Cyber Security Awareness Month

It’s October once again and that means time to celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month. But as a startup, do you really need to worry about cyber security? What if your startup came to a screeching halt because you were hacked by someone in Russia and what can you do to help protect your startup from the bad guys? The experts at Village startup, Curricula are here to help with a few tips.

Startups are typically only focused on growth. Growing product, sales, marketing, advertising, and the team. But what happens when others are looking to steal and destroy intellectual property and business that you are building? We aren’t talking about legal agreements and IP attorneys here. We are talking about protecting your business from hackers. 

How to protect your startup from hackers

Don’t think your startup could get hacked? Think that you are too small and “Who would want to hack me?” Think again. According to reports, 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. In addition, 60% of those small companies that suffer a cyber-attack, are out of business within 6 months. This problem isn’t getting any smaller and it is time to understand what the impact of a data breach could be for your startup.

Cyber security starts with your people.

One of best return on investments you can make for your startup is launching a security awareness training program. This will help teach your employees how to defend themselves against hackers and protect your business. You can even send simulated phishing tests to your employees, to see who may fall victim to giving up their AWS credentials to a real hacker. You should also be training all of your employees on safe wi-fi, passwords, social engineering, and data privacy, amongst other topics.

Curricula even offers a fun free tool at UnlockedComputer.com to help educate your employees on why they should lock their computers. They will definitely think twice when they find DeeDee (our little 5-year old hacker villain) on their desktop!

With privacy and security regulations growing rapidly and businesses being hacked left and right, your startup can’t ignore the fact that a cyber security program is required as you scale. This doesn’t have to be a boring legally driven exercise for your startup. Think of fun ways you can help get employees on the same page with security as part of your company culture. Don’t send them Death by PowerPoint slides, because you wouldn’t do that to them for any other part of your business. Think of fun “think like a hacker” exercises you can do to make it exciting.

Employees can go through some simple exercises like: Who has access to your business bank account? Do you have multi-factor turned on for all your infrastructure accounts? How easy is it to break into your social media account?  How about using a password manager for your employee to share instead of using an excel sheet to track passwords. It’s okay to have gaps in security, but it’s important that you continue to grow and learn from mistakes. Don’t try and drink the ocean here because you are not going to become the NSA overnight! Taking these small steps now will lead to more cyber-savvy startup down the road.

This guest blog post was written by Curricula CEO, Nick Santora.