Startups want to acquire as many loyal customers as they can in a short time. Customer loyalty results from various factors that a startup founder needs to be aware of -- one of them is security awareness. In this post, I will draw attention to the issues “why your startup needs cybersecurity policies” and “how do you set up security for your startup.”
Why should startups care about security?
Web applications are critical for all organizations, especially for startups, when building customer trust in a short time. An application for a startup is the first place where your potential customers get information about you. It is also the primary way they interact with you.
We all know that security is vital no matter whether it’s a mobile or a web application. Nevertheless, it’s sometimes challenging to urge a developer’s attention to possible vulnerabilities. The time after an attack is just too late to think about security, and it costs you a lot.
And, why don't they?
Finding money, neglecting marketing and sales, and releasing features fast is why you might have to keep your application security tasks at the backlog for such a long time. Especially fast-growing startups spend most of their energy developing new features to fulfill their customers’ needs and keep them happy quickly.
CTO’s and co-founders of fast-growing startups will understand if they think about their task prioritization in their daily operations. In some cases, the team doesn’t have the resources for experienced and dedicated security staff. It is another primary reason why we keep our eyes close to the most major security vulnerabilities.
Where to start?
Considering that you have limited security staff resources and minimal knowledge, where do you start?
There are several resources on the internet (mostly free) waiting for you to help you learn application security:
Online security groups
Using tools to leverage security knowledge
If you don’t have time to do research, there also many tools (mostly free) available for you to leverage your security knowledge:
Vulnerability scanners which are automated tools that scan web applications (OWASP, Pentest-Tools, Amazon Inspector, Detectify, Security for Everyone, etc.)
Third-party penetration testing technologies
Security training courses (Udemy: Cyber Security Course for Beginners, Future Learn: Introduction to Cyber Security, Coursera: Cybersecurity Specialization)
Get your developers to care about security
Not surprisingly, there is always a potential for defensiveness when developers receive feedback from security tests. It is understandable when we consider the time and effort they put into the code they’ve built.
You need first to educate the team in terms of cybersecurity. Then, there must be a motivation to keep the team’s attention to security. Finally, the mechanism will be complete when you find out the value of creating a secure code.
Prioritize potential security issues
There will be many security issues flagged during the penetration testing, and it would not be very comforting at the beginning. Triaging these issues will be the critical point when you don’t know where to begin.
One common tactic is to start with high-risk and low-cost security issues. It will boost your value-based mechanism, and your team will get even more motivated when they see the results.
Think of your customer first
The first thing a customer will look for is reassurance that your organization is taking a responsible approach to security. A customer can immediately forget your product if they experience a situation that might let them think that your application has a security risk. It is tough to regain these customers.
Application security is crucial for tech startups, and customers know common data privacy issues. As a co-founder or a CTO, you must make your software secure to get the trust of your customers in the long term.