Business strategy now follows the technological strategy
Until recently, the biggest threats faced by startups were mainly due to their business model. Startups are all about growth and value. As a result, a startup business may quickly become vulnerable to cyberattack due to the technical and strategical debt of the product.
Computer Technologies are now mandatory for communication and collaboration across all employees, partners, suppliers, and customers. It support the product, the marketing channel, the competitor benchmark, the sales prospection, the customer support.
Most of startup differentiation and competitive advantage don’t lay in the technological stack. But all have communications with customers, emails with cofounders, financial records, strategic plans, budgets, marketing materials. All those materials are vital for your business. They may even be more for someone else.
Investors care about security
Early-stage and growth investors build portfolio with an inherent sense of risks. There are millions of reasons why a startup fails, not adding the cybersecurity factor.
Engaging in strategic risk mitigation is not about protecting you computer. It is about protecting the business. Startup resources are scare. The strategy is lean. The tiniest incident can generate dramatic consequences.
You are also creating a brand. From scratch. A cyber attack leading to a dataleak can break your reputation up to an unrecoverable point.
Contractual clauses ? Regulations ? An incident can trigger liability clauses. The money a startup eagerly gathered vanished into damages and interest.
Don’t build rampart, create a culture
Customers are the most important asset for startup as they contribute to the product/market fit. Validate the positioning. Feedback features and evolutions to the roadmap. They build the recurring revenue stream scrutinized by investors. All employee must care and protect customer data from day 1. Some mantra to disseminate across the company :
- Store only if the data is useful on the short term;
- Protect what is useful;
- Handle those data as is it was your grandma or children ones;
- Encrypt archived data.
Creating ownership of the whole company around the customers data will instill a painless cybersecurity culture. Without sometimes even knowing what cybersecurity means.
At early stage, startup are unlikely to bring a full-time dedicated security expert or CISO. Customer and most important investors include a minimal security baseline in their due diligence. A executive cyber risk management tool removes the cybersecurity burden on startup decision-makers while enhancing their strategic vision of the business.
Developing from the start a aware and honest vision about all business aspect, including predation and malicious actions, is key to thrives in entrepreneurship.