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Six Essential Network & Computer Security Tips

Small to midsized businesses might not have the luxury of an internal IT security team and resources that large enterprises can afford, but they still face many of the same threats. Every business that uses the internet – and that means virtually every business in existence – is responsible for creating a culture of security that will enhance business and consumer confidence.

Securing Your Personal Computer: An Ounce of Prevention

Taking the steps to carefully and securely protect confidential internal data, social media passwords and the overall health of your network can prevent costly (read: very costly) breaches, loss of client confidence and their business!

 

Stay up-to-date on current security threats.

The Computer Readiness Team under the Department of Homeland Security regularly releases information about security threats on the horizon. Subscribe to email alerts or the RSS feed.

 

Use anti-virus software.

Regularly update and upgrade anti-virus software to prevent malware, ransomware and viruses from corrupting important data, rendering equipment inoperable and impacting productivity. Anti-virus and malware scans run locally – that is, on individual workstation or personal computers.

 

Keep data secure – use a VPN.

At the business level, secure VPNs and firewalls provide excellent protection from internet ne’er-do-wells while still allowing remote employees to access company resources away from the office. If you’re a mobile professional and often work from the road, unsecured WiFi in coffeeshops makes life easier, but exercise care when accessing any sensitive personal information.

 

Invest in a password manager.

The best security available on the web can’t help if you use the same easily-cracked password across every site and service you regularly access.

Password management applications like LastPass and 1Password generate random, 20-character strings and save them for seamless and secure logins. These services are customizable for business use; important login credentials can be accessed by the employees who need them to perform normal functions. For those who use Google Chrome as their browser of choice, random password generation is now a built-in feature.

 

Educate employees on the importance of strong passwords.

Personal passwords are notoriously insecure.

According to password management service Dashlane, an alarmingly high frequency of passwords contain combinations of letters, numbers and symbols that are adjacent to one another on the keyboard. This practice, called “password walking,” results in a less secure password easily exploited by hackers.

 

Backup, backup, backup.

Regularly backup critical data on all computers – financials, client information, employee records, etc. – and store off-site or in the cloud. Data redundancy is key: multiple copies held in multiple locations greatly reduces the likelihood of data loss. There are a number of excellent cloud-based solutions that easily scale for business use. Here at GRIT, we personally use (and recommend!) Box. Other well-known and often-recommended services include OneDrive, Dropbox and Carbonite. They all work on the same principle: files are uploaded to a web-based account for easy retrieval whenever you – or a member of your team – need them.

 

Web security is a critical component that should be considered as a part of your digital marketing strategy. Need support? Contact the GRIT team today. For more digital tips and tricks, check out other GRIT blogs here!