Startup digital defences: are you ready?

Even in its most embryonic stage, your business needs to be closely guarded. If you have the germ of a beautiful idea, are currently fleshing it out into something more substantial, and are confident about its potential success, then putting up defenses around it is essential.

However, if you’re new to the business world, are you really clued up on what kind of things you need to consider to make sure your business is in the best possible digital health?

In this contemporary age, and given the current business education syllabuses doled out by schools across the land, your focus is likely to be on a digitally-based idea.

And this is ultimately sensible. After all, the cost base is low-to-non-existent, overheads can be extremely minimal and finding an audience for your product or service has never been easier. The world and a customer base for your business are only a social media channel or two away.

Of course it depends on the specific nature of your business idea, but intellectual property is probably going to be key. It might be that you stumbled across a particular niche that you think needs filling, it might be an algorithm that you have created which can make waves, it might be a clever digital tool which unlocks the most complex of business problems. Whatever it is, if you are storing all the related data and documentation on cloud-based facilities (aren’t we all now, anyway?), then you definitely need to consider security. Your competitors will be.

Hackers love to squeeze startups and small businesses for valuable data and resources which they can then use to their advantage. Why small businesses and startups in particular? Well, though business concepts and ideas may still be in raw, undeveloped form, the data is valuable and the defences that they pose to hackers are comparatively weak. Startups and entrepreneurial outfits often make the mistake of thinking that major investment is required into security whereas, in reality, this is simply not the case.

If you’re a tiny business, where do you start? On the web there are many resources which can give you a major steer as to the kind of things you need to be considering with regard to your own business. Have a look what the key security startups are up to, there is even an excellent 17-step health check which you can use to guide your own actions and policies.

It’s potentially a lot to take in; especially if your brain is already overflowing with the possibilities for your business idea, how you will realise it, who you will get to help you, how you are going to take it to market. Taking a step back and a deep breath or two will help.

Here’s the thing: it’s only going to get more complicated. Once you have taken your product and service to market, and your target audience starts purchasing your product, you then need to consider how you are going to manage, and keep secure, all your customer data – from personal details to banking and account information. The earlier you are prepared for the full scope of the challenge ahead the better. Moreover, you’ll be better placed to start advising any employees you take on as to IT security best practice within the context of your business.

Startups and entrepreneurs underestimate the possibilities of cyber threats at their peril. As we as a digital culture move closer and closer toward being completely cloud-based, battening down the hatches and arming your business with the requisite safety tools is going to be key to your future success.

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