Could you survive a security breach? Why tempt fate?

There’s a lot to think about when you are building your business. From your executive summary to how much money you want to spend on decorations, it all matters.

Nowhere is this more true than with your company’s security. Protecting and securing your company’s information is incredibly important and yet, somehow, many companies fail to take security threats seriously. According to a report covered by Entrepreneur over the summer, more than half of internet security professionals believe that their employers aren’t taking cyber security threats seriously and adequately protecting against them.

That’s crazy!

security breach

That same article talks about the fact that, on average, security breaches cost companies an average of 5.4 million dollars per breach. That is an incredibly expensive risk to take with your startup funds.

It’s also important to note that, unlike companies like Target or Home Depot, as a startup you do not have a long standing positive reputation protecting your brand when something goes wrong. If you get hit with a cyber attack early on, you will have to work twice as hard to convince people that your business isn’t weak and that you can keep your clients’ information safe and secure.

This isn’t just an American problem. Companies all over the world are experiencing security breaches every day. According to the UK’s The Guardian, almost 90% of small businesses experienced a security breach in 2013. Those security breaches resulted in profit loss, lost business, asset loss and even relatively quick recoveries cost thousands of pounds in damage.

As we’ve already pointed out, cyber attackers aren’t just interested in huge corporations like Sony. They are just as interested in small businesses and startups. In fact, small businesses and startups are “bigger” targets. This is because small businesses and startups are more likely to work with progressive ideas and technology–the promise of which could be worth lots of money if the ideas and inventions take off. They are also much less likely to be able to fight back if someone does decide to break in and steal proprietary information.

So what do you do? How do you make sure that you aren’t leaving your company vulnerable to cyber attackers and other threats?

1. Start Inside

Make sure that you are securing every step of your company’s communications processes. This means that you should not rely simply on server-side security software to keep all of the computers used by your company safe. For one thing, many people choose to work on company projects on personal machines. For another, most work is done via wireless and cloud based technology now and server-side security only goes so far. Make sure that you have top notch security software installed on every machine used by your company.

2. Assume Vulnerability

Do not ever assume that a device is malware-proof. For a long time people using Apple devices failed to protect their machines because “Macs can’t get viruses.” According to Trend Micro, a company that makes antivirus software for Mac and Apple products, viruses are just one threat to a Macbook. Other threats include privacy breaches on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

3. Threats Exist on Many Planes

It’s great that you are working so hard to protect your devices and servers against attacks that come from the outside. The outside, however, is just one source of attacks. Cyber breaches can also originate inside your company. For example, maybe an employee takes a firewall down or sends proprietary information out (it really does happen). This means that you have to protect the physical security of your information as well. Setting up passcodes and physical measures (like requiring that all company property stay on site and that all personal devices stay home) are important. It’s also good to have someone whose job it is to continually monitor your internal systems to look for nefarious activity.

There is no such thing as being too secure as a new business. Use these tips to help get your security profile started.

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