Cybersecurity is one of the most important things for businesses today. Companies face many cyber threats, and we hear news of companies getting hacked almost every day. But then, many people think that it is only big brands and businesses that get attacked.
The truth is that every business, big or small, is vulnerable as long as it operates online. Unfortunately, startups are becoming the most attacked recently because of their unpreparedness for online security. In addition, the dynamic cybersecurity landscape makes it difficult for businesses to avoid attacks altogether.
Before you get too nervous, the good news is there are ways to prevent cyber threats. However, it all depends on how prepared you are to counter an attack when it happens. This article looks into some of the ways you can check if your startup is prepared for cyber-attacks.
Read on to find out more.
Review Your Security Policies
One of the essential things to do is checking your startup’s security policy. Every business needs a security policy that resonates with the possible set of threats it could face. In addition, the cyber threats you need to prepare for keep changing, making it vital to review your policy regularly.
An excellent example of a policy that you need to review is your password policy. One of the biggest reasons why startups get exposed is because they have poor password policies. As a result, employees and users can do bad practices like using the same password for all their accounts.
The best thing to do as a startup is to review security policies regularly. As mentioned earlier, the cybersecurity threats that businesses need to be careful against keep changing every day. Reviewing your security policies helps you ensure they are up to date. Good security policies mean that a firm is ready to tackle cyber-attacks.
Check Your Software
Another thing that can expose a startup to cyberattacks is using wrong or outdated software. There are different kinds of software that businesses use. Whether it is software that enables client payments or helps in anything else, you need to ensure that you are using the best that you can find.
You need to ensure that you use software from the right vendors. Legit vendors provide software that has the right security features. With a large number of software vendors available, finding the right vendor can be tricky. Settling on the wrong one can also expose your startup to different threats.
Outdated software can provide a pathway for cybercriminals to infiltrate your business network. In addition, there are security loopholes that may come up when you use outdated software. Thus, it would help if you took software update notifications seriously. Update software as soon as a new update comes up.
One mistake that people make is postponing updates whenever they receive notifications. The best way to ensure that you update software in time is by scheduling programs that check for outdated software. This ensures that you have the right security features to prevent attacks when they occur.
Checking if Your Business is Compliant
There are different security requirements set for companies in various industries. Security bodies have put regulations in place to ensure that businesses operating in their industries don’t get exposed to cyber threats. However, companies must ensure that they are compliant with the industry requirements.
An excellent example of bodies that regulate an industry is National Electric Reliability Council (NERC). This body helps regulate the electricity supply in the North American region. It has set rules and regulations that electricity suppliers in this region must fulfill before being allowed to supply power.
If you want to be an electricity supplier in North America, you need to stick to the NERC CIP requirements. Ensuring that your startup is compliant helps you avoid getting fined by these bodies. Thankfully, there are ICS security vendors dedicated to helping you be compliant.
They provide security solutions to help protect your business. Their security solutions are designed to prevent different kinds of security threats. All you need is the right infrastructure, foundation infrastructure, emerging technologies, asset management, etc. This will help protect your keep your business safe and compliant.
Engaging Ethical Hackers
One of the best ways to check how safe a business’s security systems are is to attempt hacking them. Most established companies hire hackers to conduct surprise attacks on their networks. This is to confirm that the security systems they have in place are functional and reliable.
There are different things that you can find out by conducting surprise attacks on a network. You can, for instance, discover gaps that attackers can exploit when looking to breach their networks. In addition, it can be easy to find out if it is easy to inject bugs into your system or if attackers can easily bypass authentication.
Some companies have already developed ethical hacking tools for internal use. For instance, Netflix has applications that help them in ethical hacking. Thankfully, another business can also modify these applications and use them for their cybersecurity needs without paying any license fee.
The best thing about using ethical hacking for cybersecurity is that it helps you discover vulnerabilities in time. Hiring ethical hackers and seeing how easy or difficult it is for them to break into your systems enables you to assess your preparedness. This helps you improve security and prevent future attacks.
Audit and Update your Devices
We already mentioned how essential it is to keep your software updates, but that’s not enough. The devices that you use to access your network can also pose severe threats to your business. Keeping your computing devices updated can help you ensure that your startup is ready for cyberattacks.
You need to ensure that your devices do not leave security holes that attackers can use to get into your system. One of the biggest challenges for startups is that security holes in infrastructure may remain undetected for long. Therefore, there could be a lot of damage caused if they exist on a network.
