3 Ways to Secure Your Tech Startup’s Systems
Tech startups operate in highly competitive environments, and every edge you can realize counts. Cybersecurity isn’t an edge when you first think of it, but it has an outsized impact on your organization. Put simply, cybersecurity is something that can sink your company if it goes wrong, even if it doesn’t directly contribute to product differentiation.
The average tech startup has an attack surface that is considerably spread out. Attack surface management is challenging in the modern era, given the number of machines and automated processes within infrastructure complicating security tasks.
Here are 3 security processes that ensure your startup isn’t unduly exposed to cyber-attacks.
Examine network endpoints
The average organization’s network these days is pretty wide. Given the rise of remote work, securing network endpoints (places where people log into your network) is challenging. For starters, you must mandate the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) when employees log into your systems. VPNs won’t eliminate every security threat but go a long way towards limiting unauthorized access.
Aside from VPNs, mandating the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) must be standard. MFA grants access to systems based on two factors of authentication, usually a password and a one-time code. MFA will prevent common attacks where a malicious actor guesses an employee’s weak password.
On the technical side, install robust endpoint protection systems such as network firewalls or comprehensive EDR platforms to secure your network. These systems will filter malicious traffic out and govern network access. They also automate several security tasks, making your security team’s life a lot easier.
Take the time to define security processes and endpoint detection methods. You can follow well-established security frameworks such as MITRE ATT&CK to design robust security processes. These frameworks simplify security design and give you a blueprint validated for industry best practices.
The result is a strong security posture from the beginning at a cost-effective price.
Invest in employee education
Phishing remains one of the most effective ways for an attacker to infiltrate a network. Despite the significant advantages in technology, the humble email inbox remains one of the most vulnerable portions of your cyber security framework. It’s tempting to blame human incompetence for such incidents.
However, true responsibility lies with companies. You must invest in cybersecurity training programs that result in changed behavior, instead of increased awareness. For instance, most existing security training programs focus on educating employees on the latest security hacking techniques.
Mere awareness does not help an employee identify a possible phish. Just because they know someone might request information by impersonating the CEO does not mean they’ll identify fraudulent requests. Training and simulation is the solution. By exposing employees to potential attacks in a safe environment, you’ll build their competence to a level where they’ll react the right way when a threat occurs.
Good training also reduces the time your security team has to spend monitoring and educating employees. By automating education via a platform and monitoring training data, you can design a skills map in your organization and address weak spots.
As a result, your security team can focus on critical vulnerabilities that pose the biggest risks.
Test for vulnerabilities constantly
Every organization tests its systems and code for vulnerabilities. However, few do so constantly. Continuously validating and testing your network for frailties is essential in the modern threat environment. Attackers routinely use AI and other sophisticated tech to ping and learn about an organization’s vulnerabilities.
A static security posture, that relies on periodic updates, does not stand a chance against such attackers. Instead, use a system that constantly tests your network by replicating attacks against it. By learning about your systems’ vulnerabilities in a safe environment like this, you can quickly address any gaps and prevent attacks by malicious actors.
Automated security validation can also secure other parts of your system by examining the most common attack vectors. For instance, configuration errors within your systems can lead to attacks. Automatically checking for such errors goes a long way toward preventing such incidents.
Combine automated security testing with penetration testing. Pentests dive deep into your systems and examine deep-seated issues if any. In a fast-paced startup, you might think you don’t have time to conduct pentests. However, allow your security team to conduct such tests at least once every quarter.
The cost of missing a vulnerability is far greater than the inconvenience of running a test. Prioritize them, and you’ll build a secure environment easily in the long run.
Success begins with security
Robust cybersecurity is essential to building a successful organization. Fast-paced tech startups can seem challenging to secure. However, a lot of security emanates from following a few best practices. Follow the tips in this article, and you’ll have no problems securing your systems against malicious actors.