5 min read

Startups and Cybersecurity: How to Build a Solid Defense on a Tight Budget

Small businesses must prioritize cybersecurity. Steps include educating employees, enforcing MFA, using strong passwords, securing Wi-Fi, and obtaining cyber insurance.
Written by
Ashley Meuser
Published on
May 12, 2023

In today's digital age, cybersecurity is of paramount importance for businesses of all sizes. A cybersecurity breach can have a significant impact on customer trust and the ability to grow the business. In fact, according to the SEC, half of the small businesses that suffer a cyber attack go out of business within six months. There are several steps that startups can take proactively to protect themselves, even without the budget to hire a dedicated security professional.

Educate Employees on Cybersecurity Best Practices

Employees are the first line of defense for preventing data breaches, such as those caused by the accidental loss of a device or phishing scams. This makes it essential to educate employees on cybersecurity best practices. We recommend resources put together by the FTC and the Global Cyber Alliance, which businesses can use to train their employees on how to identify and avoid phishing scams, regularly update software, avoid suspicious downloads, and more.

Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for All Accounts

Enforcing MFA for all accounts, including service accounts, can significantly reduce the risk of a cyber attack. These policies can be set to secure accounts using built-in features in common identity providers such as Google Workspace and Azure AD.

Require Strong Passwords and Use Single Sign-On (SSO)

Requiring strong passwords and using software that provides SSO can help reduce the risk of a cyber attack. SSO simplifies the login process for employees and allows them to access multiple applications with a single set of credentials. This password complexity requirement is another example of a security feature that can be enabled with your identity provider.

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Use Antivirus, Firewall, and Encryption

Using antivirus, enabling firewalls, and encryption on corporate devices are essential to protecting corporate data. Mobile device management (MDM) providers can help enforce these policies, and it only requires a few minutes of your employees’ time to set up and will pay dividends for the security of the organization.

Secure Wi-Fi

Securing Wi-Fi is a crucial step in keeping threats at bay. Steps that businesses should take here:

  1. Setting strong login credentials to the router
  2. Changing the default SSID to something that does not reveal information about your business
  3. Enabling WPA2 encryption
  4. Enabling a firewall

Businesses should also make sure to keep the wireless router’s firmware up-to-date to ensure that it’s protected against any known vulnerabilities.

Obtain Cyber Insurance

Obtaining cyber insurance can provide startups with a defensive tactic against cyber threats. Insurance can help cover the costs associated with a cyber attack, including legal fees and the cost of restoring lost data so that an incident does not impact your business’s survival. However, it's important to note that cyber insurance does not replace strong cybersecurity practices. Instead, cyber insurance should be viewed as a supplement to other security measures, providing an added layer of protection if a cyber incident occurs.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

Cybersecurity is hard. It’s hard because it requires detailed expertise and reasoning across all of the digital infrastructure at an organization. Any steps in the right direction are worth taking. Don’t let the difficulty of getting to a perfect or complete solution get in the way of taking some positive steps today.

In conclusion, startups need to prioritize cybersecurity best practices from the start. By educating employees on best practices, implementing several of the policies above, and working with an insurer or MSSP, startups can build a solid defense against cyber threats. If you’re unsure where to start, consider contacting us for a demo to learn more about how we can help your startup achieve its security goals.

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