ENTREPRENEURSHIP / DEC. 03, 2014
version 5, draft 5

Tips for Securing Your Small Business Computers

The computers of a small business are more vulnerable than those of any other business. Constrained budgets mean that they can’t afford the state-of-the-art security systems of larger corporations. This doesn’t mean you have to play a game of chance. You can still secure the computers of your small business. In this article, we’re going to give you some top tips for securing computers in your small business.

Understand the Needs and the Risk

Get an idea of what sort of hardware and software you have. Try to identify potential areas of vulnerability from the beginning. If you have the money, you can even bring in a consultant who can do this for you. After you’ve identified the areas of vulnerability, take a look at the worst case scenario.

Smart businesses have a plan in place should they fall victim to a hacker or a major virus. Make sure you’re aware of the risks associated with extended downtime.

Begin with the Basics

Security begins with the basics. You’d be shocked at how many companies don’t even have these in place. The basics of security include:

  •          Strong passwords with both letters and numbers.
  •          Anti-virus, anti-spam, and anti-spyware software.
  •          Encryption technology to protect any wireless networks.

Keep Everything Updated

Always ensure your security systems are updated with the latest patches. What people don’t realise is that security threats change all the time. Even if you delay updating your systems by a week, you can find yourself in a situation where viruses can get through. Make sure you’re always on top of things like this.

Working Backups

In the event something does go wrong and your entire computer gets wiped, think about how you’re going to get essential files back. Every small business should have regular backups of files. This can take the form of an external hard-drive or memory stick. You can also pay a small amount of money to back up your files online. Doing so has the added bonus of allowing you to access your files from anywhere in the world from any device in the world.

Train Your Workforce

There’s nothing that ruins a security system like human error. If your state-of-the-art security procedures are being used by people who have no clue what they’re doing, you’re in trouble. It’s necessary for employees to have a complete knowledge of the importance of strong passwords, what they should and shouldn’t access, and how to point out anything they see as suspicious.

One of the biggest problems is employees using Facebook and Twitter to talk about work. They can inadvertently expose security flaws online by doing this.

Secure All Portable Devices

It’s pointless securing desktop computers and things that stay in the office when you can quite easily see a security breach from a device outside of the office. All employees need to know that they should be wary about accessing confidential company information outside of the workplace. They need to know that anyone could be watching.

Family and Business Work

Electronic devices designed for business use should never be used for anything other than work-related tasks. It’s a risk because certain websites not explicitly designed for work could harbour hidden threats that you can’t prepare for.

Consider prohibiting use of work devices for personal business. You can do this easily enough by blocking certain websites on your servers and ensuring that strong disciplinary procedures are issued against people who constantly flout the rules. There’s plenty of available software to help small businesses understand what their employees are up to.

Ultimately, the key to good security is vigilance. If you remain focused on it, the chances of sustaining a major security breach are slim.

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