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5 Ways to Hack-proof Your Startup

Randy RayessRandy Rayess

Cyber attacks are no news to us. Big corporations flush out billions of dollars on neutralizing this threat, yet each year the victim list just keeps increasing. Even so, while planning from product launches to effective marketing to the next iteration, security takes a backseat. According to Forbes, around 30,000 websites are hacked every single day despite many of them having proper cyber security plans in place. Many business owners tend to think along the lines that their business is above this vulnerability until it’s too late. Hence, it is very important to think about data security and breach-proof it right from the early stages. Here are five ways to ensure data security for your startup:

  1. Recognizing Potential Threats to Your Business: Thinking about launching a new product? Already planned out its design and execution? It’s time to think again and outline the possible security threats your business can encounter and include the counter-measures as part of the main process and not ignore any red flags. In a recent case, the corporation giant Target didn’t detect the breach in its system which led to 40 million stolen credit card numbers. Always remember that as the technology is progressing so are the cyber attacks. Breaching and hacking are a business to them and they want maximum return on their investment. Their ways have become more sophisticated and persistent. It might be that what you are seeing as performance analytics for your website might actually be bots trying to find an opening to ruin your business. Make sure that you have the best breach detection programs in place to prevent and terminate these attacks at the earliest.
  2. Prioritize Data Security as part of the Main Process: While carrying out the feasibility study at the start of the product conception, it will be a great practice to highlight data security and include it as a crucial part of the main planning process. Not only will it highlight the major issues that could occur in the future, it will also give rise to more controlled data access, protected data storage and rights of key holders which will help curb the breaching threats from within. It is very crucial to ask the right questions at the right time in order for the solution to be in place when the product goes live.
  3. Have a Good Firewall Application in Place: With all the SEOs, digital marketing, campaigning done to see a higher conversion comes high traffic. This traffic contains all sorts of visits in disguise including bots. This is the biggest real-time threat which can be avoided by having an additional level of security. A good web based firewall application will help in detecting active threats, prevent keylogging, stop hackers, block trojan and monitor traffic. It will be a major line of defense against attackers who want to get to the main computer from an Internet connection. It will monitor your network security and prevent the transmission and reception of malicious and suspicious data.
  4. Identify Main Data Storage and Key Holders: It is important for a company to have a clear understanding of where its main data will be stored and people who will have access to this key data. Generally, hackers look for these weak links to hack a single key holder account to break into the system. It is important to have data access restriction, proper encryption and revise it on a timely basis to prevent the breach from the inside. As we are moving towards cloud storage and the world is getting absorbed in IoT, it is crucial to identify user activity and connected devices accessing the system.
  5. Build Employee Culture Around Best Cyber Security Practices: It is as important to have your company threat proof from the inside than from the outside. Spending big bucks on cyber security will mean nothing if the breach is from the inside on account of the human resources. It should be implemented on the most fundamental level i.e. employees. It is important to educate and train employees to follow prudent practices to prevent cyber attacks. They should be informed about the importance of having good passwords, connecting to trusted networks, not leaving their account unattended on a device especially in public places, not clicking on any suspicious links, having good anti-viruses, not to plug-in any stray USBs etc. These little practices can help a great deal in strengthening the overall security of the company.

In a world, where new technology emerges every day, there is no one safe from these attacks. It is crucial to follow the best practices in order to prevent data breach on both personal and organizational level. It is very important to plan ahead and have countermeasures and recovery options in place in case such attacks ever come to pass. In today’s time where everything from personal information to money is expressed in the form of data, we can never be too careful or relaxed in protecting it as it would ensure the growth and longevity of the company.

CoFounder at VenturePact Passionate about software, marketplace startups & remote work. Previously at SilverLake Partners, Ampush and Wharton.