describe the imageSmall businesses are often a step behind their larger industry counterparts in addressing data security, often believing they’re better protected than they really are because they don’t have in-house experts to advise them about where they really stand.  Business owners of all sizes need to protect their vital data for the good of their customers, their employees and themselves.

By following just a few simple rules you can dramatically improve the overall security of your data.

What Does It Really Mean to Be Connected to the Web?

Comparing your computer to your home or business, the more windows and doors you have, the more ways someone has to gain entry.  Complicating matters, the entrances you think are locked may not be because the lock is faulty or even the door itself may have an undiscovered flaw that would allow an intruder easy access to your home.

New flaws are being found every day, often with the fix not coming until after exposure has occurred.  Just like you wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, you shouldn’t leave your computer wide open either.

Your First Line of Defense

The first two things that will help to secure your system are installing a quality firewall and regularly updating your installed software.

Updating your software is becoming easier these days, especially your Operating System, and many of the software packages you may use allow you to do this automatically via the Internet.  A good example of this is the Microsoft Windows Update feature.  Be sure to get the updates for everything installed on your computer, nothing is too trivial.

There are two basic types of firewalls and both perform the same functions.  One is hardware and the other is software.  A hardware firewall is probably included in your router if you are using one, while you may or may not have a software firewall installed.  A firewall is like building a wall and gate around your home and giving the guard at the gate instructions about who to let in and out.  While this does give a great deal of protection, it is not all that is required.  Someone may know a way around or under your wall, or even be able to coerce the guard into letting them in.

You yourself may unwittingly allow someone in.  This could happen by simply opening an email or even simply surfing the net.  Spyware, viruses, Trojans, and the like are ever more adept in their methods of fooling you and your guards.

The Next Steps to Tighten Your Defenses

Anti-virus and anti-malware software is a large category these days.  Often these packages come as “suites” including a firewall and Spyware scanner.  An important note about both is to be sure that they update on a regular basis.  New threats come out daily so check its updates manually to be sure they have happened. While most of these programs are very effective in their promised tasks, they are simply one layer in what should be a multi tiered protection plan for your data.

Continue to keep yourself prepared and informed.  Regular software updates, a good firewall, antivirus software and a little education are the basics in computer security.  For those of you lacking the time to maintain your network and your computer hardware safety, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Great Lakes Computer, and talk to one of our knowledgeable salespeople or technicians to learn about ways we can assist you in this endeavor.

If you would like to learn how we can help please contact us