How to Protect Your Business From Hackers

Mon, Jun 25, 2012


Hackers have become a real, valid concern in business, and it isn’t only the major corporations that are at risk. Although it’s the massive hacking attacks against government agencies or large companies that get all the headlines, small businesses consistently find themselves as targets as well. In fact, more than 60% of all cyber attacks come against companies that have less than 100 employees. So if you have a business that manages important data through an online network, you must take your computer security seriously. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can follow to minimize your exposure to cyber attacks. Here are some simple things you can do starting right now to help protect your business from hackers.

First and foremost, don’t forget about antivirus software. Make sure that you are using a solid, name brand antivirus software, whether you run your business on Macs or PCs, and update it frequently. New viruses are discovered all the time, so if you don’t update the software it could miss something. Once it’s current, run regular scans on every computer in your office. This will insure that there isn’t some sort of virus or malware hanging out on one computer that could spread to others in the office.

Also take the time to educate each of your employees as to best practices to prevent possible hacking of the company’s systems. Post up a list of guidelines for how you want data handled and safely transmitted. If you have computer systems at the office that contain sensitive information, make sure anyone who uses it understands how that information must be managed. And follow up with people, either through training sessions or through your managers, to make sure that the rules are fully understood.

Once each computer is safe and your staff understands the ground rules, you’ll have to set up a firewall on your internet service. You should have this professionally done, either by your IT department or an outside service, to make sure you aren’t an easy target for cyber attack. The firewall is a great way to safeguard your network, but there are other regular practices you should follow as well. First off, always protect your wireless network with a password, and hide if it if you have the option. Never keep the password that comes installed on your wireless router, but set up a new one that only employees who deal with the system know. And make sure you change all of the passwords on your internet and your computers at least once every ninety days. The longer you keep a password in place, the greater the chances someone looking to break in will figure it out.

Now that the computers and internet service are safeguarded, it’s time to put a couple of common sense practices in place. First of all, back up all of your information on a regular basis. If your system does pick up some sort of virus, you don’t want to lose all of your precious information. Keep a regular schedule and back up all important data to a cloud storage or physical hard drive system. When it comes to emails, never open any attachment you don’t recognize, especially if it isn’t from a trusted email address. And ditch any unnecessary programs on your computers. That random shape generator you pulled off the internet may look great running behind all of the screen protectors, but it could also act as a way into your system for a savvy hacker. Keep only necessary programs on your computers, and you’ll be better off.

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