Why Startups Must Get Serious About Cybersecurity
I recently met the co-founder of an up-and-coming FinTech startup. During our conversation, he boldly stated, “My company is too small to need comprehensive cybersecurity.” Such a mindset is common in most startups. Many assume that only larger organisations should worry about phishing scams, ransomware attacks, or advanced persistent threats. Yet, the truth is worth noting.
Cybercriminals increasingly target small businesses and startups
Smaller businesses are more likely to be targeted by cyber attackers than larger enterprises. They also suffer more. Per one recent report, smaller companies (<100 employees) experience 350% more social engineering attacks than larger companies. Data breaches at small businesses have also surged by 152% in 2020 and 2021. And larger organisations? By only 75%. The cost of data breaches for small firms has also increased: from $2.35 million in 2020 to $2.98 million in 2021. The increase was much smaller for medium and large organisations during the same period.
Smaller businesses need more funds and human resources to implement robust cybersecurity measures, resulting in weak defences that leave many gaps for bad actors to exploit. Attackers also know that targeting larger firms is more likely to attract the attention of law enforcement. That’s why they prefer to target unprepared smaller businesses. In return, they get a reasonably high payout while keeping a relatively low profile.
How Startups Can Protect Themselves
Since 60% of small businesses fold within six months of a cyberattack, startups must take cybersecurity more seriously. If they don’t, they will become victims and struggle to survive, much less thrive. For one, all startups must implement a cybersecurity strategy, invest in robust security tools, and implement strong procedures to protect their business-critical data.
Startups can also benefit by identifying their most crucial assets and prioritizing their defense areas accordingly. Other protective strategies like next-gen anti-malware/anti-virus tools, multi-factor authentication, strong access controls, data encryption, backup, and regular cybersecurity training can also help to mitigate at least some cyber risks in their business landscape.
A Final Word
The writing is on the wall. Hackers target small businesses and startups as much as – and sometimes more – than established firms. And the sooner startup owners wake up to this reality, the better they can safeguard what matters to them – their digital assets, people, budding reputations, and most importantly, their futures.