5 Tips for Startups to Protect Themselves Against Cyberattacks

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Almost every day, we get news of data breaches making the rounds.
The ones we hear about, though, are that of the big businesses. This is where we have the likes of Yahoo, Uber, and more losing millions and billions of user data to hackers. What we do not hear as much, though, are the attacks happening to the smaller businesses.
As the average cyberattack carries a price tag of $4.6 million, it is little wonder why 83% of SMBs lack the resources to deal with the after-effects of a hack.
The good news is, you can prevent it.

1 Schedule Security Audits
In the name of cutting costs, many small businesses prefer not to perform security audits at all.
Most times, the security breach is not something that happens out of the blue. The hackers have been trying different backdoors before they got one that worked.
This is the kind of thing that a security audit would have found out for you.
Be it biannually or quarterly, make sure to have a robust security audit scheduled. The money you pay now will save you millions in the long run.

2 Secure your Network
A casino was once hacked – and you would not believe how it was done. By taking control of the thermostat regulating the temperature in the fish tank, hackers were able to access the finances and sensitive data of that casino.
That does not mean you should not have thermostats in your business place. It means that you should secure the network that your smart devices, such as that thermostat, work on.
This is also one of the reasons why you should always remind your employees never to connect to free/ public Wi-Fi networks. The dangers that they bring to the table are just too much to be overlooked.
Besides setting a strong password for your internet connection, set up a VPN for your router at your office. A VPN will help encrypt your data through tunneling, ensuring no one can snoop on you when you’re online.

3 Update Regularly
Your computers and other software-based electronics have a firmware that their operations are based on. The programs and applications that run on these units also have software governing them.
The developers behind that software are continually looking out for exploits and vulnerabilities that hackers might explore. When they find one, they fix them – and send those fixes as updates to your device.
At this point, it is up to you to download these updates for your devices/ applications. Otherwise, you are at risk of getting exploited with those flaws.
An excellent example of this is the WhatsApp Israeli bug, which could allow hackers to spy on your chats. An update was sent out, and that bug was quashed. Those that did not get the update will still be at the mercy of hackers.

4 Proper Password Habits
It is surprising to see that password habits are not getting better. Even with all the awareness around this topic, that is.
If you want don’t want to become a victim of this, though, it starts with you.
Please make sure all of your colleagues/ employees know to set strong passwords for all of their work accounts. They can use password generators for that purpose. Likewise, one password should ONLY be matched to one account. To prevent password fatigue, get a password manager to store all the unique passwords too.
Finally, teammates should not share passwords unless they need to. That, and never share passwords with team members who do not need access to the concerned resources.

5 Stay alert
Thankfully, most platforms today are also on the lookout for hacking attempts on your behalf. They will notify you if they sense that someone else might be trying to log into your account.
If this is you, you do not need to take any action. Otherwise, change your password and other login information immediately. Activate two-factor authentication, too, and set hard-to-guess security questions alongside.

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