Startups are always in a state of rush since they want to achieve big goal in the least possible time. While this seems like the right thing to do, they aren’t always thinking about data security as they rush to get a MVP to market. This however, is not an ideal situation to be in. With new businesses, a data breach can result in the company closing down. Not just that, the legal and business implications of poorly managed privacy and data security practices are too important to ignore. A single error can undermine the trust of investors and customers, attract unwanted regulatory attention or litigation, and ultimately, derail a start-up’s success.
To prevent such a situation and to be always on your toes, we have compile the 10 mistakes that startups make in terms of privacy and data security and which they must avoid always.
1. Allowing security to take a backseat from the very beginning
Startups often fall into the trap of thinking that they can deal with security later, when their company is larger. The problem with not taking security seriously from the beginning is that security is not built into the company’s DNA, making it a more difficult issue to deal with when it is finally faced. Hence, it is always better to know the importance of security and give it the topmost priority as far as your business is concerned.
2. Focusing on product development more than security
Startups are always looking for ways and means to get the viable product to the end users, which implies that more products mean more business and in turn more customers. This mindset leads to lapses in security in the early days of development. Building secure systems is a painstaking process that can get in the way of product development.But if a startup takes shortcuts, this will come back to bite them in the future.
3. Ignoring the personal and professional borders
Well most of the startups run on the cost cutting mantra, which often means that the employees get their own device to work. People don’t like carrying several smartphones and having to get proficient in different operating systems for tasks as checking their email or updating their calendars. However, convenience often compromises security. Workers’ personal devices can access and store sensitive corporate information locally. When the person leaves the company, the information leaves with them, forever stored on his or her device. Security-wise, this is a crucial mistake.
4. No proper exit protocols in place
Other major mistake that startups make is, depending too much on the freelancers or part-time staff. While on one hand this might look like the best possible solution, given the limited budget of the startups, data lapses and security breaches are more common with companies that depend mostly on freelancers or part-time staff unless they incorporate a predetermined exit procedure. Data loss, in the form of confidential information sharing, account access and other, is not hard to take place when sensitive corporate data remains stored on the devices of these people; they are not so security-conscious on their personal devices, or they even forget about having the information stored in the first place.
5. Ignoring relevant rules and laws
Some tech start-ups may pay little attention to the fact that businesses are governed by a wide range of laws and standards, and are expected to operate within commonly accepted practices. Ignoring these laws may lead to significant errors and trouble. Among other things, ignoring privacy or security obligations may come to haunt a start-up when it meets its first major customer or business partner. If it does not have the proper structure in place for its operations to be compliant with applicable laws, it will struggle to meet that client’s expectations, and may have to create in three months what it should have built over three years. If it cannot meet the client’s standards, it will not be able to sign a contract. Start-up tech companies may elect to ignore their legal obligations because they are small and can easily fly under the radar. They might be able to fly under the radar for a short time, but not for long.
6. Lack of proper policies for your cloud drive
While in today’s day and time Cloud Drives like Box, Dropbox and Google Drive are a fantastic way to keep your team in sync and manage documents. However, inspite of all these benefits, they are vulnerable to viruses, ransomware and unauthorized access if they are not locked down properly. Hence it is very important that anti-virus, backups, email attachment, password and access policies must be in place before allowing one user to cause problems for the whole company.
7. Lack of internal policies and not having proper structured processes in place
Technology based startups have a strong advantage when it comes to data security because they are able to apply best practices from the start. As a result, their products have never been more secure. But while they’re more secure, internal practices and protocols at tech startups have lagged behind. Credential sharing, limited use of single sign on, and poor password policies are all common examples of tech startups mistakenly not focusing enough on their own internal infrastructure and policies and the impact that it has on their data security. In the absence of rules defining who is allowed to access certain information or what uses are restricted, employees, subcontractors or visitors might inadvertently access highly confidential or sensitive data and misuse it.
8. Not being vigilant about their responsibilities
The startups sometimes outsource some functions, or locate operations in the cloud, because they do not have sufficient resources to hire personnel or to purchase equipment. In doing so, they may think they have passed on to those third parties the responsibility for their data. However, this is not the case because the entity that the customers know – not the obscure service provider – will be the one that will be sued or investigated if data is illegally processed or inadequately protected. It will be the one whose reputation and trustworthiness will be at risk.
10. Collecting too much data
Some tech start-ups tend to collect much too much data just because “we may need it later” and “storage is cheap.” The more data a company has in its custody, the more vulnerable it is to legal violations and security breaches. Collecting too much data can cause a compliance issue; some laws require entities to collect only the minimum amount of data necessary to achieve a stated purpose. Additionally, having a lot of data can become a significant charge. The more data a company has, the more time and data experts it will need to retrieve it. The larger the volume of data the higher the probability that it will be stolen.
Hence, it is very evident that technology start-ups need to be proactive about privacy and data security from a very early stage.