How to Protect Your Startup Against Hackers

With the recent pandemic limiting operations in brick and mortar locations, businesses have no choice but to bring their products and services online. According to Datanyze, a sales pipeline firm, there was an almost 50 percent increase in new paying subscribers for the popular web hosting site GoDaddy from February to April of last year. It’s Many business owners now have to change the way they handle their inventory and accept their payments on the web.

For those in retail, food, and other industries, dealing with logistics companies to deliver products to customers is also a new experience. If you’re running a startup, these operational challenges for opening an online business are just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Online Attacks: A Startup’s Biggest Fear

One of the biggest difficulties you’ll experience when running your startup is the threat of online attacks. About 43 percent of hackers target small businesses like yours, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations report. One of the authors of the paper stated that as businesses start to digitize their work, many don’t realize the security risks that they may be exposed to. This lack of preparedness is what attackers capitalize on.

Over 69 percent of these breaches were perpetrated by people who don’t have any affiliation with the company. About 39 percent were done by organized crime syndicates. Nation or state-affiliated actors were responsible for 23 percent of the attacks. Thirty-four percent of incidents, on the other hand, involved people from inside the company.

An attack can bring your thriving company to its knees, too. According to a study by insurance carrier Hiscox, a single cyber attack can cost a business an average of $200,000, regardless of size. As such, a lot of startups hit by hackers go out of business within half a year.

If you want to have a startup that’s successful both online and offline, you need to keep your digital assets secure.

Here are different methods to improve your cybersecurity.

 

Put Up Fundamental Defenses

If you’re going to connect your business to the internet, you need to set the fundamental defenses up. There is a variety of software and hardware that help in preventing digital threats before they do any real damage to your system. Some network security services, like Fortinet Cloud NGFW, offer all of these in one convenient solution.

  • Antivirus – Computer viruses and malicious software can easily tap into your system when you click on an infected link or run an infected program. These often come from fake websites that hackers set up to bait people into interacting with. There are many great antiviruses and antimalware programs out there that catch and quarantine viruses before they can attack your system. They’re mostly free, but you have to pay if you want access to more premium features.
  • Firewall – A firewall is a piece of hardware or software that constantly observes and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic. They have preprogrammed security rules that prevent certain actions from executing and unwanted visitors from snooping around your network.
  • SSL Encryption – Encryption, in digital terms, scrambles the data you send and receive through the internet. The data is decrypted only by the users authorized to receive them. This ensures that hackers won’t be able to read what you’re sending and receiving. It’ll just be a bunch of jumbled letters and numbers to them. Employee portals, like Disney Hub, use encryption to keep their workers’ data safe. Secure Sockets Layer is one of the strongest encryption standards you can use on your website. It encrypts the link between your web server and the browsers that your customers or clients use.

 

Create Secure Passwords

Another way that hackers gain access to your network is simply by guessing your company’s passwords. According to NordPass, the most common password of last year was “123456” with over 2,543,285 million users using it. If yours is as simple as this, it’ll take a hacker less than a second to crack it. They’ll either guess it themselves or use a specialized program to guess it through trial and error.

Make sure you and your employees are using strong passwords that attackers can’t guess outright. Your codes should be at least 12 characters long with a mix of lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Put a policy in place to change these every three months.

 

Use Modern Authentication Methods

Even if everyone in your company already has strong passwords for their corporate accounts, you should still do all you can to make it hard for attackers to access your system. Add another layer of security to your system using another authentication method. This can come in the form of a one-time PIN sent through SMS or email or device biometrics. This way, hackers won’t be able to access your system without physically having the devices that you and your employees own.

Building a startup from the ground up is already hard enough. Apart from chasing investors and providing products and services to customers, you also have to address cybersecurity. Use these methods to keep your company’s network secure. And you can rest easy knowing your customer data and business assets are safely kept within your system.

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