As startups increasingly rely on technology, it’s important to note that with the convenience of computers comes more cybercrime than ever. In fact, cybercrime is now one of the main reasons for bankruptcy and lawsuits within the business world, so it’s no surprise that many businesses have increased their cyber security budgets in recent years. The U.S government, for example, will increase its cyber security budget from $14 billion in 2016 to about $19 billion next year.
Fortunately, you can take the following steps to reduce the odds that your business is affected by cybercrime.
Do be cautious with your passwords
Make sure any passwords you use for your business are difficult to guess. The strongest passwords usually have at least 10 characters, with a mix of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and even special characters. You should also avoid using the same password for all of your accounts, since this means a cybercriminal has access to several accounts once he or she guesses the password for one.
Don’t fall for common email scams
It may be tempting to click on a link or download an attachment when you get an email, especially if you recognize the company name. Keep in mind that it’s always possible the email senders are not who they claim to be. An email that appears to be from your bank, asking you to verify private information, such as your social security number and account number, may be from a scammer out to steal sensitive details. An email with an attachment could be from a cybercriminal trying to get you to download malware so he or she can access your private information. You can avoid this issue by not clicking on links or downloading attachments from people you don’t know and are not expecting email from.
Related: Protecting Yourself From Ransomware
Do have a plan in place
You need to move quickly if you do experience cybercrime against your startup business. If you take days to address the problem, you’re making it easy for cyber criminals to get away with your personal information and cause damage to your customers, partners, employees and your business as a whole. When you have a plan in place, you can act quickly to reduce the damage. Having a plan means knowing who to contact to report missing equipment or files, and also knowing how to lock the cybercriminal out of your accounts so you can keep the damage from getting worse.
Don’t forget to train your staff
Maybe you know these guidelines for avoiding cybercrime, but this doesn’t help your business if your staff is unaware. After all, 90 percent of malware needs human interaction before it’s able to infect the targeted computer. This is why you should make sure you train all employees to create strong passwords and avoid clicking suspicious links or downloading attachments on company computers.
Do protect your business with insurance
Taking steps to prevent cybercrime is important, but sometimes you just can’t keep it from happening. For this reason, you need a backup plan, and that comes in the form of cybercrime insurance. This type of coverage can help cover the costs that data breaches, malware and other types of cybercrime can cause to your business. Considering that this can add up to millions of dollars or more very quickly, it’s worth the peace of mind you’ll have as you work on reducing your chance of being a target of cybercrime.