May 2018 FEW Women’s Start-Up Club Recap: The Importance of Cyber Security to Entrepreneurs


In our May Women’s Start-Up Club, Nicola Vote of McAfee shed light on how entrepreneurs can protect their customers and also protect their reputation and business online. And she managed to leave us all well informed, alert yet a bit “scared”, too.

Let’s jump into some definitions and which aspects are important when it comes to cyber security!

1. Cyper Crime

Cyber Crime is the fastest growing crime and it targets intellectual property. Recent statistics state that every second 12 people (consumers) become a cybercrime victim.

Ransom-ware happens often behind the scene, after you clicked on a link for example. Then the “bad guys” take over. Ransom-ware is a form of malicious software that can take over your computer, usually denying you access to your data and threating you to do more harm if you do not comply with their demands. (note: the demands will never stop).

2. Back-up

“Backing up your data is absolutely critical” BUT you have to keep the back-up physically separated at all times!  If you back up on a cloud solution, make sure you DO NOT have the cloud icon on your desktop.  (If you do, this does not qualify as a physically separate back-up)

And she strongly suggested to avoid any browser password saving!

3. Myth: Apple products are “save”

Apple / Macs are not inherently “save” and as well protected as one may want to believe. With increased market share, apple products have become the next target for hackers as they go after volume. Mobile phone security breaches have also increased drastically.

4. Smart Phones

Smart phones are basically a mini-computer and can be hacked as well. Most phone providers offer security software as part of the phone package. If you don`t know if you have it, go ask your provider. NOTE: Even if it is part of your package, you need to make sure to activate the function in order to protect your smart phone!

5. How to protect yourself

  • Protect ALL your devices with security software (even Macs)
  • Set the updates to automatic updates.(Yes, it may be annoying but helps to keep you up to date)
  • Make sure you know what happens with your data once you submitted, before you submit it. The less data you (have to) provide the better.
  • Individualize passwords for every tool you use and don`t save them in your browser.

As a business owner, educate and be aware of what is happening – know more than your customers!

6. Privacy vs Security

Privacy focuses on the data an organization collects and who can access the data. Security refers to the technology tools that are used to safeguard data. Your privacy can only be as good as the security tools implemented!

7. Nothing is really “for free”

Keep in mind “nothing is for free”! If you download any free offers or use free wifi often somewhere in the fine print it will be mentioned they might use / sell data. This includes free wifi in coffee shops. If something is offered for free via a link make sure the source / email address is the mentioned brand name for example. If in doubt do NOT open!


GDPR affects both EU citizens living in Europe and overseas, regardless of residence status. If you have a European passport, you are affected. Even if you are not European and you live overseas AND use a service based in Europe, e.g. a cloud in Europe, you are affected.

Basically it boils down to this:

1.    Make sure customers know what you do with their data (name, e-mail addresses etc).

2.    Be ready and ABLE to delete any customer data (both soft and hard copies) that you have on file upon your customer`s request within 24 hours.

3.    If you are keeping data, make sure you have been given explicit permission and have confirmed right to keep the data on hand you.

4.    Create a data retention policy that you can share with your customers and make sure you include a paragraph of WHY you keep any data.

9. PCI-DSS  (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

PCI-DSS is very important in Japan and can shut you down very quickly if not followed properly/violated. Know your obligations before you accept any credit card payment, handle any customer credit card details (e.g. if you use Square etc). Ask credit card companies for more information to educate yourself further on this! It affects small businesses as well! Google PCI-DSS Compliance for more details.

Learn More

  • Free Wifi – A good podcast to learn more about risks associated with free wifi can be found under “Hackable?” podcast.
  • GDPR – Compliance Support / Free GDPR Education (


If you feel worried and concerned and even a bit overwhelmed right now, you are not alone. Despite that, Nicola managed to keep the mood light and uplifting. It is up to everyone to be secured and save, not only for yourself but for your customers as well, as a reputation can easily be damaged. On a plus; there is a huge shortage of cybersecurity specialists – so if you have kids looking into possible career paths, that might be one way to go! (or a new biz venture opportunity?!)

Thank you all for attending this session!

Please note that our next and final WSC for this FEW year will be held on June 27th!  Learn what Archetype you are and how you can use specific vocabulary to promote your business brand.

Your WSC team,

Ann-Katrin, Mary & Tanja