People usually ask a lot of questions about cybersecurity certifications. The cost and effort required can be intimidating for early-stage companies. The jargon alone can cause headaches: SOC 2/3, ISO27001, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, PIPEDA, and CCPA.


The goal is to reframe certifications from minimum operational requirements to actual strategic capabilities that can drive growth.


Here are three reasons why startups need these certifications and why large organizations often ask for them:


The building of trust 


Building a secure system is not enough when it comes to cybersecurity. The security measures you use also need to be trusted by your customers. Both initiatives are equally important, and they are separate initiatives. 


Trust prevents you from taking advantage of significant opportunities. NBC considered early-stage companies for a partnership and declined their first choice in favor of startups with certifications. For young companies aiming high, certificates are essentially a given.


Certification provides a common language.

It can be challenging to earn security certifications, but they can simplify your security efforts. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel because they give us a common framework. Through the Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores, Fondeadora obtained a full banking license in Mexico last year. Despite not requiring an international certification, Mexico’s national requirements overlapped with ISO27001’s requirements.


Certifications are only a starting point.

In building robust and trustworthy security mechanisms at your startup, doing the bare minimum to satisfy regulators and partners will only get you so far.


As threats evolve, so will the requirements for these certifications, warns Boucher. The best approach is to start with credentials and make security an integral part of the culture and product of your company, rather than going for the lowest common denominator.


Change of mindset

In my experience working with C-level executives, the most critical thing you can do is change your mindset. Entrepreneurs are addicted to the oxygen of growth and innovation, and focusing on certifications may cause a young, nimble company to become bureaucratic and inefficient. However, these certifications can also enable you to pursue more significant partnerships and take on even greater risks.

After obtaining the certification, you will have laid the groundwork for growth opportunities you may never have experienced otherwise. A prenuptial agreement is a kind of like a marriage built on trust. These relationships must continue long after the honeymoon is over.

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