This startup website security guide will help you protect your startup from the now rampant data breaches. As you might be aware, security threats have become very notorious, especially in the recent past. Unfortunately, hackers do not spare small businesses and startups. Most startups are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats because they ignore the significance of enhancing protection. Additionally, most do not have the financial muscles to afford proper cybersecurity protocols and tools such as those seen in large business ventures. According to a recent report, startups now suffer the most as a result of cybersecurity breaches.
Startups must fortify their security walls against infiltrations. The cost of a successful data breach is something most startups do not wish to incur. This explains why most startups will end up closing down within six months of a successful data breach. To ensure that your startup does not bite the dust, you should implement the following cybersecurity measures.
- Install an SSL Certificate
The Secure Socket Layer (popularly referred to as the SSL certificate) is the backbone of the security of every startup that has an online presence. So, if you have your startup’s security at heart, you need to buy SSL certificate. The certificate allows the users’ browsers to bridge a secure connection to your website servers, ensuring that all information transferred between the web servers and the web browsers is secure.
Your site visitors will quickly tell if your website has the SSL certificate by looking at the URL structure. If your website has an SSL certificate, the URL will start HTTPS. If it does not have the certificate, the URL will begin with HTTP. HTTPS websites are secure. The certificate helps to stop information thefts. Usually, communications will go through a series of networks before finally reaching the intended recipient. The chances of that communication being intercepted are higher if your website does not have an SSL certificate.
All information transfers and communications between the web servers and web browsers will be encrypted with the certificate. Encryption makes the information indecipherable to the unintended parties. The right recipient will have the right key to decrypt the information. Otherwise, the information will be useless to anyone who does not have the key. If you want to protect your startup from intruders and hackers, the first step you should take is buying and installing an SSL certificate on your website.
- Use Strong and Unique Passwords
Your startup needs strong and unique passwords if it is to survive brute force and dictionary attacks. Usually, most startup owners rush into seeing their business operations to the extent of creating weak passwords, which makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks. A password will be the first line of defence against unauthorized access to your systems. Unfortunately, most people find creating strong and unique passwords a daunting task and resolve to use weak passwords.
You are probably wondering what it means by strong passwords. The building blocks of a strong password are; length and complexity. The longer a password is, the safer it is. An ideal length should be about eight to ten characters. You should also avoid using too long passwords that can easily be forgotten. Complexity means creating a password that has a mixture of characters. A good password should have both numbers, letters, and symbols. Such a password is a hard-to-guess password.
A unique password has not been used anywhere else. You should ensure that you use different passwords for different accounts. Furthermore, it would be best if you minded how you store the password. Writing them down or having your web browsers store the password is not a great idea. It would be best if you memorized the passwords.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Hackers are unstoppable and almost relentless. They will do everything to ensure that they get past your password. So relying on passwords alone to protect your startup from unauthorized access is not enough. You need an extra security layer called two-factor authentication to ensure that only the authenticated users can access your online account.
The second authentication factor could be in the form of a code sent to your phone, a biometric indicator such as fingerprint ID, or face recognition. So, even if a hacker succeeds in breaking through your login credentials, the hacker will not be able to get past the second verification step because he will not have the code, nor will he get through the biometric verification process. This is an important security feature that you should have for your startup if you wish to enhance the startup’s security.
- Initiate a Security Training and Awareness Program
There are several reasons why you need a cybersecurity training and awareness program for your startup. The most obvious reason is to prevent data breaches. Being a startup, your employees might not be aware of some of the safety measures they should take to remain safe. A proper cybersecurity awareness program will provide your workforce with fundamental security measures.
You cannot expect your employees to know the threats and the measures to combat these threats if you do not train them. According to a 2020S state of Privacy and Security Awareness Report, most employees do not know the cybersecurity threats that might hit them.
The cybersecurity training and awareness program will help you tell your employees about risky behaviours that might lead to a cyber breach. You can also use the program to instil a culture of security in your employees. Your workforce should know that cybersecurity is a personal responsibility and not just the responsibility of the IT team. You can also use this program to enlighten your employees on some of the data privacy best practices that they should adhere to.
- Secure Your System Against Malware Attacks
Malware attacks have for long been one of the deadliest cybersecurity threats. In the past, malware attackers targeted big organizations, governmental institutions, large business corporations, hospitals, and even schools. However, in the recent past, malware attackers have been going after small businesses and startups.
If your startup does not have sufficient measures to protect against malware attacks, you are treading along the wrong path. Large companies are finding it difficult to weather the storms of malware attackers, let alone startups. You can install antimalware software and do away with unauthentic software if you want to win the war against malware attackers.
- Constantly Update Your Software
You have probably come across a few popup windows that demand that you update your software. “But I just downloaded the software recently when starting my business. Why again all those popups?” you ask. So, you end up clicking on remind me later button because you have more important issues to attend to. Do not do that. Postponing a security update is one security blunder that could cost you. You can read about the story of the 2017 Equifax data breach to see how devastating failing to update your software could be.
Software updates help to patch the security flaws that might exist in your software. Hackers are always on the lookout to identify security flaws. They will then take advantage of the flaw and write a code to target the flaw. The result is that you end up losing your data and information to hackers. Software updates will come with patches that address such vulnerabilities. If you want your startup to survive, you should ensure that you install the updates once released.
- Have a Recovery Plan
Forget your startup for a while; in your life, have you ever lost valuable data or felt a moment of panic when you thought that you had lost valuable data? The situation is similar for your business. Although your startup might not have a lot of data, the little that it already has should be backed up in case of uncertainties. Data backups are crucial to the extent that there is a special day dedicated to its significance- the data backup day (31st March).
The primary purpose of the backup is to create a secure archive for your valuable data. Your business needs to keep running normally even after a successful data breach, data loss, or related data vulnerabilities. It is the backup file that assures your business of continuity in case of such uncertainties.
- Carry Out Regular Security Audits
Security audits will help you identify the vulnerable spots that could lead to a data backup. Therefore, you should continuously undertake security audits and ensure that you seal any loopholes that could give hackers leeway to your startup.
Security threats targeting startups are increasing. Your wish to see your startup grow to success, and as such, you must prevent any security vulnerabilities that can hinder the success of your business. This article has explained eight of the best measures and tips to protect your startup from security vulnerabilities. The good thing is that these measures are affordable to all startup owners. Therefore, you do not have to worry about the cost of implementing them.