Cloud Security Survival Guide for Tech Start-ups

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The competition has never been steeper in the tech development market. Large corporations are dominating the market with new products, while emerging tech companies are struggling to find a place in the starting line.

Fortunately, cloud computing has become a major equaliser, giving smaller companies access to enterprise-level resources at an affordable price.

But just because the cloud makes things easier doesn’t mean companies can shirk their security responsibilities. If you run a tech start-up that’s currently operating in the cloud, here’s what you need to do to survive.

Start early

From requirement gathering and analysis to coding and product testing, tech start-ups have a lot on their plate from Day 1; which is often why security tends to get neglected. As a start-up company, you might think that it’s not necessary to tackle it early on; but when it comes to security, an early investment can save you from financial and reputational ruin.

Even if you’re not ready to deploy a system-wide security centre; you can take small steps towards a more secure cloud environment.

For starters, you should be aware that all companies; big and small, tech-focused or not; are exposed to numerous threats on a daily basis. Next, get security monitoring software like advanced firewalls and intrusion prevention systems; so you can see what’s happening throughout your networks and block any malicious content.

Invest in cloud protections

Cloud environments are safer than most in-house data centres because they’re expertly managed by a third party. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need additional security tools.  Accounts and sensitive files still need to be protected; so when you’re searching for a cloud provider, make sure they offer the following security measures:

  • Access management – allows you to set account and data privileges based on user roles and devices.
  • Multi-factor authentication – adds another layer of protection when verifying someone’s identity besides login credentials.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) policies – identifies, monitors, and safeguards sensitive information across your cloud accounts.
  • Encryption systems – encodes your files so that unauthorised users won’t be able to read them.

Create an informative security awareness campaign

Despite installing security tools, your employees; no matter how tech-savvy still pose security threats to your firm. One reckless click on an unsolicited email can lead to a major data breach; so training your employees to practice safe web habits is crucial.

When conducting training seminars, focus on cybersecurity issues like online scams, specifically how to identify and avoid them; and the importance of setting unique and longer passwords to defend against account hijacking. This is also a perfect opportunity to remind your employees to update their software routinely and to avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.

Your training seminars could be a lecture or an informal lunch-and-learn session; but regardless of what you choose, they should be held at least once a month to keep awareness levels high. Check out our previous blog for more ideas on what to include in your security training programme.

Stay alert at conventions

Tech companies live and breathe IT, which in turn exposes them to more risks than your average firm. For instance, while tech conferences like CeBIT Australia are a great opportunity to present you innovations, they’re also a hacker’s ideal hunting grounds.

With so many devices out in the open and so many people to target, hackers can easily plug in a malware-infected thumb drive into any device undetected.

To avoid this, take inventory of all the devices you’re bringing and never leave them unattended. If you need to; make sure it’s locked or protected with a strong password.

Although it’s tempting, do not connect to the conference’s public Wi-Fi network, as hackers could be using it to deliver stealthy intrusions.

Also, watch what you share in public. Posting a picture of your booth on social media is fine, but it can quickly turn into a security nightmare if sensitive information is visible in the background. Even something as innocuous as discussing your latest projects with colleagues can put your business at risk if it’s overheard by the wrong person.

Check for vulnerabilities regularly

A lesson you’ll constantly hear from us is that cybersecurity is constant and never-ending. When someone discovers a new vulnerability to exploit or creates a new strain of malware, thousands of copycats are sure to follow.

To make sure you’re protected; you must constantly ask yourself: “Do my current system configurations follow best practices?” This means enlisting the help of security experts to perform vulnerability assessments to precisely determine where your problems are and respond as quickly as possible.

Of course, if you have limited resources to devote to security, you can always rely on Empower IT. As one of Australia’s leading cloud services providers, we offer holistic and scalable cybersecurity solutions to secure your cloud environment.

Call us today. No matter the size and industry of your business, we’ll protect you.