Managing a start-up involves skill, dedication and an ability to multi-task. When you are getting your young business up and running, you will likely have to prioritize. When your funding is limited, it can be all too easy to neglect invisible threats like cyber-attacks, however, doing so can signal disaster for the future of your company.
Your Small Business Is Not Immune
Many entrepreneurs, start-up founders and small business owners believe that their company is small so that it can, essentially, get away with flying under the radar, when it comes to cyber-attacks. This point of view is very detached from reality.
One study found that nearly 45% of small and medium-sized businesses report having fallen victim to a cyber-attack in the past. A further 50% of those surveyed reported that they suffered from a data breach that targeted both employee and customer information.
There are a few reasons why a cyber-attacker might choose to target a start-up like yours. Firstly, cybercriminals are aware that small and young businesses tend to have fewer cybersecurity measures in place. For this reason, cyber-criminals might choose to target your business simply because it is easier for them to target you than a more secure company.
Secondly, it is common for cybercriminals to target small businesses as a means of gaining access to larger businesses. One example of this is the 2013 Target cyber-attack. The cybercriminals gained access to Target by first hacking a small partner company, the local heating, ventilation and air conditioning company. This cyber-attack resulted in a huge customer data breach that was eventually settled for a sum of $18.5 million.
The Effects of a Cyber-Attack Can Be Devastating
You might not be going to suffer consequences quite on the same level as Target’s historic settlement, but even a low-level cyber-attack can be devastating for a young start-up. A cyber-attack can affect the long-term health of your business in a variety of different ways, such as:
Reputation is everything in business, especially for young start-ups that have so much to prove. A successful cyber-attack can ruin your reputation, a consequence that can forever tarnish the name of your business.
There are many reasons why a cyber-attack might result in financial damages for your start-up. A cybercriminal might gain access to your data and products to hold them for ransom, or you might be liable to legal consequences as a result of a data loss.
Loss of Productivity
Downtime caused by a cyber-attack could result in a huge loss of productivity that could last for hours or weeks on end.
How Start-Ups Should Protect Against a Cyber-Attack
As USWired outlines, the most effective way of protecting your start-up against the threat of a cyber-attack is to outsource your IT services to experts. With the help of an expert, you will be able to gain access to a customized security solution that meets the needs of your business. This solution can be both proactive and reactive to reduce the threats of a cyber-attack.
In addition to employing the help of a cybersecurity expert, you should also train your staff. Educating your staff about possible cybersecurity threats, and the best ways to stay safe will help you to further reduce potential threats. Since some forms of cyber-attacks, like phishing attacks, target uneducated people, training your staff can be a very effective line of defense.