When it comes to early-stage startups and cybersecurity, the two concepts do not always go hand-in-hand. In this write-up, we'll explain the importance of cybersecurity and how it will build trust with customers and investors.
Cybersecurity, data privacy, and regulatory compliance have become increasingly essential business challenges for startups and global organizations alike, and these issues impact starting, running, investing, or acquiring a business.
Today's consumer has become more focused on data protection and privacy and has less confidence in a startup's ability to safeguard digital assets.
Consumer Trust - Trust in a digital world is harder to earn and keep, and startups are considered riskier by the average consumer.
Meeting Standards - Enterprise customers expect mature data protection, and data privacy practices and early startups can struggle to meet standards.
Regulatory Costs - Solving for the evolving regulatory landscape only gets more expensive with time and company scale
If you answered yes to any of the above, then security, privacy, and compliance need consideration early and often.
Simply put, you cannot do business without cybersecurity, data privacy, and regulatory compliance in mind today
A few other reasons you need to consider security, data privacy, and compliance:
Simply put, you cannot do business without cybersecurity, data privacy, and regulatory compliance in mind today (at least not for very long).
Many startups gauge their level of involvement and commitment to cybersecurity based on either the company's financial expense or certain financial milestones.
Instead of waiting for a specific windfall event or a set number of times a customer asks about your cybersecurity practices, do this instead:
Price You Pay to Play - Some enterprise customers will require specific security and regulatory compliance levels even to do business (i.e., SOC2, PCI-DSS, etc.).
Security Sells - Security and compliance are selling points in the current state of the world, and your customers will expect it. Security, or lack thereof, could make or break your first big B2B customer.
Create Your Moat - Do what others will not. Security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance in your industry can make you stand out and create a competitive barrier to entry into your market.
Limit Security Debt - Cybersecurity, data privacy, and regulatory compliance design decisions early on cost a lot less than down the road as your company begin to scale as customers, and requirements get larger.
Create a Security Culture - Adopt strong security and data privacy practices from the beginning and make it a part of everyone's job. Security is more process than technology.
Do the Right Things - And Do the Things Right. You can't be good at everything early on, so pick a few things to be very good at and make it an essential piece of how you operate.
Work the Plan - You don't have to have it all done up front, but you have to plan to get it all done. Customers will be OK with timelines to get compliant or resolve security issues. Customers will **NOT** be OK with no plans.
While not meant to be an exhaustive or exact list on what may work for your company, here is a sample guide on what you can do now with associated timelines:
Use What You Have (0-3 months):
Know Yourself and Know Your Vendors (0-3 months):
Understand Compliance in Your Industry (3-6 months):
Get Outside Support (6-9 months):
Nail the Basics (9-12 months):
Work Smarter, Not Harder (9-12 months):
Test Yourself (12+ months):
Every scenario will be different, and the risk of your particular company should be driving your roadmap here. Adjust as needed.
We hope this detailed write-up has been useful for you! Every startup has dreams of being a "big" or "real" company one day. The goal here is to learn how to bake security in from the beginning so the company's security response can adapt to the changing risk posture and goals as the company grows. If you can do this successfully before reaching too much velocity, you can combat security debt and use security to accelerate your growth.
Previously published at https://fractionconsulting.co/securing-your-startup
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