It’s no secret that technology now plays a crucial role in the business world. No matter how ‘old school’ you may be, your company simply won’t survive unless you embrace the internet, social media, mobile technology and cloud computing. It’s a brave new world, where geographical barriers no longer matter and business trips are being replaced by video conferencing and data sharing that easily traverses thousands of miles. But with all of these innovations comes a heightened level of security threat. Hackers frequently find ways inside of these complex systems almost as quickly as they are released into the marketplace, and if you don’t take cyber security seriously you could see your company’s delicate financial and customer data compromised. Although malware isn’t quite a threat on that level, issues can seriously slow down your computer and put a real crimp in your employee efficiency. Here are five ways to protect your business from potential malware threats.
First of all, make sure whatever service is hosting your company email is absolutely secure. In general, email companies don’t offer much in the way of security. A hacker with even a base understand of their systems can easily get inside your email server, pulling email addresses, passwords and personal conversations between employees and customers. Although you’ll have to pay extra, it will always be worth it to lock in a private email system specific for your company. The email addresses will be more difficult for malware to attack, as they will be coded to prevent such issues right off the bat. And you’ll also receive warnings if an email that comes in appears to hold a malware virus.
The easiest thing you can do to protect your business is to make sure your wireless network is properly encrypted. You don’t want to get lazy with your Wi-Fi network, even if you constantly have customers or employees coming in who need to access the internet. It’s always going to be better to force whomever is logging on to input their user name and password. This simple step will prevent the vast majority of hackers from getting into your company mainframe. If you don’t encrypt the network, a hacker could get in there without even being inside your building, keeping tabs on your business, observing financial transactions and copying your records as they head out over emails.
Next, make sure you have an appropriately solid password in place. You might think that something easy to remember is the way to go, especially since you probably have a dozen or more passwords to keep track of at the same time. But the more obvious it is to you, the easier it’s going to be for a hacker to figure out as well. Avoid using personal information that an interested party could find somewhere else, and try to use a string of letters in different cases and numbers that aren’t consecutive. You should also change your password at least once a quarter, and never leave it written down for someone to find.
Although firewalls have been around for quite some time in the computer world, they haven’t lost any of their effectiveness. By setting up a firewall around your company network, the computers will be almost impossible to hack into. Without a firewall you are basically leaving a point of entry. A novice hacker won’t get through, but someone who is motivated and experienced will. Firewalls can also freeze out sites known for malware, helping you avoid accidentally clicking on a damaging link.
Finally, make sure you back up all of your company data on a regular basis. You can use a company like LANDesk to do this work for you, but with some portable hard drives and a simple piece of software the process is easy enough that all of your employees should be able to figure things out on their own. Do a company-wide backup once a week, and you’ll avoid losing data if your systems are compromised.