Digital Security and privacy concerns are everyone’s challenge as technology touches every aspect of our lives today. However, privacy and security matters are unique for every business and more so unique for startups. The reason why it’s unique is that data security is an usually missed topic in between the rush to build the product and acquire customers. In my experience of more than 15 years in the industry, while trying to help enterprises and startups address cybersecurity problems, I have come across variety of responses and curiousness from the customer’s side which has made me realize that a lot of awareness still needs to be created among the masses.
To begin with, what can be considered as the most important threat that an organization will be exposed to? Well, the most important threat vendors are exposed to are web based threats like ransomware attacks, spam links, phishing attacks, weak data transfer protocols, low data encryption, insecure access by remote, mobile workers and employees.
Today, ransomware is one of the top threats and can affect a company of any size. We have also seen ‘Insider misuse’, when a staff or vendor/contractor from the local or international branch access the cloud servers/network from free Wi-Fi hotspots or public Wi-Fi without any VPN encryption. These instances expose the attack surface and gives hackers the opportunity to cause serious damage to the critical digital assets of an organization. One of the key methods to prevent such attacks is encrypting the private and sensitive information. Hence, having an effective security is a function of three factors: people, process and products.
Effective digital security and privacy practices must always take a top-down approach in an organization/startup, with leaders documenting a formal data security process between employees, vendors and customers. In the early days, in case of tech start-ups, most plausible sources of breach would be because of an internal incident by a staff or a vendor, not a hacker. A secure business starts with having a secure network environment and should cover secure payment processing, encrypted data storage, and secure workplace devices. The internet connection needs to be protected with a strong firewall or network gateway and all remote access encryption should be ensured. These solutions would provide the necessary reports and analytics to help the organizations with the information on how their network is being used, such that any potential security issues can be detected before they become full-blown data breach incidents. Along with the steps taken for being secure, it becomes essential that a security awareness training is initiated in the organization as majority of data breach incidents happen due to social engineering and human error. It does not cost anything and is nearly free.
Encryption is one of the easiest ways to secure information, be it in calls, emails, chats etc., right from the early stage of business. Even if encrypted information is breached, it
will be largely unusable, and encryption technology is now affordable. For an integrated approach, one needs to look at encrypting all emails using an email security solution, encrypt data in transit using TLS or SSL protocols and use disk encryption for files and folders. The top encryption tips for startups would be:
● Securing password by masking and encrypt passwords
● Encrypting data stored in databases.
● Using SSL (Secure Socket Layers) Certificates to protect info as users submit it.
In today’s digital world where organizations are going digital, you don't need complicated hardware appliances, invest in upfront costs or dedicated trained manpower to protect your data and digital assets. Effective cyber-security is a service, not a plugged product, and can now be managed efficiently. Cloud-enabled "Cybersecurity security as a service" solutions are available for a very low affordable monthly cost. The services are powerful enough to achieve compliance with even the most rigorous of digital security requirements, and still doesn't burn your pockets.
Sandip Kumar Panda is the CEO and co-founder at InstaSafe.
Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).