Computer Security for Small Business
In recent years, hackers have begun to focus their efforts on small businesses. From a single-person home office to a 10-20 employee small company, this range has become the “sweet spot” for miscreants the world over.
Most of us are familiar with the admonishments for basic computer security: Maintain up-to-date antivirus software; apply operating system and software updates and patches, etc. What many people may not know is that there are other “best practices” to keep your work environment safer.
Small Business IT Security Best Practices
What to do? FIrst, if you are an individual working from home or you have a small company, be aware that your consumer-grade router offers little to no security straight out of the box. While you may not have the resources to upgrade to a more robust router, there are some things you can do to insure better safety.
Set up Proper Security on Your Router
Use WPA/WPA2. Do not use the WEP security option on any router, as it is quite vulnerable to even the simplest of attacks.
Here are instructions for the two most common brands:
Keep your operating system, Web browsers, and other applications up-to-date. Only use browser plug-ins and add-ons which are truly essential. It’s also a good idea to check for firmware updates for your router.
Deploy a Security Practice Checklist for Your Small Business
Do you have a company policy in place for employee access to your servers and VPN?
When an employee leaves, besides taking their key, do you have a procedure in place to lock them out of all company network access?
Surprisingly, most small businesses have never taken into consideration the perils of a rogue former employee who still has his friend’s password or still has a separate remote login. Here’s a checklist for small businesses:
- Set up a company policy which dictates that all employees maintain their own passwords and keep them private from one another.
- Change employee passwords, including wireless and VPN, and server passwords at least every six months.
- When an employee leaves the company for any reason, immediately lock them out of all access. In some cases, this may mean changing all company passwords at that time. So be it. Better safe than sorry.
- With regards to further network security, a professional firewall is an absolute necessity for any small organization. Both ZoneAlarm and Barracuda offer comprehensive out-of-the-box solutions.
Anti-virus, Adware, and other PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs):
Malware Protection for Small Business
Here are some good resources to consider. Unless titled or indicated otherwise, they have information/solutions for both Macs and Windows PCs:
And lastly, two important points:
- Be very careful when responding to update alerts within a browser, particularly Adobe Flash updates. There are many fake Flash Player updaters out there.
- Never, never do any sensitive computing—such as banking or online bill pay—on a public network, i.e., coffee shops, airports, etc. You might as well post all your sensitive info on Facebook!
Remember that we at The RetroTechs are always available to assist you in establishing and maintaining the most secure work environment possible! From firewall to workflow security, we’re here for you. Contact us with any questions or to discuss your situation.
- CyberSecurity for small business (FCC.gov)
- CyberSecurity for small business (SBA.gov)
- Small Business Computer Security Checklist (Cisco)
- Computer security for small businesses – Essential Guide (Computer Weekly)
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