5 Ways Businesses Can Have a Startup Mindset for Cybersecurity

4 Min Read

Cybersecurity is multifaceted. It’s not just technical controls and policies and procedures but culture too. That’s why companies that are founded with a startup mindset, a clear network architecture, and tough cybersecurity policies in place have an easier time of it than companies that have to add security to their legacy systems, established operations, and often-reluctant workforce. 

Meeting cybersecurity standards ahead of the pack can be a competitive advantage—one that sets companies up to be more strategic about additional cybersecurity investments and decisions. That’s why it’s important for established businesses to pull from the playbook of new businesses in implementing cybersecurity

Here are five takeaways that can help any company trying to enhance its security profile.

Move fast

New businesses are eager to work through operational issues so they can focus on their core business. The lesson for you: Once you know what you need to do, move fast. The longer you wait to make changes, the costlier they are. Applying the brakes on inevitable changes, like security or modernization, delays costs but also benefits.

Company-wide thinking

New companies tend to be more egalitarian than established ones, so determining and implementing new policies or procedures involves everyone. Learn from that and communicate your needs for increased cybersecurity to your entire workforce. Be clear about changes, what will happen, when, who it impacts, and why it’s important. 

Top representatives from across the company to help with cybersecurity, too. Who better to point out risks, define needs, and share departmental challenges than those with front-line knowledge? The process may mean additional training for that group but you won’t regret it, and will help drive a culture of security.

Bring in experts

Startups know what they don’t know and quickly turn to experts for help. In the same way, your organization can benefit from a cybersecurity partner. Cybersecurity consultants take the pressure off IT, upskill existing staff, and provide a more efficient path to getting compliant and protecting the company. 

Borrow and evolve

Startups take proven best practices and adapt them for their own use. Learn from this: There’s no need to reinvent the wheel regarding cybersecurity policies and procedures when best practices abound. Borrow the basics and evolve them to fit your business plan and employees. Thoughtful policies start with the philosophy, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do, tell me how I can do it safely.”

Get involved

In startups, everyone rolls up their sleeves and pitches in to get things done. The same mindset is important for leaders of established companies adding cybersecurity. The top brass needs to show their commitment to cybersecurity, not just talk about it. They can do that by:

  • Prioritizing budgets, time, and other resources for cybersecurity
  • Becoming knowledgeable and involved in compliance initiatives
  • Demonstrating that they personally follow protocols
  • Having zero tolerance for non-compliance

You can teach an old dog new tricks, and startups are a great place for more established companies to look for fresh ideas and approaches, including how to smoothly integrate cybersecurity into the flow and fabric of operations.


Edward Tuorinsky, Founder and Managing Principal of DTS, a government and commercial consulting business, brings more than two decades of experience in management consulting and information technology services. 

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