Even startups are at risk of a security breach. All businesses are tempting targets to hackers, and small organizations are no exception. In fact, startups and small businesses are especially appealing due to their often lax (or lacking) safeguards. The financial costs and reputation damage of being hacked could cripple an organization for months or years. So, where should you start?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the cybersecurity terms, tools, and tips being thrown around these days. Based on our experience working with hundreds of startup and growth companies, the basic vulnerabilities are the same across the board, but the vast majority of small companies don’t have them covered.
Our advice? Don’t buy into the cycle of worrying about the latest security threat and its specific expensive solutions — instead, focus on making sure you have the basics covered with cost-effective (and sometimes even free) tools and policies. Once you do, you’ll be in better shape than most of your peers.
Security Risks Facing Startups and High-Growth Businesses
Smaller businesses, like startups and high-growth organizations, have a very high risk of falling victim to cyberattacks and have a great deal to lose if an attack is successful. Not convinced? Check out these statistics:
Startups and high-growth businesses make up 43% of cyberattack victims.
47% of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have had a security breach in the last year.
The average security leak costs these businesses $200,000.
After a successful cyberattack, 60% of these businesses close within six months.
Hackers can disrupt your organization’s operations for days (if not longer) and steal confidential information from your employees and your customers. If recovery is even possible, there’s no telling how long it could take. Because smaller organizations are so vulnerable, a protection plan is essential to prevent successful threats. To help you out, we’ve put together a cybersecurity checklist tailored to startups and high-growth businesses, so you can find out how your organization stacks up.
Our Cybersecurity Hygiene Checklist
Where does your organization stand? Answer these 12 questions to find out:
Do you have an information security policy in place that covers how users should protect the company’s information and what to do in case of potential security incidents?
Do you offer a basic security education program for new hires and/or recurring training for all employees supported by testing and reporting?
Can you be sure your employees aren’t using the same weak password to log into all their apps and services?
Do you have a centralized system that ensures every workstation has a strong password, the latest operating system (OS) updates and security patches, up-to-date antivirus, domain name system (DNS) filtering, and disk encryption?
Can you remotely wipe or lock workstations and mobile devices if they’re lost or stolen?
Are you sure none of your workstations or servers is running an old OS that’s no longer supported, making it extremely vulnerable to security attacks?
Does each office network have an enterprise-grade firewall with intrusion prevention and malware protection?
Is your WiFi set up with a guest network and user-specific passwords (as opposed to a single shared password) on your internal network?
Are your critical cloud services (e.g., email, file share, and anything with confidential info) protected by multi-factor authentication (MFA), a login that requires both a password and an app or code on your phone?
Are your business-critical servers and network equipment monitored 24/7 for signs of a breach? Does your system monitor workstations and mobile devices for intrusions?
Do you limit user access to the data they need for their job to minimize the number of access points to the system?
Have you performed a risk assessment to develop your recovery strategy and improve your security system?
How many questions did you answer “yes” to? Add them up and review your score on our scale:
10 – 12: Congratulations! Your organization is like a house with deadbolts on each door and a security system in place. It’s protected from all but the most skilled burglars.
6 – 9: Good job covering some basics! Your organization is like an average house with a typical lock on each door. It can stop amateur criminals, but a skilled one won’t have much trouble getting in.
0 – 5: You’re very vulnerable! Your doors are unlocked, and you’re mostly relying on luck to keep out of trouble.
Other Cybersecurity Efforts to Consider
If you have employees working from home, consider our cybersecurity checklist for a remote workforce:
Will malicious activity on these workstations generate a security alert?
Are unnecessary services disabled to limit access to sensitive information?
Do you validate hardware and software security before connecting equipment to production networks?
Want To Get Your Score Up?
At Kinetix, cybersecurity basics for high-growth organizations and startups are our bread and butter, and we have lots of options from “basics to keep you safe for the lowest cost” to “ace the quiz with the best of the best cybersecurity” and everything in between. Our tools cover the most essential security protections, so you’re protected from most threats. Let us know how we can help by contacting Kinetix today!