How Solopreneurs and Startups can Prevent Data Breaches
Cybersavvy solopreneurs know that they are responsible for any issues related to cybersecurity and data protection concerning their business. Digital nomads, who travel frequently, need to be particularly cautious about preventing data breaches that are a result of a lost or stolen device. Beyond prevention, however, there is the tone that you set for your business as well. As the head of cybersecurity in your business, you play a key role in developing your brand image as one that meets service standards of privacy that users would choose over your competitors.
For makers and startups in general, it is vital to reflect this in their brand, since makers and startups who seek funding need to be able demonstrate that they meet the necessary cybersecurity and privacy standards to investors.
Unfortunately, the topics of cybersecurity and data protection are anything but straightforward and easy to comprehend – the legal details on privacy, especially when it comes to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are written in legal jargon that is difficult to understand. This creates an environment where solopreneurs and makers are constantly concerned about not meeting these regulations and getting into legal trouble.
So how can solopreneurs and makers ensure that both their data and their client’s data are safe and secure?
Introducing: The Cybersavviness Checklist
Today, solopreneurs and makers are facing an increasing number of challenges in ensuring the safety of their business, including a shortage of resources, even though the requirements for safety are almost equal to that of a larger enterprise. As a Data Protection Officer, I have first-hand experience with the complexity of the compliance landscape and specifically the requirements of the GDPR, which concerns any business that processes the personal data of European citizens, irrespective of where they are located. My education as a cyberanthropologist has also made me aware of the behaviour of both makers and users in the cyberspace and how it poses a threat to not only themselves, but their networks and users as well.
While working on the ebook Your Cyberpower: How to Safeguard Your Remote Business I had the opportunity to join the Vienna Makers Group moderated by Sebastien Vercammen. There we came up with the idea of generating a checklist as people, and business owners in particular, love checklists. They greatly assist with time management, can simplify complex tasks, instill discipline and good habits, are an efficient way to complete repetitive tasks, and help reduce anxiety. The ten checkpoints of the checklist we are building cover some essential aspects of cybersecurity and privacy, discussed in more depth in the book.
With my background in anthropology, we applied best practice ethnographic research methods to the making of digital products to develop a checklist to guard clients against these threats. In other words, we took traditional field research methods such as interviews, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and participant observation and translated them to the digital space with a mix of small and big data as in surveys, landing pages, online interviews and analytics.
First, we set up a landing page to gauge interest in addition to sending a survey to our early adopters to understand the needs of makers and solopreneurs as well as their level of expertise of the subject matter. Our initial findings were that our audience is particularly interested in learning more about how they can improve their data protection, cybersecurity and on-the-road safety.
We then drafted a few checkpoints and conducted semi-structured interviews to verify our initial findings from the survey and that the checklist was effective. After conducting a few interviews with early adopters, we found that users want an action plan to follow-up on the key learning, so we are including a three-day action plan (one hands-on action per day) with links to best solutions so that they can immediately start making their business cybersavvy.
This is the full package that we are aiming to deliver to clients:
Taking Those First Steps Towards Compliance and Safety
After seeing many makers and solopreneurs hit a stumbling block with regards to their cybersecurity, my goal was to raise awareness for the potential risks and threats posed to these businesses, including data breaches. I also wanted to provide a simple and easy head start for these business owners to become more cybersavvy and take those first steps towards compliance. As users become increasingly conscious about how their data is handled and investors demand makers and startups demonstrate compliance, becoming cybersavvy will become a winning strategy for these startups and entrepreneurs.
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Digital transformation strategist | Privacy advisor | Cyber anthropologist | Author