Vakhtang Mosidze, IT consultant at PayPugs, has been in the IT industry for more than 20 years. He also holds a master’s degree in physics, making him a versatile individual.
His passion for IT and security (such as access control and security systems) has not dulled over the years and has given him the needed expertise to give advice to others.
He now consults at PayPugs where he will be giving advice to startup owners looking to ensure that their systems are safe and secure.
Why startups need proper infrastructure
Almost all startups have the digital infrastructure in place to do their tasks. “The IT infrastructure can be seen as a pipeline, everything is dependent on how it’s built,” says Vakhtang.
If there are some problems with security, like some data being stolen, usually the problem lies with the infrastructure, not the code. But it is the owner of the code who deals with the consequences.
According to Vakhtang, “most cases of hacking or breaks are caused by infrastructure failures. Therefore it is important for startups to have good infrastructure to ensure that their data and the data of their clients stays safe.”
A safe and stable infrastructure also allows for better integration for the startup. This means that should you expand, you can build onto the current infrastructure instead of having to build or implement a new one from scratch.
As a startup, your clients’ peace of mind is the most important factor to consider in analysing whether your infrastructure is sound. All the bells and whistles in the world will not help your clients if they cannot be absolutely sure that their data will be stored and processed safely and securely.
Infrastructure security is an active practice, not a checklist to follow. “The infrastructure security of any project is not just a set of firewalls, hardware and proper installation, it’s also a set of policies and rules which must be followed,” says Vakhtang.
What risks startups face and why
When your data security infrastructure is fragile and easy to hack into, it can cause your startup to lose a lot of data and of course, there are financial consequences to consider.
“In most cases, startups see infrastructure security as a secondary commitment,” says Vakhtang. They do not want to spend a lot of money on good infrastructure, and that is where their mistake lies most of the time. They believe that because something is built or stored in the cloud that it must be safe from criminals, but that is just not the case.
Sure, when working with a prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP), that might seem to be fine. But assuming the MVP goes well, the company is built and you need to upload and process the data of clients, businesses need to make sure that the data is safe and secure. A solid infrastructure with the right security is then needed, and if you did not start with that as part of your plan from the get-go you are going to have to start over just at the moment that your business is scaling.
Businesses must prepare for the worst-case scenario, whether it is a hardware or software fail. But, most importantly, the hardware should be the number one priority when starting out. When the hardware is of proper quality, the software that is built on it will be of top quality as well.
One thing that startups often don’t think about, is the security of their hardware. They do not think: what if someone hits it with a hammer? If something like this were to happen, then no matter how good the software infrastructure was, everything could be lost.
Therefore, environmental causes should also be taken into consideration – there are many ways to physically destroy hardware—such as wires, or central processing units (CPUs).
The next thing startups often do not consider, says Vakhtang, is hiding in the team itself. Sometimes the way that data is shared among team members can also be a concern. It can be that team members share links and information among themselves, in an open and collaborative team environment, without regard to how the data is accessed or by whom. And where it is saved.
How PayPugs Ventures can help
“Before PayPugs Ventures invests in a startup, we request the blueprints of the infrastructure from the startup,” says Vakhtang.
“That way we know what infrastructure the startup is working with and will then give advice on where the improvements should be made.”
Vakhtang says “we will not only observe what the startup is doing, but we will also jump in and assist the startup with their infrastructure. We act as a consulting service and that helps them to build the proper infrastructure.”
We give clear messages on where improvements should be made and even how they can be made. Once those improvements are made to the infrastructure, then PayPugs Ventures will move on to the next steps of the investment process.