Top Cyber Security Mistakes Startups Make

Here We are going to discuss about some of the top cyber security mistakes startups make. Thanks to the flourishing start-up ecosystem, there is a surge of entrepreneurs coming up with innovative and bright ideas and delivering great products and services.


Today in the DevOps world, the startup philosophy is to try to get the product out in the market as quickly as possible. This is due to fact that startups during their early stages aim for rapid growth. However, Cybersecurity today is a growing challenge among big and small companies alike. For small business information protection is even more important as it can adversely affect the business and even force the company out of business in some cases.


List of the top cyber security mistakes startups make :

  • Security an Afterthought:

    Security is always an afterthought for startups. Most startups go for security assessment because either some customer has specifically asked for it or they want to comply with some industry regulations. Startups security approach is in most cases reactive.


  • No Security testing and security architecture review of product and services: 

    Startups primary focus is on how to make their idea work. All they think about is faster product development, frequent feature releases and fast time to market. In this case security takes a backseat. In this process, the final product is inherently insecure and has many common security loopholes. Cost of fixing a vulnerability in production can be up to 30x of the cost of fixing it at earlier stages.


  • No process for timely system update and patching:

    Since there is no defined security roles in startups, the systems and platforms used to develop the product are left unpatched for critical vulnerabilities for long time. This exposes the systems for external attacks and sometimes becomes victims of malware campaigns on internet.


  • No security awareness for employees:

    There is no security awareness to employees. Many startups employees use their personal devices to handle and manipulate and store sensitive data and files. Such devices are carelessly managed and company has no security oversight on them. This increases the possibility of data breaches through their devices. Employees must be educated of security implications of such incidents and must be trained in security best practices to maintain proper security hygiene


  • Use of public cloud for storage and delivery, without any security and risk oversight:

    Startups often use public cloud services like O365, Dropbox, Google drive etc. for collaboration and convenience of file sharing. They also use AWS and other public cloud services to host their applications and run critical business functions. While these services are cost-effective, they surely come with their own share of risk. Startups are required to assess and implement proper security measures before considering these services. Failing which they may violate compliance requirement or become victim of data breaches and cyber-attacks.


  • Ad-hoc Focus on Prevention, None on Detection & Response:

    Most organisations take an ad-hoc approach to implementing security controls, primarily focusing on prevention (e.g.: Endpoint Security / Antivirus, Firewall etc.), but have not thought about detecting or responding to breaches in a timely manner. Detection & response should be a key component of any security program in a startup.


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