21st October 2016 was an extremely eventful day in the lives of the savvies in the Cyber world as well as common people. The large-scale DDOS attacks shook the entire world when multiple business giants like Twitter, The Guardian, Netflix, Reddit and CNN were deemed helpless due to inaccessibility to their websites. A DDOS attack is Distributed Denial of Service attack, wherein large number of servers are used to send multiple requests to client websites, which leads to the genuine customers unable to obtain services. This is food for everyone’s thought on how important security on internet platform is.
However, one might argue that the companies I listed above are all large-scale companies. Of course a cyber attack would not victimize a Startup, right? Well, that is where we need to pivot our minds towards the possibility of a what if scenario. Having limited resources to being with, an additional affordable security solution is difficult to deal with for startups. But its necessity should be as stressed upon as it would be for a company like Microsoft or Facebook. The implications of a security attack are disastrous for a startup. While, a large-scale company can limp towards normalcy with a dedicated IT setup to look into the breach of security, a startup might take days to recover from an attack. This can be financially disastrous for a company looking to increase its assets and financial resources.
A cyber-attack can be of varying nature. While major attacks like Distributed Denial of Service rear its ugly face and make the front page, small-scale attacks like masquerading or spoofing, wherein the attacker can gather the necessary information by posing as a genuine customer, can be equally harmful, especially if the company has just started to gain the trust of its valued customers. Every day, new attacks on the web world keep getting discovered and security features keep getting enhanced. When a client entrusts a company with information, it is a company’s moral as well as legal duty to secure the client’s data from malicious threats.
A client based attack is gaining popularity now days since servers are becoming more robust. How many of us would really notice the difference between PayPal and PayPa1 link? A malicious link created on a startups website to redirect the client’s information or resources can lead to loss of money to the attacker. A client is an asset and if a security solution is going to gain the company assets, it is worthy to implement.
Most startups will take into consideration the infeasibility of implementing a full-scale security solution which deters the company from taking action. But if alternatives are considered, wherein partial security is implemented, it can be worked upon later as financial position of the company permits. While this will not make the sensitive information fully secure, it is a start. When a security solution product is launched, the basic security features are made available in the market first and then it is further worked upon. A startup can implement the basic security solution. A security solution should be implemented right from the beginning.
A security breach is not always caused by a malicious attacker or code. It can be as simple as leaking of information through a company worker, or a third-party who has access to the sensitive data. The most cost-effective solution for startups to make the information secure is to take into account the access policies for the sensitive data. While a third party client may require access, the rights to change the data or access certain important and confidential parts of the data should be given only to concerned authority. This is a win-win situation for the company. A lot of finance does not have to be spared for implementation of policy control, whereas the objective is achieved as well.
Amidst the chaos of cyber attacks, it is better to be secure than sorry. A simple security solution is the basic necessity of small businesses and startups. The information with the company may be lesser, but that does not deem it less important. If in the future a security solution is to be implemented, when the product has been fully developed, it will be a hassle to integrate the product and the company’s growing assets with the potential security features. Hence, startup should start placing security as a part of business requirement and the journey from a small company to a large-scale one will be smoother and cyber attack free.
Image source: 123F.com