The following is a guest post by Nick Rojas. Nick combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium businesses and a passion for journalism to help readers grow.
Technology and the internet afford modern conveniences that businesses did not possess many years ago. However, with those conveniences, there also comes a great many risks. For the budding startup, there may be a lot of things new to you and your team with regards to your business.
Coming into a new environment is always tricky in the workplace, but it can be especially tough for team members in a startup. Don’t let a cyber attack befall your company without putting up a fight. Here’s three of the most effective ways can protect your startup.
1. Take Precautions Against Hardware Theft
Many small and large companies alike have been undone by a team member misplacing their smartphone or laptop and having it used against them. The theft can occur anywhere at any time, even if you maintain vigilant watch on your devices. The best measures are to prepare for the worst with data theft.
Keeping passwords and pin codes on your work devices is a good way to ensure data theft won’t be easy should the worst happen. You should also encrypt your files so that even if your data does get accessed, it won’t be able to easily harm you or your company.
2. Dealing with Spearphising and Phishing Tactics
Most everyone can recognize a spammy and suspicious email. Clients like Gmail even go one step further and pre-screen your messages for your, eliminating common attacks that you would never fall for. Unfortunately, spearphishing is a technique used to hook the more savvy victims.
Spearphishing typically involves approaching the head of a company with a legitimate sounding opportunity based on a series of back and forth emails. It can be difficult to figure out whether something is authentic or not, especially when you’re a new startup. Every new email could be a missed opportunity, especially if you’re trying to advance your company’s standing.
Even if you happen to train every member of your team to be on the lookout for these attacks, cyber thieves are constantly improving their tactics. The best way to safeguard against them is to assume the worst and prepare for it. Enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a good deterrent to having private information gleaned from phishing attacks. Because 2FA requires both your phone and your email to access your account, even if your information is compromised it’s far more difficult for attackers.
3. Keep All Software and Anti-virus Tools Updated
Malware, ransomware and 0day vulnerabilities are part of a never ending wave of cyber attacks that everyone who uses the internet has to deal with. However when it comes to your personal and company data, the best prevention method is to keep things up to date.
Operating systems and software like Microsoft Windows are constantly being updated to limit the damage hackers and cyber thieves can do to your machines. As a startup with sensitive information, it should be your number one priority to ensure that all your software is current. This includes your anti-virus suite as well. While it’s now easier than ever thanks to AV tools reminding you to update your libraries, you need to make sure every machine on your network is kept current as well.
We take our computers and smartphones for granted so often that we forget that they can become a risk when not properly accounted for. Startups and businesses that deal with technology on a daily basis bear more risks than anyone else to malicious cyber attacks. It’s important to keep this in mind and prepare accordingly.