Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Protecting your small business from hackers

It’s not only the large corporations that are targeted by criminals, but also small businesses such as yours. This is because small businesses do not have the resources that they require to protect their IT infrastructure. Here are a few reasons why you should improve your IT security especially if you’re a small business:

You need to protect your customer’s credit card information. There is even a greater risk of fraudulent activity as a majority of credit card transactions are online.

Manage your brand reputation. By having the best IT security in place, you protect your business and customers and, most importantly, maintain your reputation as a secure place to do business.

Protection from viruses /spyware. Another potential risk is viruses, which can create chaos on your business. Many viruses can shut down entire computer networks and even email systems. Once a virus has infected your computer, it will start sending emails to anyone listed in your address book, harming your reputation. This threat alone should be enough of an incentive to improve your IT security.

Once your infrastructure is compromised, the cost to purchase new software and hardware or even to manage crisis communications can be high. It doesn’t matter if the threat comes from an employee, a virus or a hacker, there are some easy ways to prevent and avoid these events. Here are some tips in protecting your company:

1. Get a reliable host service for your website and database. Make sure that they are reliable and have a good reputation. Ask for client testimonials when vetting vendors.

2. Verify that all your employees are using the current and up to date browsers. One of the easiest ways viruses and spyware can infect a computer is by exploiting weaknesses found in the browser.

3. Make sure that an anti-virus program is installed on all computers. This includes your servers. Keep the program current at all times.

4. Manage all your passwords at a single place using a password manager. And ask your employees to create passwords that are random. Do not use easily remembered passwords such as family names, pet names and such. Ask your employees to not keep the passwords where they are easily accessible.

5. Monitor internet usage. As employees could inadvertently come across malware or phishing sites allowing their computers to be hacked.

6. Protect your Wi-fi connection. Password protect your connection and make sure that your hardware is modern.

These are some steps that you can take to prevent unauthorized security breaches and will provide you with a solid foundation to protect yourself from basic malicious attacks.

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