General security

5 Key Steps to Survive as a Cyber Security Startup

Irfan Shakeel
May 22, 2017 by
Irfan Shakeel

With the disturbing facts that the hackers are actively breaching our computer systems and stealing our critical data and corporate information, it is required to build a strong network and security infrastructure before expanding the businesses and startups should look ahead in this regard as they are the easiest prey.

We have seen many cyber-security startups that have succeeded and become stable organizations. However, what are the key steps that they have taken to survive in the field and move towards success?

As startups have low budgets and fewer resources, many assume that they are not famed enough to attract attacker. However, it could be the worst mistake for a cyber-security startup. A network and security infrastructure is the major asset of an organization and should be developed in the initial lifecycle of the business. It shows the readiness of the organization towards cyber incidents and shows good posture in the market as well.

Today we are going to discuss the key factors that a cyber-security startup should follow to survive in the market and grow ultimately:

Focus on what matters:

Cyber hackers continue to show an abundance of motivation. They need to be successful only once to see a payoff for their efforts. However, your organization must be successful in managing an attack each and every time. Your success depends largely on knowing the value of your information assets and knowing the risks to those assets. Know your "crown jewels" and understand your friends' role in protecting them. Identifying your crown jewels will help you prioritize security investments and the security requirements for third parties that might host your data off premises.

Proactively assess your cyber risk:

It would be a bad impact of your startup if you lack cyber risk assessment or encounter any loss from such threat. Even the most mature, promising start-ups make mistakes. Tanium, the endpoint security and systems management start-up valued at some $3.7 billion, has been criticized recently. However, the readiness and response to such incident is the key factor that will lead your startup to success.

Make awareness a Part of Your Plan:

Cyber attackers are especially focused on an attack vector that exploits business users, employees, and partners—employing advanced threat techniques. Such techniques often are designed to gain intelligence or financial gain in mind—or focused on other goals that can have a material business impact. For that, most of the times they choose end users to trick them into downloading or opening a malicious file to get access to the network. By providing security awareness, employees can identify such attempts and prevent any loss.

Many organizations do not spend on awareness training due to lack of budget or unfamiliarity with the advantages it gives. By making awareness training a part of your startup will help you a lot in defeating cyber threats and building a cheap security wall against potential attacks.

Prepare a doomsday backup plan:

What if you encounter a worst-case scenario, let's say, the fallout of a specific type of cyber-attack, make sure that you have a communication and company plan of action for what you will do internally and say externally when such situation arises. You do not want to be caught out if something major happens and then start scrambling for something meaningful to say about it.

No matter how small or beginner your business is in the market, don't let any attack ruin your efforts and market worth. Always put your eyes wide open and be ready with the plan if your startup encounters a worst case that's what makes you rise above if you successfully manage to implement your backup plan with any major loss.

Get innovative with products:

Security firms face numerous challenges and no more so than start-ups trying to disrupt the hottest markets with limited resources.

"Good ideas are always copied – it is the quality of execution that differentiates," says Whitfield, explaining one of his key challenges.

"The key to success for start-ups in cyber security is around delivering innovation in one of the critical topic areas, rather than re-treading old problems, taking the time to develop a concise explanation of what problem you're solving, how big the market could be, and why this is the right team to do it makes all the difference." says Van Someren, seemingly agreeing.

What should you learn next?

What should you learn next?

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According to the tips and expert advice, it is clear that by following these steps one can surely secure his cyber-security startup. Well, to make your startup success, a complete analysis of market trends and recent problems that the world is facing and looking forward for the solution makes a complete difference. For startups, only new innovative ideas can lead towards success; else it would be hard to survive in the market.

Irfan Shakeel
Irfan Shakeel

Irfan Shakeel is the founder & CEO of An engineer, penetration tester and a security researcher. He specializes in Network, VoIP Penetration testing and digital forensics. He is the author of the book title “Hacking from Scratch”. He loves to provide training and consultancy services, and working as an independent security researcher.