Picture this: you’re working your way through your lists of leads, trying, mostly in vain, to find new clients. During your meetings, one of the most common objections that invariably comes up is a lack of trust.
For larger businesses, it’s difficult to place faith in a company that doesn’t give them every assurance that they’re storing customer data securely. It’s not just about doing the work internally, it’s about implementing verifiable, measurable best practices in cybersecurity. Therefore, you’ll want to hire a consultant that provides cybersecurity services for startups to help you counter these objections more effectively.
This article by EliteSec will outline which cybersecurity solutions you should seek to enhance your position on the market and increase sales.
What Are Cybersecurity Services?
Simply put, cybersecurity services are a set of security techniques and best practices that companies implement to protect their network, data, and hardware computers from cyber attacks and other unauthorized access. These services are provided by cybersecurity companies with special knowledge in the field. They usually understand a wide range of tactics that hackers use, including viruses, malware, phishing attacks, ransomware, and much more.
To counter these cyber threats, a cybersecurity consultant might offer the following services:
- Vulnerability Assessments: These account for potential security vulnerabilities and gaps throughout your systems, network, and apps.
- Penetration Tests: Once you find vulnerabilities, penetration tests will simulate a malicious attack against your system. The goal of these tests is to gain access to your system and see how far the tester can take it before they are finally unable to advance further. The ultimate goal of these tests is to gain administrative privileges over your system. Moreover, they are often required by various industry regulatory bodies.
- Firewalls and Threat Detection: Cybersecurity companies can help you build a customized firewall for your startup to help ensure secure access to your assets.
- Security Programs: Aside from the services we mentioned, cybersecurity professionals can develop a range of highly specified programs to help protect your computer and cloud infrastructure. They might develop security policies and procedures for your company and train your employees on best practices.
Which Services Boost Your Startup’s Sales Exactly?
If buyers are concerned about your company’s security policy, the best course of action is to gather more credentials and evidence to demonstrate that your internal security operations are reliable and trustworthy. Penetration testing is a major part of obtaining industry-specific security credentials. Many larger companies will refuse to work with you if you don’t adhere to specific standards required by their industry.
Furthermore, when you’re communicating with the decision-maker at a large company, they will want to see some proof that your internal security strategy is solid. Without revealing too much information, you should document the process that the security professional you hired used to secure your assets. Having a web page or a white paper that explains this in detail will go a long way to instilling confidence in your prospects.
So, what are some accreditations your startup could pursue? It really depends on your industry. SOC2, ISO27001, and PCI-DSS are all examples of relevant data protection frameworks. Each contains a set of security guidelines that your organization could implement. Alternatively, if you’re seeking global customers, you’ll need to comply with GDPR privacy laws in the EU.
Keep in mind that to fulfil these guidelines successfully, you’ll need to enlist the services of a cybersecurity consultant who understands all the hoops you need to jump through.
What Types of Startups Need Cybersecurity Solutions?
Maybe some of these buyer issues we’ve mentioned don’t resonate with you. To clarify things, let’s go over some of the industries that are covered by strict regulations.
Healthcare companies are subject to stringent data protection standards. After all, these companies hold a vast array of extremely private health records, and a data breach would be catastrophic.
Therefore, the US instituted the HIPAA, which outlines industry standards for the privacy and security of customer records. As a result, there are very particular measures that organizations that hold this data must implement to protect customers from data breaches. It takes a cyber security expert to help you navigate these regulations and devise a proper plan.
Financial startups should also know that much of the information they collect is extremely sensitive. Moreover, since its possession could give hackers access to untold amounts of funds, it’s the perfect target for greedy cyber criminals.
Hence, you’re required to comply with regulations such as PCI-DSS and GLBA. Keep in mind that if you handle sensitive financial data, no customer or financial institution that does their research will want to work with you. They don’t want to expose themselves to a severe hack that ruins their reputation.
Almost any tech startup will likely end up collecting customer data too. And as such, you’ll need to adhere to generalized regulations like the GDPR and CCPA to protect customers' personal data. Furthermore, implementing security policies will indicate to clients that you’re not some kind of fly-by-night organization that’s just trying to amass as much personal data as possible. It can help you elevate consumer confidence.
