How Can Startups Survive a Cyberattack?

Cybersecurity threats seem to be distant to startup businesses since they are generally not that conspicuous. Contrary to popular belief, smaller businesses and startups have a bulls-eye target to hackers and social engineering fraudsters. The results of a successful cyberattack on a startup can significantly recede growth and might even lead to the company shutting down. Being ready to mitigate any cyberattack risk is critical for startup companies despite the inherent costs. Here are some practical tips detailing how startups can survive a cyber attack attempt.

Investing in training employees

In most cases, email security is threatened by social engineering attacks that use human resources in a company as a vulnerability. Social engineering attacks exploit emotions such as inquisitiveness, concern, and fear of missing out. An email with malware or a duplicated website link aimed at obtaining login information is the hallmark of social engineering attacks. 

These attacks prompt employees to unwittingly follow the actions on that fraudulent email which could be logging in to a bogus duplicated website. Although it may not be easy to identify a social engineering attack, training employees will reduce the risk of falling for this kind of cyber threat

Startups can train employees on matters such as inspecting a link before clicking on it and scanning attachments before downloading. Giving employees social engineering tips while the company is at its grassroots level will develop a cyber security-conscious workforce. The training invested in employees could prevent major monetary losses and retain a good reputation for the startup.

Establishing a data security policy

Email security threats and other types of cyberattacks could be delivery mules for ransomware. If you store data critical to business operations and a ransomware attack is successful, the only option to continue operating is to pay the ransom. If there aren’t enough funds to retrieve that data, operations will be halted, and the company’s reputation will be smeared. 

Having established data security policies will render a ransomware attack null and void. Data backups help startups in the event of a successful ransomware attack to continue with operations. When ransomware permeates throughout the company’s server, it can be contained, and backups can continue supporting normal business operations. 

Part of your data security policies should detail retention guidelines. Having retention guidelines minimizes the amount of data that cybercriminals can gain access to. Startups are prime targets for cyberattacks because they usually do not have data security and retention policies.

Advanced access-control tools

Access control is a major blindspot used by cybercriminals to gain access to confidential information and even customer details. Startup owners overlook access control, especially since there are only a few employees accessing company files, databases, and networks. However, even small startups with one staff member should have access control tools on company files, databases, devices, and networks. 

Remember that anyone can suffer from a social engineering attack, and the last line of defense is having access control set up on all company accounts and login portals. Integrating multi-factor authentication on company-related accounts adds an extra layer of protection from social engineering attacks. 

If cybercriminals have discovered your company passwords using social engineering tactics, you will be alerted of their attempts in ample time. At the same time, they won’t be able to access the accounts since every login is manually authorized by you on a secondary device.

Email security tools

In addition to training employees about social engineering and controlling access using multi-factor authentication, implementing comprehensive email security tools offers more cybersecurity coverage. Most recent email security tools don’t merely act as antivirus scanning malware on incoming emails. Instead, modern cybersecurity software uses machine learning to deeply scan any irregularities in incoming emails. 

For example, some tools inspect the IP address of all incoming mail to check if it originates from a reputable domain. There are various checks conducted by email security tools to determine whether they should categorize any incoming correspondence as a potential threat. 

Implementing email security tools as a startup can prevent any “mad max minute” decisions from employees or yourself. This is more important when startups look for potential investors and treat every email with high importance. Startups should invest in high-quality email security tools to get the best email security coverage, protecting the company’s interests from social engineering attacks and malware mules.

Tech standardization

Another common mistake often made by startups is using personal resources for professional reasons. Although this could work when the startup still has one person working, as time goes it could cause problems. When the workforce grows, collaborative working will increase, and in some cases, coworkers could share the same network. While employees are working and collaborating on projects, malware that infiltrates one employee’s PC could permeate to other coworkers. 

Even worse, the malware could be spread to the company network and databases. To prevent this type of mistake from happening, standardizing the tech equipment for work purposes plays a huge role. Tech standardization will help separate personal and professional files making it harder for malware to randomly wind up on the company network. 

Standardizing the tech used by employees involves authoring security policies for professional work equipment connected to the company’s network. A combination of these efforts will go a long way toward preventing cybersecurity threats caused by employee negligence.

Implementing cybersecurity insurance

As a startup, you must hope for the best but be prepared for the worst when it comes to cybersecurity. Due to the advancements in cyberattacks, there is a possibility that you might be a victim of a successful cybercrime. 

Accepting this fact will make it easier to come to terms with paying a monthly premium for cybersecurity insurance. Cybersecurity insurance will offer coverage when an attack is successful and critical data is lost. 

Depending on the plan you have taken, the insurance will offer financial assistance to contain the attack and even cover forensic investigation. Some cybersecurity insurance companies offer income loss coverage as well for startups that were victims of a cyberattack.