In today’s digital landscape, cybersecurity has become a critical concern for startup founders. For tech startup founders raising funds and collecting sensitive personal data, cybersecurity is essential. Still, many founders find themselves in unfamiliar territory, unsure of how to protect the sensitive data they collect. However, failure to protect this data comes at a high cost.
According to a recent report, customer personal identifiable information is the most common and most expensive type of record lost or stolen. Data from IBM shows that in 2021, customer PII was included in 44% of breaches and the average cost per customer PII record was $180.
As a fellow startup founder, running two companies handling cybersecurity and IT, Danny Mizrahi understands the challenges startups face when it comes to cybersecurity. In a webinar for Founders Network on Aug. 8, he provided insights on cybersecurity for startups and share cybersecurity essentials that startup founders should prioritize.
“As a founder, you’re going to be asked questions about security and compliance,” Danny says. “In this session, we’re going to teach you how to navigate compliance and security questions from customers and investors without blowing your budget.”
The webinar also covered:
- Practical strategies for prioritizing essential security measures
- How to leverage available resources
- How to meet investor expectations
- How to set your startup up for long-term success.
Handle Easy Tasks First
For founders with limited resources and smaller teams, cybersecurity compliance might seem challenging. However, there are several practical steps that can be taken internally before considering external assistance. Danny emphasizes the significance of addressing fundamental security measures like patching, security awareness training, and encrypted messaging to establish a secure foundation without the need for costly compliance services.
“The biggest mistake startup founders make is not doing the easy stuff first. There’s a lot of low hanging fruit,” Danny says. “A lot of times people get scared and go straight to a compliance company. The compliance company will charge them $50,000 and the first thing they tell them is you have to do all this easy stuff. But you didn’t need to spend $50,000 to find that out.”
Navigating Compliance and Security Questions:
As a founder raising money on a shoestring budget, addressing compliance and security questions from customers and investors can be a daunting task. However, it’s crucial to navigate these inquiries effectively to build trust and demonstrate your commitment to safeguarding sensitive data.
“Typically what happens is when a startup raises money, investors will say, you need to get certified before we can invest in you,” Danny says. “Tech startups are collecting so much data and they don’t really understand how they are required to protect it. For example, startups catering to health and wellness are collecting patient data, so they have a HIPPA requirement.”
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Danny says startups often wait too long to address cybersecurity concerns. Scaling a startup requires careful planning and foresight and when cybersecurity considerations aren’t taken into account it can have consequences. By setting up secure foundations early on, startups can position themselves for long-term success and facilitate future scalability.
“People often come to us and say, we grew really quickly and now we have to take this seriously,” Danny says. “They have 40 employees and they don’t have 40 company machines and they can’t buy $80,000 worth of computers. If you want to set yourself up for success, you want to set yourself up for scale.”