According to the 2021 Global Risk Report by the World Economic Forum, cybersecurity failure remains a persistent threat for businesses across the globe. Fast-evolving sophisticated cyberattacks involving malware and phishing have businesses on high alert. As a result, all companies, regardless of size, are vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.
However, it’s often the small enterprises that bear the brunt of these criminal efforts. Nearly half of all malicious attempts (43%) target small businesses. Start-ups, in particular, face substantial cybersecurity risks. These ventures are particularly susceptible to data breaches in their first 18 months of operation, often with disastrous outcomes.
Types of Cyber Risks Facing Start-Ups
Start-ups and other small business ventures have a great variety of cyberattacks directed their way. In addition, start-ups have access to a vast amount of valuable information, making them an attractive target for cybercriminals. Here are the most prevalent cybersecurity risks facing start-ups in 2021.
Malware is one of the most common types of attack facing small businesses. Cybercriminals will often use malware to exploit vulnerabilities in your system. There are many types of malware attacks. Ransomware, for instance, is an increasingly common type of malware used to attack small businesses.
Phishing is the general term for any social engineering where the perpetrator uses disguised tactics to trick the victim into divulging sensitive information or downloading malware on their system. For example, the vast majority of ransomware attacks can be traced back to phishing emails.
A data breach refers to any incident leading to the loss or exposure of sensitive company data. In most cases, data breaches are caused by insufficient data security measures and involve the loss or theft of usernames and passwords, credit card details, employee records, etc.
Ways to Secure Start-Ups
Cybercriminals have become very effective at finding vulnerabilities in computer systems these days. Any organization that uses technology to store and manage customer information is a potential target. However, due to their reliance on digital tools and lack of robust security infrastructure, start-ups are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
How to Prevent Cybersecurity Attack
Here are some of the steps entrepreneurs can take to mitigate the risk of a successful attack.
No matter how much you invest in the security system, attackers will always find a way through your employees if they lack sufficient cybersecurity training. Phishing and spear-phishing attacks are aimed at your staff’s general lack of awareness. Training can help you reduce the risk of such attacks.
Create a Security Budget
Effective cybersecurity risk mitigation requires a considerable investment. Cybersecurity is a serious concern that should warrant budget consideration. As a serious start-up entrepreneur, it’s time to stop with the guesswork to come up with a cybersecurity budget.
Secure your Network
Wi-Fi networks are prone to threats such as MITM, DDoS, and malware. Secure the network with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to ensure that it’s encrypted, safe, and hidden. Large corporations often use VPN to protect sensitive data.
Cybersecurity professionals have extensive knowledge and experience to protect your company from any modern cyber threat. They can conduct numerous assessments to identify weaknesses within your company. Even if you have an app dedicated to your business, cybersecurity experts can perform application penetration testing to find weak spots that can lead to a potential cyberattack and prevent it.
Assessing system risks and vulnerabilities in your system will help you pinpoint the specific cybersecurity risks that could compromise your start-up. In addition, a risk assessment will help you isolate recognized threats and compute the probability that these risks will lead to loss or exposure.
A single successful attack will cost a start-up an estimated $200,000 on average. In most cases, start-ups and other small businesses will not survive a devastating cyberattack. Use these tips to protect your start-up from cybercrime and avoid going out of business.