Is Your Startup Secure? 7 Basic Cybersecurity Tips For Startups

As of 2019, the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million; for most startups, this is a significant amount of money that can make or break a young company. Not only will you have to spend an exorbitant amount to fix the breach, but you could also lose your customers’ trust and may have a leak of proprietary data.

While you may have some upfront costs when implementing cybersecurity at your workplace, the investment will be worth it in the long run. In this article, I’ll give you seven basic cybersecurity tips for startups so your company’s data stays safe.

1. Install Antivirus on All Devices

When you decide on building a startup, cybersecurity may not immediately be a high priority on your list. While it’s understandable that you may not have much capital to work with, not installing basic antivirus software would be a fatal mistake.

Antivirus programs are the gatekeepers for malicious files since they examine every file you open and all links you click on. Business subscriptions for antivirus software can be quite affordable, so make sure you get protection for all devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Without antivirus software on every device, this leaves your company vulnerable to data breaches.

2. Keep Cybersecurity Software Updated

Not only do you need to get cybersecurity software (like antivirus and anti-phishing programs), but you need to keep them updated as well. Cybercriminals infiltrate company networks by continuously searching for vulnerabilities or “holes” that haven’t been detected by your software yet.

When software companies find these “holes,” they’ll release patches and updates to plug them up. It may be tempting to click “install later” when the pop-ups appear, but this leaves the holes wide open for hackers to exploit.

If there are patches and updates, it’s vital you install them straight away. The longer you wait, the bigger the window for criminals to breach your startup.

3. Use Strong Passwords

To keep things simple, you may use one password across all websites. And to make matters worse, they’re very easy to guess passwords that include things like your favorite color or band, and your birthdate. The rule of thumb is if it’s extremely easy for you to remember, then it’ll be effortless for cybercriminals to guess.

Try and use a combination of capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols if you can. Also, the optimal thing to do is to choose non-dictionary words.

Fraudsters perform something called a brute force attack, which is when they run software to keep guessing your password by going through a series of commonly-used dictionary words and numbers. By choosing non-dictionary words for your passwords, you’ll lower the chance of them guessing yours.

You should also use different passwords across multiple sites. That way, if one is compromised, your other accounts are safe.

4. Use a Password Manager

Remembering several passwords across all the sites you use can be hard, especially if they’re strings of random letters, numbers, and symbols. You can write these passwords down and save the paper in safe spots, but you can easily lose these sheets.

Instead, you should install a password manager on your device. This software saves all of your passwords in one place and is encrypted, which means it’s safe. When you go to log in on different websites, the program will automatically fill in the password field so you won’t have to do anything extra.

5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (or 2FA) is when you have two steps to complete before you’re allowed access to your account. For example, you usually put in your username and password, then are allowed to access the information you need.

But with 2FA, not only do you need to enter your password, but you also need to input a code sent through a separate method. A common method is receiving a four-digit code through SMS or email.

Some websites go beyond 2FA and have multi-factor authentication. It’s always a good idea to use as many layers of cybersecurity as possible.

6. Have Good Anti-Phishing Practices

Phishing is a type of social engineering where cybercriminals masquerade as a trusted entity so you hand over your credentials willingly. For instance, you may receive a convincing email requiring you to log into your Netflix account to confirm subscription.

You click on the link, and it leads you to a site that looks identical to Netflix, both in appearance and link name; perhaps it’s instead of You enter your username and password, and they’re sent to the fraudster, who can use it to access any account that uses the same credentials.

Always be vigilant because of these phishing cases. If you receive communications telling you that you need to check your accounts, never use the links provided. You should type in the domain name yourself and check there.

7. Provide Workplace Education

When you have employees that have different experience levels with technology, some may be more susceptible than others to viruses and phishing. Regular workplace education can be a wise investment since it can teach your workers to be more alert and aware of data breach attempts.

A good idea is to hire a cybersecurity officer. Not only can they educate your workplace, but they can also administer mock phishing attacks so your employees know what to look for.

Use These Cybersecurity Tips for Startups to Stay Safe

With these cybersecurity tips for startups, you’ll stand a better chance against fraudsters. They’re relentless and are continuously improving their breaching techniques, so be sure to stay vigilant and never fall behind on updating your cybersecurity.

These criminals are always searching for vulnerabilities, so if you plug up all the possible holes, it’ll make it much more difficult for them to breach your networks. With the right defenses in place, your startup will stay secure and grow as a result.

Interested in learning more about running a successful startup? Then let’s connect!