Security For Startups

Among small to midsize businesses that suffer a breach, a staggering 60 percent go out of business after six months.


Editor’s note: David Cowan is a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, co-founded VeriSign, Good Technology and, and co-authored several cybersecurity patents. He is currently a director of Lifelock, iSight, Endgame, Reputation, GetInsured, Rocket Lab, Smule and Zoosk.

In the past two years, cyberspace has clearly changed in ways that threaten every online business, big or small. Startups now use the cloud infrastructure that mature companies do, and quickly aggregate large, juicy caches of private user data and payment credentials. As malware infestations scale to scour the “long tail” of targets, they don’t discriminate between the Fortune 50 and the TechCrunch 50.

In fact, some increasingly common attacks — like DDoS extortion — specifically target smaller, more vulnerable businesses, whose loose cowboy cultures, shallow security expertise, fragile infrastructure and fresh capital make for easy pickings.

Jeremy Grant at NIST reports “a relatively sharp increase in hackers and adversaries targeting small businesses.” According to a recent survey

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