How Cybersecurity Impacts Funding and IPO

Business owners have a long list of responsibilities. They wear many hats; from running the business, iterating on MVP or product, to filing for IPO or finding funding. Australian startups and SMEs typically focus on agility, rapid iteration cycles, and preparing for a successful IPO or fundraising series. Cybersecurity is not always top of mind, especially in the early stages of a business. It is understandable, too. For business owners, it may be difficult to consider cyber culture with only a few months of runway yet.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals aren’t the only ones taking notice of weak or vulnerable cybersecurity practices. Regulators and potential stakeholders are noticing too, prompting an even greater focus on cybersecurity resilience at the early stages.

Proactive vs. Reactive

The Australian government has been creating more laws and regulations around data privacy, storage, and collection over the past five years. Companies who experience a successful data breach now must notify regulators and impacted stakeholders or customers. They also face hefty fines and penalties.

If such a breach were to occur during the process of IPO or acquisition, it is very likely that the company’s options will be limited or severely impacted.

Cyber resilience across SMEs and small business varies significantly. Some industries have had long-standing obligations to protect consumer data, while other industries have not faced the same requirements until recently. While the levels of preparedness vary, the consequences of a potential breach do not.

Cybercrime is an enormously profitable industry. According to a Cyberwarfare 2021 report, cyber attacks are predicted to result in AU $15 trillion worth of damages by 2025. The increase in attacks also calls for a subsequent increase in employee cybersecurity awareness training and other proactive measures. While many companies have some element of cybersecurity in place, defences often can, and therefore should, be strengthened substantially.

Cyber Vulnerabilities can Impact Capital Raising, IPO, and Acquisition

We are now noticing yet another driving force for why business leaders should prioritise cybersecurity even if they’re tempted to put it on the backburner in the early stages of their company.

I’ve previously discussed the financial and reputational damages associated with data breaches. However, leaders seeking funding, acquisition, or IPO have an ever greater motivation to improve cyber awareness and resilience in their organisations.

Investors are becoming more aware of the prevalence and consequences of cyberattacks. Would-be investors are now more likely to consider weak cybersecurity practices as a fundamental vulnerability in a company’s overall potential offering. A lack of provable, concrete cyber practices in place serves as a red flag and potential liability to investors or larger companies considering entering business relationships.

The takeaway? Organisations that do not have their ducks in a row with their cybersecurity awareness training and overall cyber strategy will have a much harder time entering partnerships and obtaining funding.

The Intention Counts

The Australian Cyber Security Centre defines cyber resilience as, “The ability to adapt to disruptions caused by cybersecurity incidents while maintaining continuous business operations.”

Fortunately, business owners need only have the intention to build a cyber aware culture into their workplace. The subsequent time and monetary investment is minimal compared to the consequences of inaction. Cybersecurity and cybersecurity awareness training can and should be outsourced to teams and companies that specialise in cybersecurity. This is truly a win-win situation for business leaders managing the day-to-day of their SME or startup, who can reap the benefits of protecting their people, customers, and data from breaches and look desirable to investors without adding another task on their already-full plates.

About PhishNet

PhishNet delivers highly effective, engaging and affordable cybersecurity awareness training that empowers staff to reduce an organisation’s risk.

Talk to PhishNet today to learn more or check out our free Risk Assessment.

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