Of course, if you’re running a major eCommerce operation, you might be required to comply with certain data regulation policies to access certain markets. Therefore, as you expand to different countries, you’ll want to get on top of local regulations. The main one is the PCI-DSS, which regulates your collection of credit card data.
Usually, a business serving the education & learning niche has major hurdles to overcome when it comes to being accepted by schools. That’s because they usually serve government clients who are extremely wary of a security breach. The fact these educational tools often serve children adds another layer of regulatory complexity to the pile. You must demonstrate to clients in the e-learning niche that you’re extremely careful about protecting sensitive data.
7 Steps To Implementing A Rock-Solid Data Security Strategy
First, Get Ready To Record Everything
You should keep track of the whole process for three reasons. Firstly, you want to document your activities to help you remember them for the future. Secondly, you should record as much as possible to provide evidence that reasonable precautions were taken in case you suffer a security breach. Finally, having this information in hand will allow you to position your startup as one that prepares thoroughly for security crises, and eliminates potential vulnerabilities before they arise.
Evaluate Your Vulnerabilities
Once you’ve established a plan for how to record and represent your security measures, you can hire a cybersecurity company to assess your vulnerabilities. They should perform a comprehensive evaluation of your current cybersecurity practices, identifying potential weaknesses in your application security, cloud storage, asset inventory, and more.
Develop Your Strategy
With the results of your assessment in hand, your cybersecurity consultant will collaborate with you to construct a strategy to protect your business. That includes a wide range of policies and procedures that must be maintained to keep your system secure. They will also help you implement security controls that draw from a variety of cybersecurity tools. Finally, they will create detailed incident response plans that will help you and your employees take the proper measures immediately after a security breach is detected.
Implementing industry-recognized frameworks like CIS controls and NIST Cyber Security is important for this step. Anyone who quickly scans your security posture will immediately recognize these frameworks, so it’s good to have them included.
Implement Security Systems
To effectively carry out your strategy, you’ll need to implement each data access control it recommends. For instance, firewalls and intrusion detection systems, antivirus software, and more.
Of course, part of the value of having a cybersecurity expert here lies in the fact that they can help you choose software. After all, they have a range of experience to understand each software’s capabilities and choose the appropriate one for the challenges that you’re facing.
Now that you have a range of cybersecurity tools and processes at your fingertips, you’ll need to train your employees to use them. Moreover, you want to get ahead of the curve and instruct those employees on your organization’s security best practices. Each new employee will need to go through this too, so it’s best to develop a replicable cybersecurity program that covers everything from password management to preventing phishing attacks.
In our work at EliteSec, we go an extra step with employee training by conducting tabletop exercises where we present employees with a simulated attack scenario. Your employees will be forced to make security decisions, and we’ll evaluate their actions and guide them on how to improve in the case of a real event.
Since cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, you’ll need to perform a continuous risk assessment and monitor your company’s systems and networks. A consultant can also help you implement a testing and monitoring procedure that you can run periodically. Moreover, you might want to call a fractional CISO to come and work with you on an ongoing basis to see how your security posture can improve, and prevent newly developed hacking strategies ahead of time.
Finally, you’ll want to use all these processes to validate that you are compliant with whatever industry standards you might need to comply with. As we mentioned earlier, demonstrating to your customers that you are committed to these widely-recognized security standards helps differentiate your startup from the lazy ones. To them, vendor risk management is essential.
How Are You Protecting Your Customers' Sensitive Data?
At this point, you know what the stakes are. The startup landscape is competitive. Many companies simply won’t work with you if you don’t exemplify devotion to cybersecurity. Whether you do that through credentials, or showing your prospects a clear account of your internal processes is up to you.
Your next step is to reach out to a cybersecurity consultant to help you fill in the gaps. You won’t think of every security risk yourself, and you certainly won’t know what steps to take to prevent them. Given your busy schedule, it’s best to enlist the services of a cybersecurity professional like EliteSec.
Reach out to us for a free 30-minute consultation call to see what points of differentiation your cybersecurity strategy needs.
We would be more than happy to discuss this topic further and help you build out your own security controls for your organization. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to chat with you!