5 Security Pitfalls That Startups Should Avoid

by Sarah Harvey / July 18th, 2019

When an entrepreneur sets out on a new business venture, there’s typically many things to take into consideration and many pitfalls to avoid. How will you raise the capital needed to get the company off the ground? Who will be a part of the team? What can you do to ensure that your products or services are ready for market? While all of these considerations are critical to the success of a startup, there’s also many pitfalls that startups must avoid, especially when it comes to information security. At KirkpatrickPrice, we believe that those pitfalls boil down to five key areas.

Not Investing in Information Security from the Start

When we say “invest in information security,” we’re alluding to two things: a personnel investment and a financial investment in a robust information security program. We often emphasize the importance of establishing a culture of compliance from the start, and this especially applies to startups because of their limited number of personnel. If an organization has five employees and only one of those employees advocates for the need to implement a robust information security program, chances are, it won’t be made a priority. If all of the executives or members of a startup are on board with information security from the start of the company, there’s a greater chance for a startup to mitigate the risks they’re faced with and, ultimately, become a successful, secure business.

Failing to Create and Implement Effective Policies and Procedures

For startups who don’t invest in information security from the start, they’ll often experience a domino effect that leads to other pitfalls. In many cases, this means that startups will fail to create and implement effective policies and procedures. But here’s what startups must understand: robust documentation of information security policies, standards, and procedures is one of the hallmarks of an effective information security program. Startups may think that because their organization is so small, they don’t need policies and procedures because they know who is taking on what responsibility. If a startup wants to position itself as a secure entity, then they must be sure to create and implement effective policies and procedures.

Not Securing Work Spaces

Many startups are now relying on shared or coworking spaces, or even have their employees working remotely full-time. What many startups don’t take into account is the information and cybersecurity risks that come with working in coworking spaces or remote environments, and they often neglect to train their employees on best practices for working remotely.

Not Establishing Effective Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

According to the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 43% of small businesses experience cyber attacks. This means that no matter which industry you’re in, there are sensitive assets that can and will be stolen by malicious hackers, so startups must make it a priority to establish and practice effective business continuity and disaster recovery plans. What would happen if a natural disaster impacted your startup’s service offerings? What if an unauthorized individual compromised your network via a phishing attempt and held your organization’s sensitive data for ransom? Would you be able to recover?

Not Planning for the Future

It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to have a successful business, but when startups fail to plan for the future and don’t understand how they need to scale their information security program as their needs and risks evolve, they become more likely to experience data breaches. In other words, an information security program at the start of a company should not be the same information security program ten years later. When developing a business model then, startups must take into account how they plan to scale their business and how their information security program will evolve over time.

Startups are faced with enough challenges during the first years in business. Don’t let information security be one of them. Learn more about how you can avoid these pitfalls by contacting us today to speak to one of our Information Security Specialists or to learn more about how our services can help you ensure the security of your business.

More Resources for Startups

How to Lead a Cybersecurity Initiative

Top 4 Information Security Concerns for Shared Working Spaces

You’re a Target for Cyber Attacks No Matter Your Business Size

Getting Executives on Board with Information Security Needs