The internet brought forth the age of home-based entrepreneurship. Whether you want to sell products online or launch an SaaS startup from scratch, all the resources you need are now accessible through your online browser.
But as the world grows more connected through the IoT, enterprises big and small need to be craftier and more resourceful when it comes to cybersecurity.
According to statistics, that 60% of small businesses and startups fail within six months after being targeted by a cyber-attack. This means you should never skimp on security even in the early stages of your venture, especially now that skilled hackers can easily tap into the power of IoT devices to ignite all-out cyber warfare whenever they want.
But how can a startup that’s barely on its feet afford adequate security against the myriad of cyber threats out there? Simple – they need to focus on cost-effective security tools and DIY strategies to protect their data without breaking the bank.
1. Leverage Free DDoS Protection from Cloud Platforms
A DDoS or ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ attack is a major cyber threat wherein hackers attempt to bring a site down and deny service to its legitimate users. They usually leverage a network of infected computers, also known as ‘botnets’, to spam traffic and overload a website’s servers. As a result, you may lose several days’ worth of revenue and suffer a stained brand image for providing a bad experience to your existing customers.
Fortunately, you can easily deploy basic DDoS protection from providers like Cloudflare. Even with the free plan, your online business can have basic protection against cyber-attacks through SSL encryption and page rules. You can even take advantage of the free ‘Content Delivery Network’ or CDN to improve the page loading time for your online audience worldwide.
2. Utilize Encrypted Messaging when Working with Freelancers
Hiring freelancers is one of the fastest ways to mobilize your business plans. However, you need to be extremely careful when exchanging sensitive information online. To keep conversations private, you can use messaging apps with built-in encryption features like Telegram. Alternatively, you can enable encryption features in email clients like Microsoft Outlook.
In case your remote team prefers working in libraries, coffee shops, or any other public place, encourage them to do so via ‘Virtual Private Network’ or VPN. Doing so will prevent hackers from intercepting the information that they send and receive whilst connected to a public WiFi network.
3. Use Parental Control Tools
As a home-based entrepreneur, you may think that your children are the least of your worries when it comes to cybersecurity. But under the wrong circumstances, they could be the biggest physical and digital hazards in your home office. Apart from accidental spills and food droppings on important documents, children may also download malware into their devices unknowingly, which can easily spread to other devices in your network as they attempt to transfer files.
One way to childproof your home office and protect your data is to go paperless. For this, you’ll need cloud platforms like Dropbox or the G Suite. When it comes to their online safety, the easiest way to keep them protected is to use a comprehensive parental control software like Norton Family Premier. This will allow you to prohibit access to unsafe and inappropriate web content.
4. Implement DIY Smart Home Security for Physical Break-Ins
Home-based businesses typically employ professional security services to keep their assets safe from cyber criminals. While the initial fees of these services are more than reasonable, they often involve recurring costs that can quickly accumulate over time – from monitoring to the occasional maintenance.
Fortunately, there are now more cost-effective and lightweight platforms that can get the job done. With the help of IoT devices, home-based entrepreneurs can easily build their own smart home security infrastructure to protect against physical break-ins.
Here is an infographic that demonstrates the difference between DIY home security and traditional security services:
5. Keeping Multiple Off-Site Backups
In 2014, Code Spaces – a UK-based SaaS startup – closed its doors after being hit by a DDoS attack and having their data on Amazon stolen by a hacker. Although not a lot of startups are prepared for such level of attacks, one of the main reasons why Code Spaces wasn’t able to recover is because they crammed all their backup data in the same location as everything else.
To avoid sharing the same fate, be sure to create multiple offsite backups of your important data. Doing so serves as a failsafe that will help you stay in business even after suffering a cyber-attack. In addition to creating backups to physical drives, you can also save your data through automated services to avoid the hassle of frequently creating backups.
Startup Grind is a Silicon Valley-based organization that educates and mentors entrepreneurs through monthly business events and speaking series in cities across the globe