October is national cybersecurity awareness month and it’s a good reminder for entrepreneurs to take a look at their online vulnerabilities, particularly in light of the recent Equifax breach and the slew of cyber attacks we saw earlier in 2017.
Dr. Crispen Cowen of Leviathan Security Group recently shared his Top 6 Ways to Protect Your Startup From Cyber Attacks our LivePlan blog. He says that “security for small and startup businesses is mostly about preventing the attackers from getting control of your user accounts to either steal your money or ransom your company data.”
Our Chief Operations Officer at Palo Alto Software, Noah Parsons, says that even though cyber attacks are now just part of the modern landscape, there are some simple and inexpensive techniques that can make your business substantially more secure.
“The biggest challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners is that they often aren’t security experts,” Parsons says. For Parsons and his team, protecting the security of the entrepreneurs who use LivePlan is a top priority.
Cowen and Parsons both say that one of the best moves a growing business can make is to use the cloud whenever possible.
“The best thing we can do to stay secure is to handle as little of our customers’ sensitive data as possible,” Parsons says. “We use third-party services for credit card processing and other critical data management. We make sure those services have top-notch security in place and then rely on them to keep things secure.”
Parsons suggests that entrepreneurs start by outsourcing all credit card management to a company like Square or Stripe. From there, consider outsourcing other systems that handle critical information. “The less you have on your computer and the more you have in the cloud, the better off you are.”
Cowen says that if you’re hosting your own web server for your businesses website, definitely consider using a cloud service. “Cloud security is not perfect,” says Cowen, “but unless your startup is hyper-focused on secure server operations, it almost certainly is not as strong at defending internet servers as any of the major cloud providers.”
Parsons also says to make sure you and your team are using a reputable password manager like LastPass, and use the password manager’s suggested secure passwords for extra security. “Enforcing regular password changes is a bit of a hassle, but improves your security. If you use a password manager, it’s much easier since you don’t have to remember all of them.”
Navigating the endless and sometimes complex advice on keeping your business safe can seem incredibly daunting, but even small changes can make your business more secure. Read more of Cowen’s advice for avoiding cyber attacks here on the LivePlan blog.