But this can result in problems down the line, as these early decisions may force a company to retrofit already-developed infrastructure to agree with a new security mindset, creating a cascade of costs and setbacks. In a blog post, Vikrum Nijjar, co-founder and CEO of Gold Fig Labs, argued that processes should be built with a focus on limiting technical debt and minimizing the negative impacts of potential security problems.
“Improving your processes to prevent shooting yourself in the foot will pay immediate dividends,” he wrote. “Solving your startup’s problems around self-incurred outages and data loss are more pressing than InfoSec.”
With that in mind, the best way forward is to give security an early focus, implementing strong standards as a bedrock to build upon later. Utilizing starting points such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework can provide a good path forward for a lot of companies, while leaving time to consider later compliance needs.
Perhaps, later in your corporate journey, your company will find that it needs to comply with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Level 3. Maybe your organization handles medical information, requiring Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance. Or perhaps you deal with direct consumer payments, requiring Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance.
Implementing growth stage–appropriate approaches to compliance ensures that standards will be easier to meet later on — and adjust as necessary — if you take the right steps along your path now.
Scaling with Security and Compliance in Mind
Of course, once your organization gets on a growth track, the conversation about security can change significantly. Even if you do take the right steps to compliance, growth can cloud the picture around next steps.
At a minimum, startups should emphasize database encryption, strong multifactor authentication, access control policies and password policies. But with growing headcounts, this task can grow increasingly complex as more layers of access and greater compliance requirements are needed. Your company might have started without a CISO, but now, all of a sudden, you need one.
And on top of all this, the business case for implementing compliance technology matters even more if your company targets the enterprise. If your business is focused on a specific sector, your organization will likely be on the hook for compliance needs for corporate customers that are looking to avoid supply chain attacks. A failure to build strong compliance can cost your company business opportunities.
Chee Tan, vice president of business development and channels for Tugboat Logic, observes that implementing compliance automation can help ease these challenges by ensuring that the table stakes remain managed, allowing your organization to focus on higher-level compliance needs.
“Meeting security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy standards are no longer an option for companies of any size that want to grow their business,” he says. “These objectives are critical for gaining trust from customers and confidence from the investment community.”
By implementing tools targeted at automating compliance and data security needs, such as the Tugboat Logic platform, companies can focus on areas that make sense for the bottom line and improve sales cycles.