Successful entrepreneurship takes a lot of preparation, planning, talent, and tenacity. It also requires that you take risks when necessary while mitigating them when not. It’s all about balance. Finding the perfect balance of risk and reward.
The last thing an entrepreneur poised for success wants is to be derailed by a preventable cyberattack or hacking experience. Fortunately, taking the right steps now can spare you the painfully harsh lessons data breaches deliver. These are a few key reasons why cybersecurity matters to you as an entrepreneur, as well as steps you can take to minimize your risks.
Small Businesses Find Cyber-Attacks Costly
Most entrepreneurs believe they are not “juicy” targets for hackers. That isn’t the case. With the average cost of a small business cyber-attack hovering just over $25,000 in 2021 and rising, the costs are a cautionary tale for entrepreneurs who would otherwise ignore cybersecurity.
Unfortunately, it isn’t even the initial price tag that is the greatest concern for many entrepreneurs and small business owners. The reality is that most small businesses (60 percent according to Cybercrime Magazine) that experience cyber-attacks are out of business within six months to one year of the attack occurring. In other words, it could cost you your business, along with all the blood, sweat, tears, and financial investments you’ve made in your business along the way.
Additionally, even as an entrepreneur, you have an obligation to protect data provided to you by customers, vendors, and employees. You may face regulatory actions and financial penalties and damages as a result of a data breach or other cyber-attack.
These are costs in addition to the dollar amounts lost from the attack itself, the loss of business that occurs because of lost data or inoperable databases, and legal fees associated with the cost of defending yourself and your business.
These costs do not even account for the amount of time and effort required to recover from a cyber-attack on your business networks. This is the time your business can never recover and time that could be much better spent building connections and making money for your business.
Previous Cyber-Attacks Damage Entrepreneur Reputations
You may have other businesses in the works. Most entrepreneurs like to keep their options open. However, the loss of a once profitable enterprise is one the average entrepreneur doesn’t want to deal with if it can be avoided. It is also a high price to pay indeed for a lack of cybersecurity preparedness and planning.
Not only does a cyber-attack place your existing business in peril. A previous cyberattack can place future ventures in peril. Entrepreneurs depend on their reputations to secure funding, forge partnerships, and build future businesses. Once that reputation is tarnished by a cyber-attack and trust erodes, it is difficult to regain so that people are willing to do business with you in the future.
Effective Cybersecurity is an Essential Tool for Building Trust with Your Target Market
The bottom line is that the people who would be your customers expect you to take cybersecurity seriously. New entrepreneurs, especially, have no history of trust with prospective customers. This means you must take the initiative when it comes to securing data if you hope to have long-term success as an entrepreneur. While it is true that entrepreneurs can start over after making mistakes and missteps, the public has a long memory when it comes to compromised data and trust is hard to rebuild once lost. It is far better to keep it from the start than to try to regain it after a breach occurs.
This means you need to make cybersecurity a priority for your business ventures from the beginning. The earlier you take control of your cybersecurity or place it in the hands of experts, the better positioned you are for continued success without the taint of a data breach to provide unwanted detours along your path.
Another reason why entrepreneurs must take cybersecurity seriously and stay on top of the threat is its constantly changing nature. Hackers are far too willing to go after their targets from all sides at once. They’ll come at your sideways, head-on, and from the rear.
When you think you’ve got it all under control, they’ll throw something new in your direction – always seeking the weakest link in your cyber defense system.
Preventing Data Breaches Before They Occur
Ultimately, successful cyber attacks against your business interests only serve to devalue your business ventures and cast doubt on you, as the entrepreneur behind them. For this reason, and so many more, prevention is the best cure.
While there is no plan that is one hundred percent effective at avoiding all possible data breaches, there are steps entrepreneurs, like you, can take to reduce your risks. One of the most important is to seek the services of someone who specializes in minimizing risks like the professionals at CISO for cybersecurity solutions that can help you get more mileage from your cybersecurity efforts.
With the rise in attacks against businesses of all sizes, it is more important than ever for entrepreneurs to pay adequate attention to cybersecurity. That means you need to have an actionable plan in place to reduce risks, respond to attacks and breaches, and reduce exposure for your customers and your business if breaches occur.
This includes many of the following tactics:
- Educating employees and staff about risky behaviors and how their behavior can place your business at risk.
- Investing in services and software to protect your networks.
- Enabling Multi Factor Authentication On Premise to make your network access more secure.
- Limiting access to sensitive data so that only those who need access have access.
- Backing up data regularly. Daily, if possible.
- Updating your systems routinely to provide the most up-to-date protection for your networks.
- Hiring experts to identify weaknesses in your current cybersecurity efforts and provide actionable solutions to improve your cybersecurity to meet the challenges constantly evolving threats deliver.
- Investing in cyber insurance coverage for your business in case your best efforts fail to prevent an attack.
Finally, you need to have a plan in place for dealing with hacks and data breaches if they occur. This includes detecting and identifying the breach, determining the scope and severity of the breach (plus any data that may have been compromised as a result of the hack), and responding to dealing with the breach itself as well as notifying the appropriate authorities, individuals, and victims.
There is no perfect plan that will prevent all cyber threats and attacks against your business interests. However, as an entrepreneur, you understand that having no plan in place is worse than having an imperfect plan in place.
Take the time, now, to address the issue and begin perfecting a plan to protect your business interests today and into the future. Organizations like CISO can be a boon for your cybersecurity efforts. However, they are only effective once you begin taking action on the advice offered. Improving your cybersecurity is not something the average entrepreneur can put off, though.
To do so presents a massive risk to not only the business you’re working to build but also to the reputation which will follow you far beyond one data breach should one occur.