“Startups are incredibly vulnerable to cyber-attacks in their first 18 months. If a business thinks that it’s too small to matter to cybercriminals, then it’s fooling itself with a false sense of security.” – Brian Burch, Symantec

Cybercrime is becoming a day to day reality for all businesses, however startups can be especially vulnerable for a number of reasons. New businesses usually have a long list of competing priorities and security rarely makes it to the top of that priority list.

The fallout from some form of cyber-attack can be a financial loss, reputational damage, or loss of intellectual property.  To any business these can be damaging, embarrassing and costly, but to a startup they can be fatal.  Financial losses tend to have a more significant impact on new smaller businesses.  Reputational loss can be even harder to recover from as it takes time to regain customer confidence, if you are left with a toxic brand the business may never recover.  Many startups are based on a unique idea or product, if that product or concept is stolen or copied, the projected market may become smaller, less profitable or even uncompetitive.

One of the biggest myths in Information security is that it has to be complex, expensive and restrictive, however when done properly it should not be. If good information security practices are embedded in a business from the start, they simply become part of the culture, evolve with it and protect the information assets from the start.  If your startup beats the odds and survives its infancy without a major incident, trying to retrofit the same principles at a later date can become more expensive, more complex, distracts from other core activities and in some cases simply fails.

Protecting your business against attack involves managing risk, and in most cases involves identifying those risks and implementing simple common-sense practices to mitigate those risks.  However, if all that seems a little daunting, do not be afraid to get some advice.  At CQR we pride ourselves on building long term relationships by providing the right advice at the right time to help your business protect its information assets and enable your business to grow in a safer world.