With the cybersecurity threats increasing these days, no business is entirely secure. It does not matter if you’re a multinational corporation or just startup. You have to take every step to secure your company from scammers. Only once you are proactive, it is easier for you to protect your company.
Irrespective of the size of your business, chances are a wide variety of activities of your business might be online. It is your responsibility to educate the employees in your organization to keep your business safe. Online safety should be one of your key concerns. We will today highlight a few steps which you can undertake to make your startup safe from scammers.
Easy targets for scams
The startups which have most of their activities online are most susceptible to cybersecurity threats and scams. Some of the industries are at a higher threat level as compared to others. These include:
- Finance and Banking
- Tech and Fintech
One of the main reasons why these industries are more susceptible as compared to others is because of the majority of their businesses online. They rely on computers and networks a lot. If your startup is in any of these industries, it is high time that you learn more about the scams and how you can thwart them.
Banking scams are pretty common in the business industry. It does not matter if you are a startup or a full-fledged business. There are specific scams which can happen to any company. These include:
— CEO spoofing
In this identity theft scam, the fraudsters impersonate the CEO. It can be the CEO or any other staff member having complete authority over the banking accounts. Generally speaking, the scammers send an email to the finance department of the company directing them to initiate a particular transfer.
Since they impersonate or mimic the CEO, if any one of the employees of the finance department falls for it, the transfer gets initiated. In such a case, the amount goes to the account of the scammers, and they get away with the money before anyone even knows about it.
It is a good idea to always confirm with the CEO or other staff members before initiating such a transfer. If you’re the CEO of the startup, it is a good idea to develop a proper protocol before starting any financial transfers above a certain threshold.
— Invoice fraud:
In this type of scam, the scammers pose as suppliers and ask the business to deposit money to their account to facilitate the order. They impersonate the bank account of a legitimate business to convince other companies that they are a genuine company.
— Mandate fraud:
The fraud revolves around convincing other businesses to directly debit or bank transfer a certain amount to their organization. They often try to initiate a subscription so that the company continues to pay irrespective of the services rendered.
These are the common banking scams which you need to be aware of as a startup. It is essential to update your employees regarding the scams so that you can avoid them.
The best approach to avoid such scams is to develop a proper hierarchy approach which the employees, as well as the owner, need to follow with third-party companies. With redundant checks and balances in place, it is easier for you to protect your startup against scammers.
Phishing scams involve impersonating a website to gain the login credentials of the business. In most of the cases, scammers try to imitate the site of your bank. Once you log in, they get the truth of your bank account and then exploit the same to conduct transactions in their favor.
1. Email phishing:
Email phishing starts by the scammers sending you an email which looks genuine but leads to a fake website by making your bank website. They draft the email in such a way that there is always a call to action to go to your bank website and log in. Once you do that, the login details are passed on to them. They can then conduct transactions as well as view your financial information.
There are a few things which you can do when it comes to protecting your business against such phishing techniques. These include:
— You need to check the header of the email to ensure that it is not spoofed.
— You need to check the exact domain details before logging into your bank account.
— You need to conduct research on the email or other contact information like a phone number which is included in the mail that you’ve received. You can do so using tools like phone lookup software or email finder.
2. Website phishing:
Phishing involves ranking a website on the search engines or promoting it through instant messages. The site is fake and mimics your bank website or your company login portal. Once you put the details, they directly transfer it to the scammers. They can then utilize your login credentials to access your finances or check up the clients on the company portal.
These are the two types of Phishing scams. Using primary research like checking the domain before submitting your details or not clicking on unknown links can help you shield your startup against most of the scams.
Cybersecurity principles to follow
If you want to shield your organization against cybersecurity threats, there are four principles which you always need to follow. We will highlight them below.
1. Prioritizing cybersecurity:
You have to always priorities cyber-security rather than just reacting to an attack. You have to increase the budget for cyber-security. When you do so, you will be well prepared to thwart any attack rather than react after it happens.
2. Identifying and strengthening the weakest link:
You have to recognize the weakest link in your startup organization structure. You have to work consistently to eliminate that weak link or make it more secure. Once you do so, you will be strengthening your systems steadily.
3. Taking into account the human factor:
In most of the cyber-attacks, there is always a human factor involved. It is essential to try and eliminate that human factor so that the probability of an attack can be brought down.
4. Using Gen Security mechanisms:
You have to always use the Gen Security mechanisms like:
- Secure connections
- Antivirus programs
- Malware programs
- Securely configured connections
When you do so, you will be avoiding a significant number of attacks without having to take a lot of effort. Verizon’s report shows that 58 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses and startups.
Thus, when it comes to the principles of cybersecurity, these are the four principles which you need to always abide by. They will allow you to enhance the basic security of your startup against cyber attacks.
The human factor to consider
Many employees are not aware of the cybersecurity basics, rules and regulations which they need to follow. They do not even conduct a reverse phone number search and may fall prey to scams described above.
You have to avoid the contribution of human error to the cybersecurity attacks against your startup. You can do so by:
- Conducting cyber security seminars in your office
- Updating your employees regarding various steps they need to take to keep the organization safe
- Creating a hierarchical structure for data Management
- Using access control mechanisms to keep the data more confidential
- Ensuring that no employee uses illegal operating system/software
These necessary steps will ensure that the human factor is most likely eliminated. It will also help you secure your organization in a much better way.
While cybersecurity threats are on the rise but they can be thwarted to a large extent. Even with limited resources, you can do so with the help of the right planning. You can follow our guide above to secure your startup and ensure that you do not fall prey to cybersecurity threats and scammers. Once you have a definitive guide to follow, you will find it easy to secure your startup.