A Cybersecurity Guide for Startups and Small Businesses


Some big technology firms like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter have experienced cybersecurity breaches. Even companies that do not focus on tech like Target and FedEx have had their data intruded upon by cybercriminals. Week in, week out, we hear of different data breaches that have affected various businesses.

As a startup owner or manager, you might tend to feel safe, assuming these cyber-attacks target only big businesses. You may be shocked to know that hackers see small and medium-sized businesses as better focal points for attacks.

Why Hackers go after SMEs

Once in a while, hackers turn away from the lure of money and, instead, turn to data theft. Businesses typically collect user information like names, email addresses, home addresses, credit card information, and so on. 

If your business is starting to have an increasing level of customers, it equates to more data. A hacker would then find your business a juicy target, stealing the data for personal use or to sell on the dark web.

Cybercriminals also know that you’re less likely to have a high level of cybersecurity. Although stealing funds or data from your firm would translate to small or medium profits, it would be better than attacking big firms with strengthened tech security resources. 

A major data breach will adversely affect your startup. You start to lose customers, revenue, and eventually, employees begin to leave your firm. To prevent this from happening, you need to implement the tips listed below.

Tips to Step Up Your Startup’s Cybersecurity 

Use Trusted Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

When malware or viruses get into your system, it means the hacker behind the software would monitor every action you perform on that system. If you don’t want a hacker spying on your business’s emails and banking information, install reliable antivirus and anti-malware programs.

You need to install the software on each device used in the firm. You could check online reviews to get the programs for your business. To get the best out of these tools, you’ll need to pay a certain sum monthly or annually.

Utilize a VPN

Virtual Private Networks primarily secures the data flowing into and out of your internet network. How VPNs work is by masking your IP address and encrypting your online traffic. 

Sometimes, businesses hire remote freelancers to reduce costs or to get the most talented individuals from around the world. These freelancers would be required to access your firm’s online workplace. If a hacker gets the freelancer’s login information, it could compromise your business’s security.

Remote employees can use a VPN to log in securely to your network even when connected to public Wi-Fi that has been hacked. 

Develop Cybersecurity Awareness

The biggest cybersecurity threat to a business is the employer/employee with access to the network. Remember that malware mostly gets into your system through your actions. 

Employees make perfect targets for hackers to infect a network. For instance, the recent Twitter hack that allowed access to several prominent attacks was facilitated through the spear-phishing of an employee.

You have to educate your workers about cybersecurity. Teach them how to look out for phishing emails and phone calls. Organize annual seminars to refresh their memories and keep them updated on cybersecurity trends.

Final Thoughts

When a big company experiences a cybersecurity breach, it is almost certain that the firm will bounce back. For startups, the story is different. A hack could mean the closure of a promising business. This is why there can be zero compromises on cybersecurity budgets.

Purchase trusted anti-malware and antivirus software, utilize a VPN, and educate your workers on cybersecurity.