still in the startup stage can be quite difficult.
Not everyone in your startup may understand the importance of a cybersecurity policy or what types of information need to be protected. For the same reason, many criminals prefer to target startups and small organizations.
Many new startups don’t even start building cybersecurity until after a breach has happened. Neglecting proper precautions can have tremendous capital consequences.
Research shows the average cost of a data breach in 2019, reaching $200,000, with small businesses usually losing around $9,000 per reported event.
Considering that a 2020 information breach report found that the average information breach takes nearly 280 days to detect, having the right policies and controls in the right place to avoid these incidents.
How Do Cybercriminals Target Small Startups and Small Businesses?
- Third-Party Vulnerabilities
- Lack of Finances
- Multiple Interfaces
- Proprietary Data
- Customer Information
Cybersecurity Policy for Small startups and Small Organizations.
Big or small, every organization should build cybersecurity based on the best implementations to maintain information and applications securely. The right cybersecurity policy should emphasize a few key things:
Train Your People from the Very Beginning.
Make sure you train and educate your staff right from the beginning. The moment you begin information protection, start training your workers as well.
As employees are hired, conduct cybersecurity policy seminars to know how things are done.
Whenever it is essential, allow your employees to come to you for help and make sure that you regularly go over the cybersecurity strategy with your staff so they always keep it top of mind.
Don’t allow your organization’s cybersecurity to be a one-time occasion.
Prepare a Formal Data Security Plan.
You should have someone trustworthy to access which data and develop strategies to guard this access.
Nobody should have more access than they need when it comes to an organization’s integrity and security.
If workers bring their digital equipment to the office, ensure that those devices have the latest software updates. That may also include various types of facial recognition, fingerprints, and multi-factor biometric authentication.
Evaluate your strategy regularly, and update as new departments grow and more people join the organization.
Take Extra Care with Your Employee & Business Information.
One of the essential security principles is that the fewer digital copies you make of your private information, the more secure that information will be.
However, this can prove to be difficult in practice. For instance, many workers from various departments need access to the same data.
Or, they access the data with office workstations and with their devices. If one of your workers experiences a breach, they have all the reasons to sue you for an information breach.
Not only that but if your workers need to share files or outside the department, they may use third-party applications that aren’t safe and don’t have encryption.
Better than bashing your brains and coming up with multiple plans for every emergency, implementing a detailed document security platform can determine whether those documents can be downloaded ahead of time.
You can use business VPNs for conducting work in your company’s internal network.
Make Plans for Personal Cell Phones and Other Devices.
Mobile equipment, such as smartphones or tablets, have become extensions of our daily lives.
A few years back, workers rarely used their phones at the office, but those days are long gone since our smartphone apps are capable of almost everything.
Compromising workers’ devices is the easiest way to gain access to an organization’s network and wreak all kinds of havoc.
To avoid chaos, make sure you include the “BYOD” guidelines in your organization’s cybersecurity policy.
Cybersecurity Policy Template You Should Consider.
A good cybersecurity policy needs to consider several specific parts. While every small startup or organization is different, some information security practices are particularly relevant to small startups and should be included in every cybersecurity plan.
Network Security Policies
The right plans at the right place should detail good server, database, and firewall configurations and how the arrangement of IP addresses and remote access should be handled.
It should also specify who has bureaucratic credentials and what process they should follow to make changes in the network.
Categorize Your Data
Your organization data should be categorized according to how it’s used, where it’s stored, and who has access to it.
Smart categorization makes it easier to conduct authorization and determine what security measures are essential for each type of information.
Scanning for Vulnerabilities
A vulnerable organization’s network can only cause a wide range of problems. Cybercriminals are frequently scanning and studying a database of any weaknesses.
A good cybersecurity policy must outline steps for anticipated vulnerabilities that reassess the state of the network.
The Response to Incidents
Organizations need to develop a plan for responding to any cybersecurity occasion. Whenever a data breach occurs, the company must take immediate action to assess how badly security was compromised, remediate the situation, and then perform analysis to understand how the attacks were completed and how to avoid similar attacks in the future.
Security upgrades and patches are designed to prevent further threats by terminating vulnerabilities and closing gaps. A steady cybersecurity policy should provide a process describing how and when patches should be implemented in the system. When businesses fail to hold their updates and patches current, they expose themselves to common and easily avertable threats.
Define the rules for handling Customer data
The rules for handling sensitive customer information should be drafted and put into strict practice. An appropriate fine should be given for any violation of the rules and regulations.
Implement an Incident reporting mechanism
A good incident reporting mechanism needs to be implemented and integrated by the small startups.
This would establish that all attacks and incidents are disclosed to the operations security team, and requisite security parts are proactively undertaken to prevent any breach.
Make security a habit: Security parts like 2-factor authentication, regular software updates, firewall protection should be made a habit.
Restrict employee access to data
Employee access to data should be limited. Their authority to install and uninstall software applications without approval should also be barred.
Create a mobile device action plan
The use of mobile devices has penetrated every aspect of our life. Most of the workers use their mobile devices for official work, and these devices can create significant security challenges as they contain sensitive corporate data.
A mobile device action plan mandating the workers to encrypt their data, use strong passwords, install security applications, limit activity over public Wi-Fi should be implemented.
Keep a backup of sensitive data
This security measure is essential for any serious organization about protecting its data from threat actors.
A backup of data will also help if ransomware affects the organization’s server and system.
Create a Threat Intelligence Platform
A threat intelligence platform is the best security measure that small organizations can undertake. This is important not only from the security perspective but also from costs.
A centralized threat intelligence platform for many companies would mean economies of scale and reduced capital.
Lead by example
Cyber security needs to reach the founders’ mailbox and not be left behind with the technology groups. Unless the organizers don’t show the way, it is difficult for workers to follow.
It is now well recognized that workers are the biggest cyber threats. They are the extended endpoints, and most of the attacks nowadays are not targeted against the susceptibility in the system but the lack of awareness in the workers.
Therefore, small organizations and startups need to enforce strict internal security policies and guidelines to ensure their data is protected.
Develop a proper cyber security culture
The workers should be educated in security principles. They should be able to differentiate fake emails from authentic ones.
Every organization should build a security culture based on best practices and policies like strong passwords and internet usage guidelines.
The workers should not use unprotected networks to log in to the company server. Neither should they install any unsigned third-party applications on their smartphones if they use that for official work.
It is beyond any doubt that small organizations and startups need to improve their cyber security system.
The small startups have a mutually improving virtuous cycle with cyber security. Good cyber security means fewer breaches, which means sustained client faith, improved credibility, and brand value.
However, if the same is ignored, the relation can also become a mutually increasing vicious cycle. A cyber-attack leading to the disclosure of sensitive customer data can cause brand deterioration, credibility erosion, and emaciated customer faith.