The boom in technology is driving change in the business world. Startups, in particular, have been able to utilise technology to become leaner and more efficient, allowing them to grow. However as tech becomes more advanced and more integrated into businesses, this has brought with it an increased threat. Furthermore, GDPR has brought increased regulation on the way businesses deal with data, additionally resulting in greater possible repercussions if these are breached.
This article will give you the best ways to keep your startup safe online, and what your business should be doing to avoid both malicious and unintentional threats to digital security.
1. Use strong passwords and a password manager
Businesses Advances in computer power have meant that businesses need to go beyond just using passwords that are hard for humans to guess, and instead now think about what would be hard for a computer to work out. A common misconception is that adding a number or symbol will make a password immediately strong. It is better to use long passwords made up of four random words with spaces in-between each word.
You must also ensure employees understand the importance of keeping passwords secure. Physically noting down your password will seriously undermine the confidentiality of your business’ data. A much safer solution is to use a secure password manager.
Lastly, the golden rules of not re-using passwords and changing them regularly still stand firm. Passwords are one of the most significant points of cybersecurity for businesses, and although they may be seen as a nuisance, they should never be undervalued in their importance.
2. Apply a firewall
Close your business’ backdoor to malware! A firewall enforces set rules about what information is allowed to enter or leave your business’ private network or computer system.
There are two types of firewall: a hardware firewall and a software firewall. A hardware firewall sits between your computer and the internet. A software firewall sits between your computer and the network. It is always better to have both types of firewall, as although they overlap in specific areas, both types also have unique areas of added protection. Your router automatically acts as a hardware firewall, and a software firewall can be activated by changing your computer settings.
3. Install antivirus software
This will both protect from and remove software viruses. A computer without anti-virus software installed will now be infected within minutes of connecting to the internet. Nowadays most computers have antivirus software already built-in.
For the sake of your business’ online security dedicated anti-virus software should always be additionally installed to provide a broader range of features of how your system is protected. Always remember to keep your security software up to date, there are currently around 60,000 new pieces of malware created daily.
4. Ensure that sensitive data is encrypted
This includes encrypting sensitive data when it is both being transferred and not. Encryption means that people are not able to access sensitive data without your consent. This is becoming increasingly important as data is becoming more and more digitised. It is important to remember that data that is stored on a USB drive should also be encrypted.
Many businesses don’t realise how easily deleted files can be retrieved with off-the-shelf recovery software from USB drives. Restoring previously encrypted data is far more difficult because it requires the original credentials or even a copy of the decryption key. Start-ups should also be aware that specific data must be encrypted under legislation.
5. Make sure you store data safely and in the cloud
Ensure that it remains private and is not damaged or lost. There are now multiple options for how to store data, ranging from the cloud to on-site storage. There are notable benefits of using cloud storage, it is often cheaper and safer, and insurance companies are beginning to offer lower premiums for businesses that use off-site storage.
Whatever data storage method you choose, ensure that you implement a security strategy and that you regularly back up your data in a different, secure location. Like any form of insurance, It will be significantly cheaper to ensure that your data is stored securely with the proper fail-safes, than to wait for something to go wrong.