Five online security tips for start-ups

Every year, one in five businesses is affected by cybercrime

On Sunday 22 June, the Chamber of Commerce is organising the latest edition of national Start-ups Day. For many people, the event is a springboard for the realisation of their dream of going into business. And, in the modern world, that often implies doing business on line. The internet brings great opportunities, but also significant risks. Every year, one in five businesses is affected by cybercrime, according to our recent survey of trends in online security and e-identity. So how can a start-up use the internet without getting into hot water? Here's our advice, in the form of five handy tips:

1. Understand that the internet matters to every business

Many new businesses don't protect themselves against online threats, because they don't think they'll be targeted. 'We don't sell on the internet -- only from the shop,' they'll say. Nowadays, however, every business is an IT business. Think about all the hardware and software you'll be using and where everything will be hosted. How vulnerable is it? What would it cost you if it went down for a day or a week?

2. When getting a website, look at more than the price

When deciding where to buy website hosting services, many businesses look only at the price. But security really matters too. How much will the service provider you're considering do to keep your data secure? Use an online checklist to find out how security compliant a provider is. And ask a prospective provider for guidance: what would you advise? A good place to go for a website check is .

3. Ask who's in control of your domain name

Your website's all in order, but your domain name suddenly points to a fake webshop? That sort of thing happens to a lot of small businesses. The underlying reason is often that their domain name was registered to someone else -- maybe the web designer. So the small business doesn't actually control its own name. Avoid such problems by making sure that you are the formal 'registrant' of the domain name you use.

4. Think about personal data

If you save information about individual people anywhere, in any way, be aware that you are required by law to take good care of that data. The GDPR is a Europe-wide law that covers customer data and data about suppliers, leads and other contacts. Many businesspeople think that the GDPR doesn't apply to them, because they work exclusively with other businesses, not private individuals. However, information about a business contact will often count as personal data, and is therefore covered by the GDPR. Use this checklist to see what you should do.

5. Pay ongoing attention to security

Finally: cybersecurity isn't something that you sort out, and then forget about. There's more to security than buying a computer and setting it up with good antivirus software. All your systems require ongoing attention. Until when are your updates guaranteed? Set a recurring reminder on your calendar, so you don't forget to check that your hardware and software are fully updated. Want to know more? Visit for Dutch-language advice.


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