Online Protection: Security Steps Most Small Businesses Miss

The digital age has brought businesses a myriad of new opportunities to capitalize on. The Cloud, for instance, can be used to manage a lot of your big data more effectively. But with all new opportunities comes risks, particularly security risks. Protecting sensitive data from hackers and malware systems is crucial to the continuity of your business. Here are four common steps many small businesses miss when tackling online protection. 

Updating Antivirus
 
For most people, it's those occasional pesky notifications that pop up on your computer screen. However, anti-malware protection is the simplest yet strongest defense you have as a small business. Since small businesses have limited cash flow to spend on expensive networking systems like that of Cisco's or Sun's, a low-cost antivirus program can provide the protection you need to deter most malware. And to be effective in what they were built to do, regularly updating your antivirus program is important. Aside from antivirus, you should also update other tools your company uses on a regular basis, such as project management software. Some software systems like LANDESK might even offer their own assisted support for your company.

Limiting Employee Browsing
 
Although there's no harm in pulling up irrelevant websites like New York Times or Fox Sports from time to time, too much leeway in what your employees can browse online can expose your company to malicious software that's just waiting to be picked up through file and widget downloads, as well as from regular browsing. Regularly update your workforce of websites that are a no-fly zone because of security concerns. If you can create your own company firewall against some of these sites, all the better.

Changing Passwords
Your company router came with a default password. Convenient, sure. Safe? Not so much. Changing your password to more complex combinations of letters and numbers is easy, but can save your business from many security threats. Change your password regularly, and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. You don't want hackers to be able to snoop around all your systems after they get just one set of username/password after all.

Using a Firewall
While few people know how to use and update their antivirus software, fewer are those who know how to use a firewall. Most business owners think of antivirus and firewall as being the same thing. Firewalls act more as a wall against malware, while antivirus is the turret that blasts any malware that does manage to get through the protective barrier. 

If you lack one or more of these security steps, be sure to resolve it immediately. Avoiding security breaches can save your small business thousands of dollars’ worth of intellectual property damage as well as lost customers. Make them trust your network security using the four steps mentioned above. 

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