4 Ways Startups Can Protect Network Security: A Risk-Based Approach

Posted on December 1, 2017 - by Darryl MacLeod - in Building Your InfoSec Program

You have a great idea for a startup. So you come up with a solid business plan. You pitch it over and over and over. You get funding. Everything is in place. Then a data breach happens. Your customers aren’t happy. Your investors aren’t happy. What went wrong? network security?

For most startups security isn’t a priority. Security teams and budgets can be small, or non-existent, and resources can be hard to find (our resources can be found right here!). Getting a product or service to market in the shortest amount of time is priority number one. Implementing effective network security controls can often delay revenue from coming in.

Startups often cannot afford to have any kind of extensive change management process. There is often no time to perform any type of secure code review.

Here are a few tips for how startups can proactively protect their network security:

1) Open Communication of Security Incidents

Startups need to create an environment where employees are motivated to openly communicate security incidents and report them without worrying about any repercussions. However, it can be difficult to speak up if you see a huge security issue. Make sure your employees feel comfortable and know the process for reporting problems.

2) Security Awareness

Startups have to look for creative ways to educate employees about security breaches and incidents. Look for free or affordable options to educate your employees and get them thinking about mundane yet important topics like network security. When you’re paying attention, you’ll find lots of educational opportunities.

3) Vulnerability Scanning

New vulnerabilities turn up almost daily, so it is critical that they identify them with scanning tools and fix them in a timely manner. These tools should be able to do the following:

  • Run vulnerability scans on a regular basis to identify any anomalies
  • Categorize known vulnerabilities based on a risk rating scheme
  • Suggest remediation steps, if any exist

4) Risk Analysis

It’s very important that startups understand potential business threats before they start to protect their data. Implementing risk analysis frameworks, such as Open FAIR, can certainly help to:

Information security doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive for startups that use a risk-based approach to security. They can implement increased security in a cost-effective manner by targeting well-known risk areas from the start. By performing an analysis and focusing on high-risk areas, startups that have limited budgets and teams can still create strong security.

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About the author

Darryl MacLeod is an information security expert, a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.