the importance of cybersecurity

Cyber ​​threats to businesses are very real. And the scale and virulence of attacks continues to increase.

However, few small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) realize that they are at as much, if not more, risk than large corporations. In fact, in 2022 alone, 61% of all cyberattacks targeted small businesses.

For a start-up, this could potentially mean the death of the company: according to the latest CESIN report, 80% of young companies attacked declared bankruptcy within 6 months of the attack, such as the American start-up CodeSpaces, forced to close their doors after a DDoS attack.

Startups facing cyber risks

Startups are most often perceived as small structures, but whatever their size, it is above all recognized for their innovative ideas, for their rapid growth and the priority given to R&D. At the beginning of their life cycle, they have fewer resources, their services and/or products are under development or improvement. Their focus is often elsewhere than cybersecurity and the security of their information system, thinking they are of little interest to hackers.

However, this year’s CESIN report is categorical: cyber risk concerns all companies and the numbers prove it: it doesn’t just happen to others. In 2021, following a cyber-attack, 6 out of 10 affected companies suffered an impact on their activity, with the main repercussions being the interruption of production (21%) and/or compromised information (14%) and/or unavailability of the website for a significant period. Three essential elements for a start-up, which cannot afford to lose production or impact its reputation.

The impact is also greater on small companies and the numbers prove it: “only” 43% of all attacks hit startups, but the latter represent 69% of the victims. They are therefore less attacked but more exposed to risk.

Therefore, there is nothing more unfounded than this belief that startups are not the main targets of a cyberattack, and there are several reasons for this.

Firstly, the threat does not necessarily come from outside, a data leak due to an employee’s clumsy gesture can happen quickly. The recent security flaw that affected Uber proves this: no company, however powerful, is immune. So it’s important to remember that every member has a role to play in your company’s cyber resiliency. It is urgent that all companies, including the smallest structures and startups, offer training to ensure a good level of knowledge for all employees. The survival of organizations depends on it!

So many startups have a data-driven business. A theft, leak or deletion of the contents of its databases is a double penalty: the activity is interrupted and the company’s reputation is irreparably tarnished.

Finally, these are organizations that have a high valuation, which sometimes raise very large funds. They are therefore identifiable and visible because they are mentioned in the press. This, along with a lack of vigilance, can guarantee disaster. They are, therefore, the main targets.

How to protect your startup?

Despite a possible lack of capital, ensuring and financing the protection of your IS, your data and/or your intellectual property represents a real saving of time and money. On the other hand, and without this upstream protection, the negative consequences associated with a cyberattack are much more expensive.

In addition, establishing protection against cyber risks has become a selection argument for investment funds. Investing in the cybersecurity of your start-up is, therefore, guaranteeing the sustainability of your entrepreneurial project.

ANSSI, through its presence on Campus Cyber, but also through the organization of dedicated events, provides online tools to help companies train their employees in cybersecurity. Thus, part of the risks can be apprehended, especially in the case of fraud (phishing, president scam, etc.).

In terms of the most advanced protection of a company’s IT system, various measures can be implemented by the Information Systems Department (DSI), based on the detection and response to incidents. However, this remains technical for small structures. A possible solution to combine tranquility, expertise, security and cost optimization is to outsource the security of your IS to specialized players, the famous SaaS solutions!

In conclusion, whether the service or product offered by a start-up is an application, an API (application programming interface) or a disruptive product, nowadays every company has a computer system connected to the Internet to operate. Implementing a cybersecurity strategy is therefore essential to being able to protect against cyber risk. Any start-up should at least fund in-house tools or even outsource to specialist cybersecurity actors to ensure they stay up and running no matter what. This is the only way to guarantee the primary objective of any start-up, namely: being able to innovate with a clear conscience. We bet that this beginning of the year can see the implementation of true cybernetic strategies in companies, both the most powerful and the smallest, because they are all fragile in the face of the threat.

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