With a rush of online fraud and crimes targeting computers, you must do your best as a business owner to take precautionary steps to protect your systems and your employees’ privacy from online security invasions.
Businesses need to watch out for a variety of “infractions” against computer hardware and programs, including nosy hackers, system-crippling viruses and unwanted software downloads, costly frauds and scams, and unwelcome spam.
First, you need to allocate adequate security funding in your IT budget. The cost of repairing and re-implementing computer processes due to a security meltdown far outweighs the cost of protecting your company’s computer hardware and software right out of the gate.
Employers and employees must each do their parts for maximum security protection. For employers, probably the most successful guard against privacy invasion is installing firewalls on company computers. Firewalls serve as an iron shield between the software on your computer and the dangers of outside parties. Some computer operating systems, such as Windows XP SP2, have firewalls built-in, while others must have the walls installed. Second, make sure each computer receives the security updates that are implemented. Microsoft automatically sends updates, but it is the user’s responsibility to download them. This is an important step that will help keep computers up-to-date with the latest in security technology. Optimum protection takes only about five to 20 minutes out of the day.
Lastly, utilize anti-virus software on every computer. Viruses are costly and crippling to an operating system, so it makes sense to spend the money to purchase anti-virus protection from a reputable company. The protection should be updated periodically, with scans run on a routine basis.
Another important step is to educate your employees. Contrary to their beliefs, your employees need not be “tech-savvy” in order to protect their workstations from online invasions. They can perform quite a few simple techniques.
First, be very cautious of opening suspicious e-mail. We all get junk mail, so try to utilize the “junk” or “bulk” folders in your system. E-mail scams, like “phishing,” which deceives people into giving out personal financial information, have risen in the past year, and a simple click of the mouse can unleash a world of hurt. Only open e-mails that, in your judgment, appear reputable. Also, utilize and heed the warnings of such software as McAffee, which scans e-mail attachments for potential viruses.
Spyware is another issue. It is unwanted software that is downloaded unbeknownst to the user, and can cause computers to react slowly and crash altogether. Much like antivirus software, employees can download antispyware programs and clean out the offending programs from their hard drives.
Here are a few simple precautions to avoid identity theft:
Use difficult passwords, mixing lowercase with uppercase, numbers, etc.
Regularly back-up data on disks and CDs.
Avoid submitting credit card information online.
Fully disconnect from the Internet after each use; log off of workstations.
Discourage strangers from using your computer.
Although it is true that even the most cautious user can still fall victim to online security invasions, we can limit the danger significantly and protect our businesses by implementing a few necessary steps.