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The Top 5 Computer Protection Tools Your Business Needs (Antivirus alone is not enough!)

By January 20, 2020 3 Comments

Running a business in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven era can be challenging.  Technology has made it easier than ever to conduct business, share data and services, and to better your customers’ lives.

However, technology can also make running a business more challenging.

Your customers are counting on you to keep their data safe.

Your customers want peace of mind that their financial information is safe whenever they do a financial transaction with your company utilizing your website or payment processing system.

In just the first six months of 2019, there was a 54% increase in data breach cases.

In a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost for a data breach in the United States was $8.19 million.

While some data breaches can be attributed to human error or system glitches, the majority of data breaches come from criminal or malicious attacks.

Simply having anti-virus protection alone is not going to cut it anymore because:

Viruses and other malware have advanced.

There are several classes of malware or malicious software.

Viruses are a computer program or even a malicious code that alter how a computer operates. They are designed to spread from one infected computer to another.

Some signs that your computer may be infected by a computer virus include pop-up messages that appear frequently, unusual programs that start up when you start your computer or a slowed-down system that crashes frequently.

Worms are similar to viruses, but they are self-contained. Worms don’t require a host file in order to replicate. Worms often target pre-existing vulnerabilities in a computer’s operating system and are difficult to detect.

Ransomware, as the name implies, is a type of malware that denies access to the computer or files and demands payment in order to gain access to them.

One of the most common ways ransomware is spread is through spam emails. These emails will look like they are from a legitimate source and often confuse or trick people into opening the email and downloading attachments or clicking on links within the email.

Trojans are malware that hide within what seems like harmless programs, and often trick people into downloading them.  Trojans are especially harmful because they can sit on your computer unnoticed.

Trojans often contain the ability to alter security systems and can install spyware on your computer which can be used to gain access to passwords or other sensitive information.

Bots can be tricky, as they are both good and bad. Good bots are like web crawlers that gather information from the web or chatbots that help a business interact with customers.

Bot malware on the other hand, that connects back to a server can utilize your computer for all kinds of purposes such as gaining access to financial information.

Malware that can wreak havoc on your company’s computer system is constantly evolving. Anti-virus software protection does help - but alone it won’t be enough to keep up with the new threats that are constantly arising.

Viruses are not the only threat to your computer.

As explained above, many threats exist beyond what is generally thought of as a computer virus.

System glitches can be another source of danger to your business technology. Now, sometimes glitches happen due to power surges, and things that are accidental.

It may surprise you to know that there is a type of computer attack known as glitching.  This is a type of attack that is difficult to pull off and does require the attacker having expert knowledge about the hardware and software that you are running, but it can be incredibly damaging.

Glitching seeks to either damage the functionality of a system or to gain access to information within a system.  This type of attack could be carried out by a former employee or a competitor and is definitely something worth watching out for, depending upon your industry.

Hackers and criminal activity are the other major threat to your business.

On any given day, hackers attack every 39 seconds, around 2,244 times per day.

Simply adopting a mindset that a hacker won’t attack your business and not worrying about it is an unwise business practice.

If you are a business that handles any type of customer data or payment information, a hacker may pick your company as a target.

Your other devices are vulnerable, too.

Desktop computers aren’t the only targets for malware and hackers. Phones, tablets, laptops and other tech that are part of your office’s daily routine are also vulnerable.

Smart devices, such as objects that can be controlled through a cell phone, are also at risk.

Making sure that all of these devices have updated security, and strong password protection is vital in keeping all your company’s assets safe.

With any IoT devices, check with the vendor about any security concerns that you may have, and don’t depend on factory default settings.

Identity theft is a threat, even at work.

Consumers are not the only ones who can suffer from identity theft. This security issue is also a risk for your business as well.

When it comes to your employees’ personal data, it is a good idea to be proactive and have security measures in place.

While many companies have security measures for protecting hard copies of employee data, keep in mind how vulnerable personal information for your employees is once it is stored digitally.

Just like you would keep paper files under lock and key and restrict access to those files, you must put in place similar systems for information that is kept digitally to avoid putting your employees’ information at risk.

Your employees may not be aware of all the safety measures required to keep your computers and company data safe.

If your company allows employees to visit social or non-work sites during breaks or lunches, chances are that leaning on common sense is not enough to keep your office safe.

While many people know not click on links or download links in strange emails, it is worth taking the time to educate employees about cybersecurity and their role in keeping the office computer system safe.

Educating your employees about Cybersecurity doesn’t have to mean hours and hours of training. Short videos, an infographic, or a demonstration can go a long way in driving home the importance of using safe practices with workplace computers and devices.

We’ve shared how your office can face several cybersecurity threats.

In order to keep your business running optimally and securely, you need these five computer protection tools.

  1. Keep your computer software up to date - be vigilant about updates and security patches. Check for operating system updates, Internet browser updates, and software updates frequently.
  2. Create strong passwords for systems and files that need to be protected, and change passwords on a schedule. While you may no longer need to change passwords as frequently, it’s still a good idea to make sure that you and your employees are using strong passwords.
  3. If you or any of your employees work from home or from a virtual office, make sure to utilize a VPN. A Virtual Private Network can provide encryption and ensure that any data sharing or remote data access is done in a secure way.
  4. Make sure that you not only have anti-virus but software that protects against other threats. Other helpful software to consider are pop-up blockers and making sure Firewall software is enabled. There are also additional anti-malware or anti-ransomware software programs that you might want to explore for your business.
  5. Consider working with an IT services company that can keep up to date with the latest Cybersecurity threats and give you peace of mind.  With all that you have to handle for your business, handing off the Cybersecurity needs of your business to a professional IT Services company can reduce your anxiety about Cybersecurity issues.

No two businesses are alike.   Your business may need a custom security and optimization plan.  While you do need anti-virus software, consider investing more of your company’s security budget into learning how attackers may target your specific business - and how to change your business operations accordingly.

A professional IT Services company can provide you with education, as well as customized Cybersecurity strategies that will help to keep your business running smoothly.   Instead of having to spend time and money putting together a plan that may not be optimal for your business, consider investing in the help of an IT Services company for a customizable solution that will help to keep your business secure.

Recovering from a Cybersecurity breach or attack can be costly in both money and time. Save your resources and peace of mind by investing in professional IT services to handle your Cybersecurity business solutions.

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