The use of information technology is an inescapable component to any startup that wishes to succeed. Startups need to integrate technology in their manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance, human resource, and every aspect. Without any doubt, technology has been a critical player in the success of every business.
Despite all the good things that information technology has brought to us, the associated risks and threats are well known. As such, it is important to pass over cybersecurity knowledge to every person that is within your environs. They need to know the necessary steps to follow in case of a cyber threat. In addition, they also need to understand some of the cybersecurity best practices they should adhere to.
To pass cybersecurity knowledge and awareness to every stakeholder within your startup, you will need to have a specific cybersecurity training and awareness program. Cybersecurity training is vital for startups because, as the statistics show, startups and small businesses have always been vulnerable to data breaches.
Most hackers now target small businesses because most of them lack the financial muscles to invest in cybersecurity tools properly. As it appears, most startups ignore the essence of cybersecurity training and awareness programs and will instead invest in expensive cybersecurity tools and protocols. Why, then, is cybersecurity training essential to startups? Here are eight reasons.
1. To Prevent Data Breaches and Security Attacks
The most apparent reason you need a cybersecurity training and awareness program is to protect your startup from data breaches and security attacks. Data breaches can cost millions to repair. Therefore, they could sink your startup within days or weeks after its inception. I am sure you do not want this to happen to your startup.
To prevent the impact that a successful data breach could have on your startup, you need to have a comprehensive website security awareness training program. You can use the training program to enlighten your employees on some of the security best practices. Human error has been one of the major causes of some of the most devastating security breaches. Not even the best firewall or the most expensive SSL certificate could prevent your employee from becoming a victim of a phishing attack.
A cybersecurity training program will help your employees spot and identify possible security threats. It will also help them know some of their risky actions that could lead to security threats. Additionally, you can use the training program to make your employees aware of the response plan and the steps they should follow in case of an impending security threat. These can never be achieved without a thorough and well-crafted training and awareness program.
2. To Build a Security Culture
Right from the inception stage of your business, you need to instil values, attitudes, and correct patterns of behaviours that determine your startup’s commitment to cybersecurity. That is what a cybersecurity culture is all about. Nothing achieves a proper cybersecurity culture than an adequate security awareness and training program. With an appropriate culture of cybersecurity, people will no longer think about what is to be done in regards to cybersecurity. They will do it without being told or reminded to do so. However, a cybersecurity culture cannot be achieved without cybersecurity training.
Comprehensive training covering situational awareness is a perfect way to bring all stakeholders within your startup on board. In addition, you can use some of the advanced training platforms that will help you monitor and develop a security culture.
3. For Compliance
Before I explain this point, I want you to note that compliance alone can never be a reason enough to introduce a security training and awareness program in your startup. So, do not feel under pressure because you want to adhere to the rules. Compliance is for your good and not the good of anyone else.
More and more regulators such as the HIPAA, GDPR, PCI-DSS, and NIST 800-53 are demanding specific industries to implement cybersecurity training and awareness programs. Apart from ensuring that you avoid penalties and fines for non-compliance, compliance can also be a happy by-product of a cybersecurity training and awareness program.
4. Your Employees Should Know About the SSL Certificate and other Security Tools
A security training and awareness program is a comprehensive process that requires all stakeholders, including IT experts, to attend. Your IT team and other employees should be made aware of some of the security tools and protocols that are so crucial to the security of your data. One tool that must always be mentioned in the training program is the SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate is a security protocol that encrypts all the data transfers between website servers and website browsers. The certificate ensures that all communication between your servers and your users is encrypted and that no one can alter the information. All your employees need to know all this information. Some might be running their websites, and such information could also be crucial to them. One thing about a security training program you should know is that it is not all about your startup. It is also about your employees. The knowledge your employees acquire from the program can be used outside your organization.
While talking about the SSL certificate, you should remember to mention something about multi-domain certificates. Most people fear purchasing an SSL certificate because they have several domains, and they think buying the certificate for every domain might be too expensive. However, that is not the case. Just a single multi-domain SSL certificate will be enough to secure multiple domains.
Apart from the essence of SSL certificates, it would help if you also mentioned other security protocols to help your startup’s security. For example, your employees should know about firewalls, Virtual Private Networks, Kerberos, OSPF authentication, among many others. They should also be taught how to use these tools and protocols.
5. Remote Working Poses More Cybersecurity Threats
The COVID 19 pandemic brought in a new way of doing things. If your startup allows for remote working, you face a new wave of security threats. A Barracuda report shows that there was a 667% spike in Covid-19 related email attacks. Another report from Cyber Infrastructure Security Agency shows that the increase in the number of remote workers led to increased use of potentially vulnerable tools such as VPNs, Insecure Wi-Fi connections, unpatched window machines, among many other vulnerabilities. Hackers are taking this trend to their advantage and are compromising business networks.
The best way to avert these vulnerabilities is by training your employees on some of the security measures they should take when working from home. In addition, you can use the security training and awareness program to enlighten your employees on some of the best remote working practices.
6. Bolster Employee Confidence
A 2019 Kaspersky lab report shows that 69% of people said that they felt stressed by news about data breaches. You need to ensure that your employees are free from any form of anxiety and stress and that they can confidentially carry out their jobs without having to worry about data security threats. Security training and awareness programs will help fulfil this.
Apart from eliminating stress and instilling confidence, security training will also help avoid risky behaviour and instil security best practices in your employees. A confident employee is a productive employee, and your startup needs productive employees to succeed. You now know what to do to join the success path, have a comprehensive employee training program, and you are good to go.
7. Avoidance of Downtimes
In the event of a successful cybersecurity breach, hackers will bring down your critical network infrastructure. Well-established companies are likely to survive such a threat because they have adequate resources to withstand them. The case is different from startups. Most startups do not have redundant servers that cannot resist a security breach. When cybersecurity occurs, most small businesses will be unable to recover from losses, and most will shut down. A US National Cybersecurity report indicates that most small businesses (60%) will shut down after falling victims to a data breach. I am sure you do not want to shut down your startup. Having a proper security awareness and training program will help prevent some of the data breaches that could cause you to shut down.
Cybersecurity threats are increasing at an alarming rate. All businesses are at risk. Hackers will not spare your startup. You must take all the necessary steps to ensure that you are safe. One easy and cost-effective measure you can take is by having a comprehensive and effective security training program. This article has explained why you need this program for your startup.