Defence is the best offence: Why startups should prioritise cybersecurity even when scaling their business

The past years have seen an unprecedented migration of transactions and interactions from offline to digital-first platforms, fueling the rise of a new wave of startups. In this landscape, startups have become especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks. As they expand their digital footprint through increased online transactions, data storage, and communication, they inadvertently create more entry points for potential attacks.

Case in point: Carousell, one of Singapore’s most well-known digital-first startups, announced last year that it suffered a personal data security breach which saw information from 2.6 million accounts being sold on the Dark Web and hacking forums. In a similar incident, Indonesia fintech Cermati was reported to have 2.9 million of its users’ data leaked and sold.

A single data breach can cost a startup millions of dollars in lost revenue, damaged reputation, and legal fees. While some of these can be recuperated through cyber insurance, the reputational damage can be irreversible, especially for startups trying to establish their reputation and presence in a nascent market.

That’s why it’s so important for startups to scale their cybersecurity along with the business at an early stage. By doing so, startups can build an unfair advantage over their competitors.