Computer and Device Security

Computer and Device Security

Just like the cyber threats millions of small business owners face every day, measures to limit your vulnerabilities and protect your assets are dynamic and ever changing. However, there are some very basic measures that should be considered as a platform from which to begin protecting your business. These six simple solutions address vulnerabilities in the people, process, and technologies associated with your day-to-day operations.

1) Run and update your security software. This includes software concerning firewalls, antivirus, identity theft, intrusion prevention, email scanning, spyware detection and more. Have you ever noticed that the first time you boot up a new computer it seems to be lightning fast? Soon you connect that computer to the Internet, don’t update the security software like you should or forget to renew your annual subscription. We all know what happens next, you wonder why your computer is now so slow.
2) Make sure to update your Windows operating system. This can also include your web browsers, email programs, and other office applications. As hackers and other cyber criminals spend more time examining the vulnerabilities of these systems, the manufacturers are continuously countering with patches to any holes that are being exploited. As a small business owner who cannot dedicate a large amount of resources to cyber security, taking advantage of these updates should be a critical component of your cyber security plan.
3) Consider utilizing two-factor authentication. Traditional authentication is something a user knows. Two factor authentication use something user has (i.e. fingerprint, small token card) and something the users knows(i.e. password). This method of identification will increase your certainty that only authorized users are accessing your business’ data. Now you say whoa….I can’t buy the extra equipment for two factor authentication. Frankly, you don’t have to. We recently looked at several of the larger PC vendors and the models of laptops they offer…many include fingerprint readers, and some even included facial recognition software. All for under $600. Technology is out there and available, but like passwords, if you don’t use it can’t protect you.
4) Do not rely on users to maintain security. Your users might not be intending to cause harm with the download or installation of the occasional plug in or program needed to complete some business related tasks, but what if in doing so they unknowingly hand over the keys to sensitive information to attackers? Make sure to educate your users on the importance of cyber security but know that proper oversight is required to protect your assets.
5) Backup your data. The aftermath of a cyber attack could present your business with compromised or lost data. One way to mitigate this symptom is to back up your data. Several options are available including onsite and offsite backup. There are services available for very reasonable fees to backup your system online with a third-party vendor. Portable hard drives that back up your system are a great choice. Backing up your data to a thumb drive in many instances could be sufficient. Bottom line – one copy of your most precious resource is never enough. A wise prevention plan always recognizes the potential risk and will include some form of damage mitigation.
6) Provide Security Protection for your users. Make sure your users are educated about the products they are using. These security protection products like Norton or Trend Micro are not self sufficient one time remedies, but if given to an educated user, can be useful tools in protecting your business and customers.