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What you need to know about cybersecurity when starting a business

Getting a new business off the ground is a massive undertaking that comes with many unique considerations and problems. Security is one of those considerations. Traditionally, business security had been limited to installing safety cameras and a proper lock. Now, with everything becoming as digitally connected as they are, cybersecurity should be a top priority too.

Unfortunately, most small or start-up businesses tend to ignore the importance of cybersecurity. The reasons for this vary, but for the most part, it happens because they don’t consider themselves worthy targets. That can be a very expensive mistake to make.

The truth of the matter is that small and medium businesses actually make perfect targets for online attacks. Cybercriminals know that they don’t put in the same resources and effort to protect their data that large corporations do. So it’s easier for them to get into a small business’ network and wreak considerable havoc.

Anyone who’s thinking of starting a new business should make sure to follow these four pillars of cybersecurity.

Cover the Cybersecurity Basics

Securing a businesses’ digital assets doesn’t require fancy long words that come with equally high prices attached. Basic security principles can cover most of what a new business needs to stay safe, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg either. Most of these security tools also run silently in the background and require minimal management. So there’s absolutely no reason for a business not to implement them.

Covering the basics of cybersecurity involves making use of current security best practices. These should secure every digital device and asset a business owns, including the network, online storage, payment systems, servers, computers, and smartphones.

It means using the necessary software to protect those assets, including:

  • Installing antivirus and firewall software on all the computers that handle company data and connect to its network.
  • Regularly backing up important files and store them somewhere safe.
  • Making sure the company website is secure, especially if it handles client information or doubles as an intranet for employees.
  • Making use of secure online cloud storage
  • Installing a UK VPN – https://nordvpn.com/servers/uk/ – that can protect computers and mobile phone connections from malware and online attacks. This is especially important for remote workers and employees that use laptops or smartphones for work which they take home.
  • Keeping software up to date.

Only Collect and Store Necessary Data

The goal behind most cyberattacks is to steal important or sensitive data, like clients’ records or financial information. Data breaches have become a common occurrence for both large and small businesses, and it can be devastating. Not only can legal action be taken against the business, but there’s also the potential for a ruined reputation.

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Thus, the more data there is, the bigger the risk. Which is why businesses should only collect data that they plan on using. Data that’s important now can also become inconsequential after some time. So do regular clean-ups to make sure that old (but sensitive) data is destroyed. After all, criminals can’t steal anything that isn’t there.

Take Steps to Protect Important Data

Data breaches are often the result of carelessness. The easiest way to ensure that valuable information stays secure is by limiting access to it. Both via authentication and user control.

Authentication: Passwords are the most common form of user authentication, and most companies still use them today. Make sure that everyone uses strong passwords and rotate them periodically. An incredible amount of people in the UK still use common passwords that hackers can easily guess. Also, activate two-factor authentication where possible as an additional method of gatekeeping.

User Control: Employee privileges need to be monitored and controlled. There’s usually no need for everyone to have access to all of the information a company stores. It’s also a huge security risk as this opens up numerous avenues for cybercriminals to exploit and is hard to keep track of. Instead, only let employees have access to the files and information they need to do their work.

Educate Employees on Cybersecurity

Employees can be a major boon or a hindrance to keeping a company’s digital assets safe. They need to be let in on the cybersecurity threats the business is facing in order to avoid them. Companies who don’t educate their employees on cybersecurity run the risk of having their data stolen or exposed. Usually, through simple mistakes that could have been avoided.

The Bottom Line

Cybersecurity might seem like a difficult undertaking for a new or small business, but the current digital climate has made it paramount. No one wants their dream destroyed by vicious online perpetrators before it ever really takes off. Don’t just become another statistic – it’s time to adopt safe cybersecurity precautions right from the get-go.

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