Here Are Some Tips For Startups And Coworking Spaces Regarding Cybersecurity

Everyone knows that the first chapter in a new business is often a difficult one. As the most critical period in your startup’s development, there’s a lot to account for to ensure you spend money wisely, make the right investments, and develop an optimal foundation for your new business.

It’s during this startup period that many new businesses look for ways to innovate with their limited budget and turn to disruptive new strategies to keep their costs low – initiatives like coworking spaces and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

However, with these innovations come serious risks – this is precisely what members of the Nexus IT Consultants team appeared on Mountain Connections to talk about recently:

“There is a time and place for them, we’ve seen a number of mature companies use them effectively,” said Earl Foote, CEO, Nexus IT. “Disruptive things like co-working spaces and BYOD policies can make people quite lazy about cybersecurity and compliance. It can give them a false sense of security.”

The fact is that, in certain industries, such as healthcare and finances, businesses need to be compliant, and that is far more difficult to achieve in a coworking space, or when relying on a network of personal devices.

Do You Have Your Own Network?

“The one thing that we would advise when working in the coworking spaces, is that you have your own network, have your own secure connection,” said Travis Gunn, VP of Business Relations, Nexus IT. “Separate yourself off to the extent that it’s yours.”

This is a key consideration for organizations that share spaces with others. Using the same kitchen is one thing; using the same network is another. It puts your data at serious risk if you don’t have control over the network you use and who else has access to it.

“We were recently working with a coworking space that was having some massive IT and network challenges,” said Earl. “We found that there were quite a few rogue things going on in there.”

One key security risk they discovered were a number of honeypots – fake wireless access points with the same network ID as legitimate ones. These fake networks trick users into connecting, at which point cybercriminals can access and siphon their data. That’s why you need your own network.

BYOD May Be Convenient – But Is It Secure?

“When you’re looking at BYOD, and when you have to be compliant, you have to have administrative control over that device,” said Earl. “Some people are going to be sensitive about that, they don’t want you to have that level of control. But without that, you aren’t compliant.”

BYOD is a company policy that dictates how your employees use their personal devices for work purposes, prioritizing security above most other concerns. BYODs are beneficial for businesses because they save time and money; instead of investing in business-owned mobile devices and training employees to use them properly, BYOD allows the business to let their employees supply a device that they’re already comfortable using.

However, if you’re going to allow your employees to use their own devices, there have to be some controls put in place. You need to have administrative access to those devices in order to protect your business data.

Can You Afford A CIO or CTO?

“It can be really challenging to hire a $150,000 – $200,000 per year CIO or CTO,” said Lindsey Ivie, Director of Strategic Partners, Nexus IT. “You can’t afford that in those early stages.”

If you’re the owner or CEO of a small business, then you’re probably already functioning as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) as well.

Most small businesses can’t justify paying for both. This means you have to take time from your priorities to manage your technology, ensure that it’s secure and decide what IT solutions to use. It’s not as easy to do this as it was in years past, simply because of the fast-evolving nature of technology, and the increasing incidence of hacking and data breaches.

But, did you know that you can “hire” a Virtual CIO (vCIO) at a fraction of the cost of hiring a CIO?

A virtual CIO is a technology service provider who serves as your CIO. They help you develop an IT Strategic Plan, with up-to-date resources to ensure security, productivity, and efficiency. Rather than hiring your vCIO, you pay for the service on an on-demand basis.

This frees you from the daily worry about technology and whether it will run as it should. It also frees up your limited internal resources and allows your employees to concentrate on their core responsibilities.

For more information regarding cybersecurity best practices, click here to get in touch with one of our representatives or call us at (435) 200-3572.