Computer viruses are all over the media these days. Just reading the news, you get a glimpse of how often it happens, and the companies dealing with the repercussions are big names. There are viruses that destroy, viruses that steal, and viruses that just wreak havoc. Sure, you have anti-virus software and you update it regularly, but if you think that is keeping you safe, you’re wrong. Anti-virus software is like closing your front door but not locking it. Most people will knock and leave, but a few will try the knob and get inside.
Your employees probably get a lot of email. To keep your business running, they may open hundreds of messages. Your firewall catches most of them, your virus scanner even more, but what about the ones too new for your anti-virus to recognize? One way your company can lock the doors to viruses is to never open attachments if you or your employees aren’t expecting the attachment to come through. Even if the sender is trusted, you should ask. Mistakes happen, and that mistake could shut you down. If the attachment is legitimate, you should still scan it before opening just in case there’s an unintentional virus stuck to it. After all, it never hurts to use some extra caution.
You don’t have to leave the door open or the locks off when dealing with viruses. Just implement a few basic security practices, and you’ve made your network infinitely safer. It doesn’t take much time or thought, but it could make a huge difference. After all, you never know who will come knocking at your door.
You can’t predict the future. Sure, you can be pretty confident you’ll get up tomorrow, go about your daily business, and that the sun will set at the end of the day. The rest of life isn’t so predictable, though, and neither are the repercussions of not having a disaster plan ready and waiting.
No one wants to think about a disaster happening. It’s downright creepy to imagine a hacker getting into your system, or your business coming to a halt. You could lose data, resources, time, and money. But keeping your business safe isn’t just about avoiding disasters. Minimizing the risk is smart practice, but chances are that something will happen to your system eventually, and it’s best to be ready for it.
Imagine that a hacker gets in. How long does it take you to notice? How long before your IT staff responds? Every second between when the criminal has access to when you are able to stop them is another second where your business is on the line. You have locks and security systems for your home, but you also have insurance, right? A disaster recovery plan is a form of insurance — it helps you to minimize damage and get back on your feet as soon as possible.
You can sit back and rely on your security to protect your network, and hopefully it will. All the same, businesses who thought they were safe are hacked daily, and you can’t predict if it will happen to you. Take the time to build and test a disaster recovery plan. You don’t need a crystal ball to see it could save you in the end.
These days, just about every company poses an Internet security risk. Do your employees use email? Do you have a website? What would happen if either of those were inaccessible or if your entire system crashed? If this idea is making you nervous, you’re probably at risk for a denial of service attack.
Think of your security as the umpire at a baseball game. Balls are being thrown, players are running, and the game is going strong. What would happen if the umpire were taken out? In a denial of service attack, your systems are intentionally asked to handle more input than they possibly can with the goal of shutting you down. It’s like a team of pitchers showing up and throwing balls at the umpire until they knock him out, leaving the game in tatters and the rules by the wayside. The game stops, but the cheaters have access to the field and equipment — your resources. What they plan to do with them is anyone’s guess, but it can’t be good. It’s not a comforting thought, is it?
What if you could enforce the rules and keep the other team from cheating? The good news is, you can.
By knowing you are at risk for a denial of service attack and taking the steps necessary to prevent it, you can keep your game running smoothly. Reviewing your procedures and getting some reliable, specialized help can keep you playing ball. Keeping your security in check and your umpire in action can help you win the game with ease and style. Now that you know there’s a risk out there, how will you step up to the plate?
Whether your business is brand new or has been around for generations, chances are that you don’t specialize in computers or network security. Why would you? Your goal is to provide the best service and products to your customers or your clients. Your focus is on what you provide, and it’s why they value you. They also put their trust in you, and protecting that trust is a tremendous responsibility. Are you up to the challenge?
If you have access to credit card data, names, addresses or any sort of personal information, you have the duty to protect it. You may be taking every precaution to keep this data safe, but how much do you really know about computer security? How much does your staff know? Even fabulous IT professionals find their skills growing stagnant over time sitting at a desk. A great solution is to hire an IT consultant. When you choose the right consulting firm, you get a trained professional who shows up on time, reviews your system and helps you make the changes needed. Not only that, you only pay them only for the time you use them, and that’s a smart deal. Your data and network stays safe, you keep your expenses in check, and everyone wins.
Think of it this way — if you lose the data, you lose customers, clients, and even your reputation. You may even be held legally responsible. Hiring an IT consultant can help prevent any of this from happening, and at a minimal cost to your business. Your customers are happy, your business continues for a few more generations, and you can take the credit for making the decision. What’s not to love?
Your company’s Internet security needs should be at the top of your to-do list – especially if you work in an industry that deals with personal information, stores sensitive materials, or does any business on the web. While most companies that work with these first two issues already have some security measures in place, the latter factor (doing business on the web) is often overlooked as a way for attackers and viruses to get in.
In fact, simply having an online storefront makes your IT vulnerability increase. It’s much like having a real storefront – once you’ve got a physical presence somewhere, there’s a bigger possibility that someone will see something to steal or even break in as a way to make mischief. And the more doors and windows you have, the more points of entry you have to secure.
Your online storefront (or even just your website) operates in much the same way. Hackers, malware, and Trojan programs can use this as a door to either get into your information online or even to access your in-office network. And like a physical storefront, you need to put in security systems to keep you – and your customers – protected.
Fortunately, there are ways to test your current vulnerability rating to determine how good your current Internet security is working. Like a fake heist to test whether or not your bouncer is doing his job at the door, IT security consultants can look at your existing system to determine where you can “beef up” your security as your company grows and changes.