It’s unusual now to watch a newscast or read a paper and not come across a report or story of some computer security breach, theft or data or malicious program that’s wreaked havoc with a company’s, or the government’s, systems. On September 20th, the New York Times reported that Apple too is the target of malicious software in its App Store.
Tomorrow marks the start of National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the U.S. and the European Cyber Security Month. While there’s no way to insure that your business computers, devices and networks are 100% free from attack, there are a number of simple steps that businesses – even those without dedicated IT resources – can and should take to protect their business, customers and employees.
Perhaps the most important first step is to recognize that every business – even small and medium businesses – are potential targets. Hackers and distributors of malware are simply looking for any opportunity to steal information, accounts, passwords and identities. The less security they encounter, the easier their task. According to Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) of the Congressional Small Business Committee, “…71 percent of cyber-attacks occur at businesses with fewer than 100 employees.”
So how best can a business protect itself, particularly when it has no dedicated IT department or specific technical expertise? By deciding to implement a few easy precautions, to at least make it more difficult for hackers and others. And while our focus is business, these same suggestions work at home too and can help protect families.
- Awareness and training – Employees should be made aware that there could be attacks and trained to recognize some of the signs of an attack or harmful email or phishing scam. Make sure that processes are in place to address requests for credit card numbers, payment information or personal data and that employees know what to do if those requests are received.
- Password protection – Passwords are the keys to the kingdom and too often, good password policies aren’t in place or aren’t followed. Passwords should be unique, complex not obvious, and should be changed regularly. There are tools that can help manage passwords to reduce the burden.
- Backup your data – It’s not difficult and it’s not expensive. A little discipline across all your systems will help a business recover from an attack or a catastrophic event.
- Implement malware, spyware and firewall software solutions – This is like locking the door of a business at night. So many potential attacks can be stopped before they ever have an opportunity to steal or damage a business. Firewall, antivirus and malware software watches for possible attacks and threats and is exceptionally easy to install and manage.
Though cybersecurity month starts tomorrow, today marks the introduction of the 2016 update of the AVG Business AntiVirus and Internet Security software suite. Faster and less intrusive than ever before, these programs are that starting point for good business security.
Now is the right time to evaluate or review businesses security policies and to implement protection practices and tools if they aren’t already in place. It’s not hard to get started. The 2016 AntiVirus or Internet Security Business Editions are available at http://www.avg.com/business-security. In addition, AVG Business Partners have access to a range of resources to help establish better security and protection for clients.
Good business security doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating, with the right software and by following some simple steps, all businesses can enjoy a little peace of mind.
September 30, 2015