Start up security: How to manage cyber risks

Blogs 19 Feb 2021

Start as you mean to go on with FSB Cyber Protection’s top tips for cyber security, from first steps to scaling your business.

Whatever stage you’re in on your journey as a small business owner, cyber security is crucial. The choices you make early on will shape the future of your organisation. But, many small businesses struggle with understanding just how much security they need and when they need it in their growth journey.

We’ll take a look at the important points of the small business lifecycle, the threats you might face and how security can be integrated to protect your business-critical assets.

1. First steps

When you’re just starting out with an initial idea, you might not think you need to worry about security. However, even when you have no business-critical data or information that needs protecting, security is paramount.

2. Setting your business model

When figuring out your business model, you should consider how security fits into it. This is particularly important if you’re developing and offering a product to your customers.

Security should be factored in from the design stage – if this is not done, you run the risk of racking up security debt. This is technical debt accrued when you don’t invest sufficient money or resources into security which protects your business’ most critical assets.

3. Scaling your business

As your business progresses and develop a go-to-market strategy, you will be collating more and more data. This is when the risks step up another level, making it even more important to ensure you are doing what you can to protect your business.

4. Expanding your team

Reaching the stage where you can hire a fully-fledged team is an incredibly exciting milestone for small businesses, but it’s also a crucial signpost for enhanced security measures.

In this phase, you will be working out how people are going to communicate, as well as how data and business-critical assets going to be stored.

Setting out security mechanisms at this point can help mitigate the risks you face as you introduce more people into the business mix. Even then when you have the right measures in place, the employee can remain your biggest threat if they’re not educated about the risks and the role they play in keeping the organisation secure.

5. Customer and compliance requirements

As you scale up, there will be growing pressure from clients and regulators to prove you have the sufficient security measures in place to secure sensitive data. The focus on security and compliance requirements will depend on the sector and markets you operate within, and this need for security will only continue to grow as you grow. 

6. Avoiding security debt

While issues may seem small at the time, future security debt can have a significant impact on your ability to grow and attract future investment, particularly as investors pay increasing attention to security.

Ask yourself:

What are the key security drivers are for my business?

How will security impact my operations, and how can I integrate it?

When you get this right, you’re not only helping your organisation survive, but also thrive, as it will be better equipped to deal with evolving cyber requirements and threats.

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