The Cybersecurity Guide for an Entrepreneur

Cybersecurity in Today’s World

It is tough to secure your personal and professional data from “cyber attacks” in today’s day and age. With the advent of the internet, the concept of cybersecurity started taking shape, and no business was and is secure enough to avoid cybersecurity attacks, data breaches, data leaks, etc. Every business, irrespective of its size, is susceptible to cyber risks. For an entrepreneur, it becomes tough to manage business operations, team dynamics, growth strategies, cybersecurity of their employees, digital assets, customers’ privacy, and the company’s reputations all at the same time. Hence, we created this handy cybersecurity guide for an entrepreneur to manage the above with ease.

Before deep-diving into this cybersecurity guide, let’s start with the definition of cybersecurity:

What is Cybersecurity, and Why is it important for an Entrepreneur?

Definition: Information security provides technology and protocols to protect computer networks, programs and data from unauthorised access, theft, or malicious attacks.

Here are Some Alarming Cybersecurity Stats:

  • According to research done by Hiscox (a UK-based business insurance company) in 2019, the average cost of a cyber attack was $200,000. Hence, small businesses suffer the most.
  • In the 21st century, the biggest data breach to date was that of Adobe; 153 million records were hacked in 2013. 
  • Identity thefts spiked amidst the pandemic – The U.S Federal Trade Commission said they had received 1.4 million reports of identity thefts last year (double the number from 2019)
  • According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime will cost the world $10.3 trillion annually by 2025.

Hence, to avoid economic, reputational, and regulatory costs, entrepreneurs should be vigilant and take necessary measures to prevent them.

Some of the Most Frequent Types of Cyber Attacks: 

  • Attacks Through Untracked Assets: With the growing remote working culture, the proliferation of untracked assets has become a reality and thus, an increase in cyber risk.
  • Malware: Malicious software that can penetrate your computer or network, blocking access to data or programs, damaging files or stealing information. This may be initiated when the user attempts to click open an attachment. Recent malware attack: Healthcare organizations are getting attacked. Source: Scripps healthcare malware attack could cost lives!
  • Ransomware: It is a different kind of malware implemented to extort money from victims. For instance, an attacker infects the system, encrypts the data and holds it hostage until the victim pays up the ransom of some kind. It is one of the rapidly spreading types of cybercrime, and researchers estimate a ransomware attack every 11 seconds by 2021. Recent ransomware attack: Colonial Pipeline paid a ransom of $4.4 million. Source: Colonial Pipeline pays millions in ransomware attacks!
  • Man-in-the-middle Attack: The hackers meddle with a transaction or some sort of communication, Stealing away information while it is being sent from one place to another. They hijack your sensitive information, which takes place due to a poorly secured public Wi-Fi connection.
  • DDoS attack: Disturbed Denial of Service. It is a powerful threat against websites, networks and online services when a hacker uses fake internet traffic forcing it to shut down. It may appear in many ways, but basically, it prevents legitimate traffic from accessing the system, which results in potential financial and other business losses. Recent DDoS attack: People (including the government and police) couldn’t access the Belnet network due to a DDoS attack as they were facing error messages.
  • Data Leakage: If the current world can be encapsulated into a single word, then, it would be “data”. So, more often than not, there would be data leaks due to unauthorized transmission of data from inside the organization to the outside. These happen primarily due to weak or stolen passwords.

How to Wage a Battle Against Cyber Threats With the Help of Technology:

  • Attack Surface Management Software: This type of software helps discover, track and secure your exposed attack surface. The Attack surface is a total of all the touchpoints for an unauthorised user/ hacker to access and extract data. Hence, it is suggested to reduce your attack surface, but reducing your attack surface has become tough with the growing remote working culture. Thus, asset discovery tools like NVADR have become important.
  • Anti-Malware Software: They help in scanning and detecting malicious files and delete them. The programs can prevent further attacks by providing high-level insights and methods to train users with the best security practices. 
  • External and Internal Firewalls: A firewall is a barrier between your computer or network and the malware or unauthorised users. It is imperative to install firewalls between the company network and the open internet in a business setting. A firewall provides you with additional layers of security. 
  • Firewalls Guarding Web Applications: They secure the websites and online application SQL injections and DDOS attacks. They are a part of online security tools and help by filtering and monitoring internet traffic. 
  • Cloud-specific Cybersecurity Approaches: With the increasing popularity of cloud-based services and applications, it has become very crucial among areas not just exclusively in the internal company network and servers. CASB-Cloud Access Security Broker is a tool between the cloud user and provider closing the critical security gaps. It gives visibility for IT staff into users, applications and many more, protecting it against threats and other vital functions. A Zero Trust Model approach to security assumes no request as safe, even the ones coming from inside a corporate firewall.
  • Data Leak Monitoring: Consistent and regular monitoring of data usage across channels helps address and reduce such cyber threats.

8 Easy Cybersecurity Tips for Entrepreneurs 

  • Strong Password Setup: Stronger password needs to be set up to prevent cyber attacks. Ensure that the credentials entered are strong, unique for every application and are not the only barrier to access. Passwords are easily manipulated, sometimes wanting the company to get rid of them completely. 
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Password or not, multifactor authentication is a must. A little extra layer of security goes an incredibly long way. According to research by Microsoft, the accounts are 99.9 per cent less likely to be compromised with multi-factor authentication. 
  • Accessing Management: Applying the concept of “least privilege” comes with the zero trust principle. The employees’ access is restricted to the company data and systems that allow them to carry out their jobs. This is a strategy to minimise damage caused by compromised accounts. 
  • Employee Education: Research suggests that user error is the leading cause of security breaches. One should avoid opening anonymous attachments or clicking strange URLs, leaving personal devices unlocked in public spaces or using easy-to-get passwords. 
  • Regularly Backup the Data: At the end of the day, you can prevent the loss of critical data using a range of approaches. Be sure to back up sensitive data in multiple places to ensure that even if you are a victim of an attack, not everything is lost. 
  • Pick the Right Security Software: You would get different kinds of tools in the market. You need to pick one which covers all the essential features: anti-malware tools, firewalls, coverage for web applications and cloud services, multifactor authentication and a zero-trust approach. Finally, it is essential to realise that no business, big or small, is safe from cyber-attacks. When the landscape extends to web-based applications and tools, on a device from any location, cybersecurity and technology solutions are necessary. You need to be prepared for it now and for the future.
  • Always Doubt Your Security Measures: You as a business owner, should always keep an eye out for consistently improving and monitoring your cybersecurity measures no matter what.
  • Continuously monitor your attack surface and conduct regular security assessments.

Hope this guide guides you to improve the cybersecurity posture of your company. Contact us to know more!