Tech Startups

Safeguarding Your Tech Startup: Beyond Cybersecurity

Tech Startup Cybersecurity

The world of tech startups is one of the fastest-moving not only in this generation, but in the history of business. This has its positive and negative sides: a dynamic startup can quickly make a profit and skilfully navigate the field, but the cut-and-thrust of the sector can also leave a lot of broken dreams behind. There are countless challenges that it is important to be ready for, and while the issue of cybersecurity is one that never moves far from the mind, there are several others for which it pays to be ready. It’s essential to be cognisant of the challenges you may face with your tech startup.

The unpredictable nature of startup challenges

While not everything is about the pandemic, it did neatly illustrate the background of unpredictability all businesses face, and this goes double for nascent businesses. Whether it’s natural disasters, civil unrest or global economic instability, tech startups are as vulnerable as any business to real-world disruption. Whether global, national or local, the economy is always at the mercy of events, and a shock in one spot can cause aftershocks in others. It is therefore non-negotiable that we should be ready for “black swan” events in any way we can be.

Although people often convince themselves that tech and cyber startups are different from brick-and-mortar businesses, the differences do not extend to a lack of vulnerability. Indeed, the very low entry bar to being a tech startup means that these businesses are often more vulnerable. As they are often set up quickly and on a shoestring budget, they can be knocked off course if they haven’t taken the time to make plans for what will happen if the picture they had in mind at the outset changes quickly. And as we have seen, sometimes it can change in minutes.

Insurance: The first line of defence

Tech Startup Cybersecurity

There are innumerable steps a business can take to ensure its contingency in case of unforeseen eventualities. The first, and possibly most important, is insurance. The importance of UK business insurance cannot be disputed. Being well-insured can insulate a business against events they never would have dreamed could happen to them. From an injury to an attendee at your launch party to a claim for intellectual property theft, having thorough insurance hardens the shell of your business when it most needs it.

What insurance does most effectively is shield you against uncertainty. There may be any number of events and incidents for which you are not liable and which, in the long run, would not be your responsibility to fix. But events can lead to uncertainty, which can stymy cashflow, and it is in situations such as that that you will find yourself dependent on some way of guaranteeing continuity. When the unexpected hits you, insurance is there as that layer of protection that means the business can take the impact, recover and rebuild from a position of greater certainty.

Beyond insurance: Preparedness as a holistic concept

While insurance exists to protect businesses in a purely financial sense, there are further concerns for which a tech startup will need to be ready. World events, and those closer to home, can affect many areas of a business, and the key is to be ready with solutions to the impacts those areas can have if they are affected by unforeseen events. As a bare minimum, your tech startup should be equipped with the following:

Contingency Plans

As the pandemic showed, there are times when you have to adjust swiftly to a set of events that you could not reasonably have expected. But the key point is that the pandemic has shown us that, and so it is now essential that you have alternative plans should it be impossible to work from an office due to social distancing or travel restrictions. You should have contingency in place to allow remote working for all employees. Recent events have also shown how instability can shake a supply chain. Thus, having alternatives in a diverse supply chain is a clear necessity.

Emergency handling

Tech Startup Cybersecurity

It’s possible that your business will never face a genuine emergency such as a cyber-attack, a natural disaster or an individual with a grudge committing violent acts. It is to be hoped that this will remain a hypothetical situation, but you do need to be prepared for hypotheticals becoming realities. Staff should be trained and aware of what they can do, and what they should do, in the event that something happens. In fact, there should be emergency plans for each individual emergency that you can think of. In areas across the world there are active shooter drills, earthquake readiness drills, and similar plans. These can be a starting point for your emergency handling plans.

Communication protocols

Uncertainty is a normal response to unpredictable events. But it creates a vacuum, and you need only watch the news during a breaking story to see what happens when uncertainty is in play. Speculation can fill the vacuum and poor decisions can be made, so you need to have communication planning in place for times when uncertainty rules the roost. Your planning needs to be communicated to everyone with a stake in the business: employees, customers, investors and anyone else who stands to suffer if things go badly. Instilling confidence and certainty will protect your business against the consequences of bad decision-making.

If you have plans ready to go, protocols to act upon, and steady lines of communication, an unforeseen event can be handled with much more confidence than it would without them. It is worth making these plans well in advance, because you never know when you might need them.

In conclusion, a business that sets out ahead of time – and that means before it starts trading – to make arrangements for the negative events that can befall any business at any time, will be a business well-equipped to handle anything that might be thrown at it. It may seem like an excessive degree of caution, but as recent events have shown us, there is no such thing as too much preparedness.

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