1. Remember that your smartphones and tablets are computers. Ensure they are secure (backed, password protected and malware free). If they are connected to your computer network, and are not secure, your network could be infected.
2. Before you throw out old devices ensure you have no data on these devices. Throwing out an old phone with a list of customers or personal information is not good.
3. If you have apps or online software custom created ensure it is securely coded. One big source for security breaches is incorrectly programmed software.
Security is always one of those topics that are often ignored by business owners. So many of them focus on social media and marketing to get new customers (which they should) yet they do not spend enough time focused on ensuring their business is secure. I can understand why – it’s not easy, is boring, you think “nothing will happen to me”, and it’s simply not a priority.
Cindy Bates, Microsoft Vice President of U.S.
Small and Medium Business and Distribution offers some insight into how your business can be more secure in the follow guest post, and I’ve added a few more of my own. Enjoy!
1. Secure your software – One of the most effective ways to keep your network secure is really very simple, and that’s by promptly responding to software update alerts or changing your PC settings toinstall automatic updates. You’ll also want to install anti-malware software from a reputable vendorand keep that updated, too.
2. Make every effort to use newer versions of operating systems, browsers, etc., since they tend to bemore secure than their predecessors. Internet Explorer 8 comes with numerous security features,including a Smart Screen Filter that helps block malware and a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Filter thathelps users avoid website vulnerabilities. Also, newer operating systems, like Windows 7, are moreresilient to malware and include features that protect data on hard drives and removable disk drivesshould laptops be stolen or lost.
3. Take preventive measures – There are many ways you can heighten security without spending adime. For instance, you can practice “least privilege,” a computing practice that limits the function semployees have on their PCs to only job-related tasks.
4. Additionally, you can opt to encrypt data on all computers and storage devices, a measure that will make your sensitive business informationindecipherable to intruders should computers or laptops get lost or stolen.
5. To avoid the threat of employees surfing compromised websites, mandate the use of browsers that include appropriate protection features.
6. Promote employee awareness – Safe computing is everyone’s responsibility, so keep youremployees up-to-speed on safe computing practices. For instance, while at work, your employeesmay spend time on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which can be easy gateways formalware and phishing scams. Stress to your employees the importance of not clicking on suspicious links while on social networking sites or anywhere else on the Web, and informing companyleadership immediately if they suspect any threats to your network security. Enforce the use ofstrong passwords and make sure employees know only to open email attachments they’re expectingto receive.
7. Leverage free resources – Many IT companies offer free security tools and resources that smallbusinesses can use to better protect themselves from the latest threats. Microsoft SecurityEssentials, for example, provides free, anti-virus protection to businesses and consumers. Twicea year, Microsoft also publishes its Security Intelligence Report, a free analysis of the top securitythreats and concerns, which always includes guidelines for protection.
8. However, just because a security resource or tool might be free, that doesn’t make it legitimate. Rogue security software also is an ongoing threat, so stick with reputable vendors with solid trackrecords of providing security support.
[Editor’s comment – I speak with many business owners and individuals who complain about spy ware and other malicious software on their computer. After a little digging I find that their computer is full of “free” software that is full of extra goodies – like spyware.]
By adopting these simple steps, you’ll go a long way toward protecting your business and its data fromcybercrime. For more free tips on securing your business data, visit www.microsoft.com/security.
Three more tips from from Ramon Ray, Smallbiztechnology.com
9. Engage a local security consultant, not your web designer, to audit your businesses network, digital assets, computers and mobile technology and ensure you are as secure as possible.
10. Don’t ignore your mobile devices – as you and your employees travel around, their is a lot of information stored on their phones, USB drives, tablets and notebook computers. Make sure these devices are backed up and secure.
11. Ensure you backup all your data. While you cannot prevent an earthquake or fire, you can ensure that if your business life is interrupted that your data is safe and secure.