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How Startups Can Protect Against Hackers

by Mic Johnson

Spearheading a startup is a tough job. While entrepreneurs may have much to gain from a unique idea, they also stand to lose much with just one mistake. Aside from looking for capital to jumpstart the venture, startups also have to make sure that their idea will be well-received by their intended targets. The necessary intense focus on startup growth can keep an entrepreneur from realizing that they are being exploited by nefarious individuals. How can startups ensure that they have all their bases covered? Here are some ways: 

Invest in Access Management

One of the wisest decisions a person can make while developing their startup is to assign services and invest in access management. Do not make the mistake of sharing one username and password for everyone on the team to use. Why is that a bad idea? Because turnover is commonplace in startups. In order to protect the business against a disgruntled ex-employee, you want to be able to deactivate their password when they are let go. You need to ensure that the critical infrastructure of your company can only be accessed by those with authority, particularly for businesses that are developing revolutionary products. 

Encourage Verbal Communication

Hackers often resort to social engineering tactics to get what they want. As such, you have to make sure that your employees communicate with you verbally should they need to request access for any sensitive data or material, such as wire transfers, payment invoices, and authorizations from a third-party. Keep in mind that hackers often pose as bank representatives to ask for approval from your company to release funds. 

Use Encryption to Secure Sensitive Data

Don’t be complacent. For highly sensitive data, apart from using a two-factor authentication (2FA), it is also advisable to use encryption. Always keep in mind that someone else might be eavesdropping on your confidential data exchanges, and it should be part of your responsibility to secure these data on all angles. 

Never Work Using a Public IP

Using public Wi-Fi is a big no-no for startups. While you may enjoy the flexibility of working on your startup wherever you may be, don’t make the mistake of exposing your IP and other sensitive data over public Wi-Fi. Make sure that you also train your employees to never work on any of their projects while they are grabbing a coffee in the nearby coffee shop. As much as possible, carry out all startup-related jobs over a secure IP. 

Train Your Employees

Do you know that almost half of all phishing attacks were due to an employee error? An employee who makes the mistake of clicking a link or an attachment sent over email using a typo squatted domain can cause a startup to lose everything. Aside from having to pay hefty fines for noncompliance, you also run the risk of losing the trust of your investors. Worse, you may even have your startup prototype stolen from you and sold over on the Dark Web. Part of your responsibility is to develop a cyber-secure culture within your network. Everyone in your organization should know that they have a role to play when it comes to protecting the company from any external and internal attacks. 

The Internet has become a place where evil individuals exploit the weak. If you don’t protect your network, all your hard work will go down the drain, and it might be difficult for you to bounce back from it. Invest in perfecting your product, but also make sure to invest in cybersecurity to protect your operations. 


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