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Startups are increasingly disrupting industries worldwide, using the Internet and technology to do it at the core of their business. 

In chasing the dream of becoming the next unicorn, entrepreneurs and startups commonly ignore their businesses’ cybersecurity and instead focus solely on growth.

Initially, this makes sense. At the outset, cybersecurity isn’t going to help grow a startup’s business or bring in more revenue. However, in doing this, they’re not only risking their chances of becoming the next unicorn but taking the chance of losing the business entirely.

Though, spending some time on cybersecurity and a cyber-secure culture in the early stages can pay dividends back in the not so distant future.

A cyber-secure culture easily extends to new team members as the company grows.

When a founder and their team promote cybersecurity, those priorities and values are easily communicated and promoted to new team members as the company grows. These priorities and values can also be considered in the hiring and training process, ensuring everyone working in the business aligns with the same priorities and values regarding cybersecurity.

A cyber-secure culture tackles the often weakest link.

No matter how much technology a business throws at the cybersecurity problem, people are often the weakest link and the first line of defense your business has. 

Even if there is no budget, training everyone to look out for common threats and promoting and celebrating cybersecurity priorities and values can help thwart many attacks. Especially those that target executives and employees directly like phishing, whaling, and social engineering. These may be basic, but they are instrumental.

As the business achieves growth, so does it gain visibility

I’m sure it’s no surprise; the chief aim of a startup is growth and popularity. At times, growth above all else. However, with growth and popularity comes visibility. 

Once a business or startup becomes visible, generating headlines and buzz, it also lands on cybercriminals’ radar. Regardless of the business’s size, cybercriminals can still target the business for several reasons. For cash and intellectual property, insider information, to be famous for compromising the newest startup, or even the fun of it. 

Especially these days, with the rise of privacy-aware consumers, a preventable cyber-attack could do significant damage to the business’s reputation, if not to its finances and future as well.

Cybersecurity can help with attracting investments.

There is a growing trend to use a startup’s security posture as a bargaining chip for higher investments, demonstrating how cybersecurity will resonate with consumers.

At the same time, an investor looking at a cyber-secure business may be more inclined to invest if they see how the cybersecurity contributes to protecting their investment.

Cybersecurity is becoming essential in acquisitions and mergers.

 With governments passing legislation to protect consumers’ privacy, and the news documenting the fall out of data breaches, poor cybersecurity is becoming a liability.

More companies are keying into this and are now looking at potential acquisitions’ cybersecurity as part of the due diligence process.

If the plan is to sell eventually or merge with a larger company, starting to work on your cybersecurity now will prepare the business for that point.  

Even if that is a long way off, implementing cybersecurity at that point, as a significantly larger business will be challenging and time-consuming. There could also be other effects, such as valuation decreases or scaring off buyers that we aren’t even aware of yet. 

Has your business or startup considered spending some time on cybersecurity and a cyber-secure culture in the early stages of your business?

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