In today's tech-centered business world, computer security issues have come front-and-center for small businesses of all types. And for good reason. Your company's computers contain valuable, irreplaceable data that make them a target for hackers, data thieves and others up to no good.
Keeping your computers and their contents safe and secure is crucial to continued business growth, as well as your personal sanity. A breach in security could be disastrous for you and your company.
Security slips can:
- Lose precious data
- Leak company or trade secrets
- Disclose sensitive customer information
- Unleash viruses on your computers
- Lead to unproductive downtime
- Require time and money to correct
Take computer security seriouslyEvery business, no matter how small, has computer security needs. If you're operating a network, using email, conducting business through a Web site, using wireless equipment or planning to grow, your security needs can be wide ranging and complex, even for a one-person operation.
Connect with security product vendors onlineA wide range of vendors supply computer security products and services designed specifically for small business.
Get a firewallA firewall is a program or hardware device that filters information coming through the Internet to your computer or network. If the firewall detects information that could be destructive to your computers or network, it blocks it. Most small business owners can get by with a software firewall or a firewall that's included in a router (a router is what connects several computers to one modem).
Prevent virusesViruses can clutter your email inbox with virus emails, make your computer run slower than usual and in worst-case scenarios, erase your hard drive.
Block spyware and adwareSpyware is software that shoots your personal information to third parties without your knowledge or permission. Adware is software that displays ads – those annoying pop-ups – on your computer even when you aren't browsing the Internet. These invaders result in network slowdowns, employee frustration and compromised privacy.
Use passwordsSecure your system, e-mail and network with passwords. Using passwords gives you greater control to limit the number of individuals who have access to your systems and your data.
National Institutes of Health offer password selection advice.
Get free security updatesIf you use Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office, take advantage of the software behemoth's free security auto-updates.
- Back-up your computers daily.
- Keep a record (but not on a business computer) of all hardware serial numbers.
- Do not send confidential e-mail from a remote location.
- Make sure you have a dedicated back-up operating system CD for every computer.
- Do not use download managers.
- Do not open forwarded e-mail attachments unless you know they're safe.