is an associate in Burr & Forman LLP’s Cybersecurity and Data Protection practice group in the firm’s Birmingham, Alabama office.
For more information or to contact Brooke, please visit her Firm Profile Page.
Imagine the following scenario: You have an idea for a new mobile application. As adoption of the app picks up, so does your business, and you hire more employees to provide sales and support assistance. You are on your way to transforming your startup into a successful business. Needing additional capital to scale the business more quickly, you identify a strategic partner interested in investing in your business. Before you can close on the funding, several employees report that they did not receive their paychecks through the direct deposit system. The investigation reveals that several months ago, your organization received a series of spear phishing emails. You learn that multiple employees opened the email and its attachment giving the cybercriminals access to your systems. Not only are you out the payroll money, but you also learn that in addition to your employees’ banking information, the criminals had access to your customer contact information and the source code for your app. A cyberattack is an unwelcome event for any company, but the effects can be especially detrimental to a startup, with 60% or more of small businesses that experience a data breach going out of business within a year of the breach. It is impossible for any size business to guarantee a system that is fully secure. However, not all companies have millions of dollars to invest in cybersecurity and by allocating even limited funds to assessing your data privacy risks, implementing a protection plan and creating an incident response plan, a startup can significantly improve its chances of surviving a cyberattack.