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  • Writer's pictureISSP

Top 5 Cybersecurity Mistakes of Small Businesses and Startups

In the ever-expanding digital landscape, small businesses and startups often overlook the importance of cybersecurity. Artem Mykhailov, ISSP Enterprise Solutions Director, sheds light on five common misconceptions that can leave your business vulnerable to cyber threats.

You think it’s too early to focus on cybersecurity

No matter what you think of your business and how much you believe that it’s too early for hackers to be interested in you, the truth is that you’re exactly in a hacker’s sweet spot. If you’re a new startup, then probably you’re trying to onboard your first customers. And if you’re a B2B startup, your next customer could be a gigantic corporation.

This is exactly why governments and corporations develop and enforce cybersecurity supply chain regulations — they want to build trusting relations with those who understand the risks and care about their cybersecurity.

You first thought cybersecurity was too expensive and now think it’s just a matter of spending a few bucks per endpoint

One of the biggest mistakes is thinking that your organization’s cybersecurity is just a question of a relatively small investment. Yes, it should be affordable. There’s no sense starting a business if you spend more on cybersecurity than you earn.

But the ugly truth is that to build solid cybersecurity, you need to change the way your organization works.

You believe that cybersecurity equals compliance

While following a framework such as SOC2, ISO27k, or NIST standards is mandatory for sustainable cybersecurity, it’s not sufficient. Cybersecurity is not a state; it’s a process. Which means you should constantly monitor what’s happening in your infrastructure. A cybersecurity framework makes sure you’re not monitoring complete chaos. You can think of it as a labyrinth for hackers, where all the routes can be monitored so you can spot an anomaly quickly and respond easily.

Compliance can be faked in order to get a piece of paper confirming you’ve implemented SOC2 requirements. In reality, however, this is a ticking time bomb that will detonate during the next APT (advance persistent threat) attack. Thus, compliance without due care is wasted money.

You think that once you hire a Chief Information Security Officer, cybersecurity will be fully their concern

Don’t forget that cybersecurity is a risk-based domain. And the final owners of this risk are the CEO, the co-founders, and the management board.

A good Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) will study, prepare, and implement lots of things, but eventually they will come to you to justify the costs and explain why you need to stop using your favorite tool and instead buy a whole list of special software to make your attack surface monitorable and controllable.

You assume that once you’ve implemented cybersecurity practices, you’ll finally become secure

The unfair truth is that even after years of investments and focusing on your cybersecurity, you’ll still be vulnerable. It is the nature of cybersecurity and the rapidly growing tech industry to evolve.

There is no final destination in cybersecurity. It’s like cleaning your teeth — you do it every day and still visit your dentist twice a year. That’s why regular cyber hygiene and cybersecurity awareness programs are an essential element for the sustainability of your cybersecurity.

So, if you want to secure your business today you should cover all vital aspects of startup’s cybersecurity journey: compliance, hardening of your infrastructure and actual attack prevention, incident detection, and response. It’s the only way to mitigate the potential consequences of a cybersecurity incident and save your company, money, digital assets, and reputation.



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