Auditing these devices can help you know how prepared your business is to counter cyberattacks. You may even need regular auditing of devices if you adopt a ‘bring your own device’ policy in your company. This policy allows employees to use personal smartphones, laptops, etc., to access business networks.
Although it’s a great idea, adopting this policy exposes business data to a lot of risks. The best thing to ensure that these devices don’t become a source of attacks is by auditing them regularly. Check if they operate on the latest security software and whether they have applications that could be a security risk.
Red Team Exercises
Another way to check for organizational readiness is by conducting Red Team exercises. These exercises help you review your entire network to ensure that there are no security issues. For instance, you can use Red Team exercises to see if the policies, processes, and defenses you have in place are sufficient.
There are different objectives that a business may want to establish when conducting Red Team exercises. The first thing is to see if any human, hardware, or software vulnerabilities could expose your business. This helps you know if the measures you put in place can counter an attack.
Another reason to use the Red Team exercise is to help you have a realistic understanding of potential threats. The other objective is to fix any security holes that the Red Team realizes when conducting these exercises. This helps ensure that breaches do not cause massive damage.
The best thing about using the Red Team exercise is that it can help you assess multiple security aspects. It includes employee training that businesses can rely on when preparing for cyber-attacks. The best thing about Red Team exercises is that different companies can use them.
Analyzing Your Cloud Security
Businesses face threats from different places, and the cloud is one of them. If your company operates on the cloud, you need to be sure that there are no security holes in the network. It would be best always to analyze your cloud security tools to ensure that you seal every security hole.
Proper analysis can reveal the threats that your cloud networks could face. Furthermore, it can also help you analyze your preparedness as far as cyberattacks are concerned. In the end, you get to take preventive measures such as encrypting data before uploading it to the cloud.
Another thing that you can do after analyzing your cloud security is reviewing your policies. For instance, you can develop and implement a solid cloud password policy for your business. You can also explore options such as implementing multi-factor authentication for your cloud networks.
With businesses storing a lot of data on the cloud, securing it should be a priority. The chances of losing all of your important data if your cloud is secured are low. In addition, securing the cloud helps you understand how prepared you are to face any cybersecurity threats that your business may face.
Another important way to check your startup’s security preparedness is using Tabletop exercises. This type of exercise simulates an emergency situation to help you assess your security systems. A facilitator guides a startup’s employees through the process of identifying vulnerabilities that could be existing in the startup’s network
They also go further to check out the emergency response processes that can be helpful in such situations. The best thing about Tabletop exercises is that they provide essential training for employees and prepares them to prevent and counter potential attacks.
Tabletop exercises can help a business know the security holes that exist on their networks. Although it is an excellent technique for individual companies, entire industries have also adopted it for cybersecurity assessment.
It takes careful planning to prepare for and conduct Tabletop exercises which makes them accurate. As a result, they are the best option for a startup looking for an in-depth view of its cybersecurity situation.
Hire Security Experts
Another way to know where you stand in cybersecurity matters is by having an expert look into it. Many startups hire security experts to help ensure that their cybersecurity remains top-notch. The escalating frequency of cyberattacks has made it vital for startups to look beyond security software alone.
There are different cyber threats that human beings can help identify. For instance, you cannot rely on software alone to recover a lost smartphone that an employee initially used to log into a business network. As a result, your entire business may be vulnerable if such a device gets into the hands of a cybercriminal.
Hiring security experts can help you prevent any threats that may come as a result of such issues. In addition, experts can help you train the rest of your team about device handling. Besides, they can also help track any security problems that could exist on your startup’s IT infrastructure.
Many startups do not hire security experts because they consider it expensive. However, the reality is that you risk losing a lot more if a cyberattack on your business network succeeds. Therefore, every penny channeled towards hiring security experts is worth it.
Cyberattacks have different impacts on businesses. For instance, a successful attack can disrupt normal operations for your startup. It can also erode the trust that customers have in your business. The best way to be safe is to understand the threats your startup could face and prepare to prevent them.
According to research, 50% of small businesses experience cyber-attacks. The worst news is that 60% of them end up failing because of these threats. This shows why it is vital that companies prevent cyberattacks and also get prepared to counter them in time whenever they occur.
The tips mentioned above can help you assess your startup’s cybersecurity preparedness. It can be about analyzing your systems, conducting mock attacks, or checking your policies. However, the primary objective should be to confirm that you are ready for any threat cybercriminals may throw at your startup.