How to keep your startup secure with cybersecurity risk assessment

7th October 2022
Paige West

Why would hackers target startups and small businesses? Whether you like it or not, the truth is that some startups can’t afford to invest thousands in IT security, which leaves them in a vulnerable spot. When it comes to keeping your business safe and your data secure, the golden rule is to prioritise cybersecurity and fraud prevention.

If you’re handling high volumes of data on a daily basis, it’s not arguable that you need to have a clear security system. So, the real question is: how to detect and mitigate security risks? Keep on reading to find out more about the vital steps regarding constructing a proper cybersecurity risk assessment for startups.

The basics: risk assessment and data security

A risk assessment helps you evaluate and determine potential risks and cybersecurity threats that your startup might face daily. Setting up a proper risk assessment helps your startup protect sensitive information and identify where the company stands regarding the dangers of potential threats.

You need to prioritise having a risk assessment if you really want to prevent the consequences of data breaches. In general, all risk assessments have these components:

  • Determining the impact of potential cybersecurity attacks
  • Analysing all of the data that your startup operates with
  • Finding security vulnerabilities in the startup’s existing environment
  • Reviewing the current resources against cybersecurity threats

Typically, that means this process is used to evaluate the gaps that your startup faces when it comes to data handling and fraud prevention. Once you identify the potential patterns that bad actors have and evaluate their correlation with your startup, you can start devoting your resources to creating a robust cybersecurity infrastructure.

How to create an effective risk assessment?

Why would you want to risk your startup’s reputation? Without a proper cybersecurity risk assessment, your organisation can become a target for bad actors. Fraudsters are getting wiser, and along with technological advancements, they’ve become harder to spot. Phishing, malware, data breach, and insider threats are just a few of the potential threats that are very harmful to your startup.

You can put potential security threats into different categories: low, medium, and high risks. They can be evaluated by answering the following questions:

  • How vulnerable is your company’s system?
  • What is the potential threat?
  • What kind of reputational damage might your startup face if your system gets breached?

This basic question-based method helps startups research their IT infrastructure and make better decisions regarding their cybersecurity plan. When creating your risk assessment strategy, keep in mind that you need to know the exact risks and the reasons why you need to reduce them.

Along with that, it’s important to list the potential threats based on their priority level (from low to high). Lastly, you need to think about your funds and the most cost-effective ways to develop your cybersecurity strategy. Remember, this process helps you develop your startup’s step-by-step plan when it comes to effective cybersecurity risk management.

Reasons why you need to manage cybersecurity risks

Even though cybersecurity risks are hard to tackle, it’s vital to go through them all in order to prevent the unwanted aftermath of a cyberattack. For instance, ransomware can destroy your startup’s internal infrastructure and stop operations if you do not back up your data.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out a few other reasons that explain why your startup needs to have a cybersecurity risk assessment:

  • You can save costs. Learning more about cyberattacks and potential threats will save you from data breaches, which, in the long run, will help you save money. 
  • You can avoid regulatory problems. Maintaining security and developing a risk assessment will help your startup stay compliant and avoid huge regulatory fines. For example, many fintech startups use ID Verification to reduce fraud and authenticate each customer; at the same time, this helps them stay in line with the law. 
  • You can keep your data safe. Once you have a clear understanding of what you’re up against, you have a higher chance of preventing any sort of cyberattacks, including data breaches.

That said, let’s take another example. If you determine the exact risks that your startup faces, including the plan regarding what happens after a potential data breach, you can create proper data processes to prevent fraud and avoid data loss. For this reason, it’s crucial to boost your security ecosystem through a robust risk assessment. 

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