Decoding cyber security – how to keep your startup safe

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// RSM Senior IT Consultant, Michael Palermo discusses top cyber security tips to ensure the safety of your startup.

Small businesses and startups have increasingly come under cyber security threats from hackers stealing domains and compromising client information.

Recent studies from Microsoft revealed 43 percent of cyber-attacks targeted small businesses and startups.

Of these attacks, it took an average of six months before founders had realised that they had been compromised.

Planning ahead and paying upfront costs when implementing cybersecurity in your workplace can pay off in the long run.

5 Tips

Here are 5 basic tips for your startup to keep your company and client’s data safe without breaking the bank.

1. Implement two factor authentications. This is a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. The benefit is that it provides an additional layer of security by making it harder for attackers to gain access to a user’s data.

2. Use a Password Manager. Passwords are hard to remember and the worst thing you can do is use the same password regularly or poor password policies – ie. using Password1 as your password. Using a Password Manager will assist you to implement strong passwords and will store them in an encrypted system on your computer or mobile device. I recommend LastPass, Dashlane or 1Password they are inexpensive and reliable.

3. USB drives should all be encrypted as standard. Most Windows systems have a form of device encryption built in. Windows Home versions have device encryption and Professional has Bitlocker. It is easy to use and will prevent someone accessing your data if you lose your device.

4. Get rid of free versions of online storage and file sharing. With  most free online storage systems,  administrators can’t control or see which users are syncing files nor does it allow businesses to view an audit log – so if sensitive data is stolen, admins have no way of knowing who may have accessed it. Based on old reports many organisations are allowing these platforms for transfer of files. I recommend my clients utilise Citrix Sharefile and Sharepoint as they are relatively inexpensive. Also, if you are currently using platforms such as Office365, Sharepoint can offer better security and is readily available if you are already using the platform.

5. Avoid using public wifi. Public wifi is everywhere now – the train station, your local coffee shop and at the park. Attackers can target your data by using techniques such as, cloning websites and “man in the middle” attacks. In most cases, you have a better level of protection if you follow security practices such as using a VPN, disabling file sharing, and having up-to-date anti-virus software.   Most importantly, avoid logging into personal accounts and keep wifi off when you do not need it.

At RSM, our services can also help protect your start up from these threats and protect your customer base. We can assist multi-level security protocols including email and DNS filtering as well as business continuity strategies in case the inevitable occurs.

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Michael Palermo, Senior IT Consultant

Michael Palermo. As a Senior IT Consultant at RSM Australia, I assist our clients to develop, use and integrate IT systems. I take the hassle out of resolving technical problems, provide solutions for their users to maximise the value of technology and streamline their IT processes.

Find out more at RSM.

RSM is a sponsor of Startup News. Main Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.