Once upon a time, there was no such thing as a cyber security threat. However, as we have found out in the news on so many occasions over recent times, this is changing. More and more businesses are taking their cyber security principles more seriously, as they bid to defy the increasing number of risks that they face in this regard.

The fact that venture capital firms like C5 Capital, run by Andre Pienaar, are investing solely in cyber security shows how important this area is. As a start-up, cyber security can be a difficult topic. After all, you don’t have huge amounts of money to spend on preventive measures, but at the same time you want to safeguard against the worst-possible scenarios.

This is where today’s guide comes into the picture. We will now take a look at four must-have cyber security policies that any start-up, regardless of their financial circumstances, should make sure they have in place.

Policy #1 – Don’t go with BYOD options

Several years ago, there was a lot of emphasis in the start-up world about Bring Your Own Device policies. After all, for those companies who were short of cash, the strategy of allowing employees to use their own devices for work purposes seemed like a no-brainer.

However, as time has progressed, it has become clear that there are umpteen security flaws with this approach. Generally, these devices don’t have anywhere near the levels of protection required to deter criminals who are looking to breach company defences. It means that your data is more at risk than ever before, and the initial benefits that a BYOD policy once provided are immediately thrown out of the window.

Policy #2 – Publish clear guidelines on opening attachments

One of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to cause chaos within a business is through email attachments. We have seen it time and time again in big companies and subsequently, smaller organizations are even more at risk.

You either need to publish internal guides, or simply stop some types of attachments being opened on company devices. This is the easiest way for malware and viruses to be installed on your machines and if this occurs, the rest can be history.

Policy #3 – The same rules as above, but with phishing

More recently, we have seen another form of cyber-attack enter the picture. This goes by the name of phishing and in its simplest terms, involves persuading someone to provide personal details following an unscrupulous email.

Quite often, these emails claim to be from large payment providers or banks, suggesting that you need to provide details such as a password. Suffice to say, you are giving criminals keys to all sorts of powerful information which can hurt your company immensely.

As a result, educate your employees about phishing and inform them about the risks of providing sensitive information following emails like the above.

Policy #4 – Make employees aware of physical threats

So far, we have focused a lot on the online threats that can impact start-ups. However, a far simpler method that cyber criminals are using involves simply looking over one’s shoulder. That’s right, you or one of your employees might be casually working in a public environment (such as the train), only for someone to peer over your shoulder and see sensitive data.

This data might be passwords, or even company financials. Again, make sure you have a policy in-place which stipulates that employees shouldn’t be using any sensitive data in public.

By John