Several IT Security & Networking Tips for Small Businesses

As small businesses become increasingly reliant on computers and technology, they also become more vulnerable to threats and data loss. Statistics show that around 90% of companies that suffer significant data loss close within two years. Amazingly, 80% of business owners have no plan in place to protect their data. In this article I will provide you with 7 tips that will help to secure your businesses computer network.

it security and networking tips

1. Start with the basics

Before we move on to the more complex stuff, it’s crucially important that you set up your company computers with strong passwords, and change them on a regular basis. Make sure that all of your computers and devices are protected by antivirus software, encryption technology, and intrusion prevention systems.  If you already have antivirus software, make sure that it’s kept up to date!

2. Update your systems when needed

Many people see updates as an inconvenience and as such, never take the time to download them. But what they don’t realize is that software updates are a critical component of effective network security. Software updates can often fix security problems, so make sure that you download updates as and when they become available. Rather than having to manually install updates, most software programs now allow you to download and install updates automatically.

3. Implement a security policy

Making your business network more secure all comes down to having the right security policy in place, this will encourage employees to consider security at all times. A good IT security policy will be easy for your employees to understand and should include things such as only opening email attachments from safe sources, not sharing passwords, only using extra strong passwords that include letters, numbers and symbols.

[Read also: Avoid Creating Vulnerable Passwords]

Employees should also be encouraged to use the internet responsibly and remain vigilant when other people are in the office. It’s also worth monitoring access to your network as memory sticks and plug in devices can be used to steal business information.

4. Backup your data

Security is vitally important, but if your data isn’t backed up, you are running the risk of losing it! Think of it this way, would your business be able to function if it lost all of its data? Make sure that all of your data is securely backed up and then test the backup to ensure that you can recover your data when you need it.  It’s recommended that you backup your data to two different locations. Cloud storage solutions are a great way to do this!

5. Protect mobile devices

With the rise of smartphones, more and more people are working away from their offices and away from the protection of their network security.  What many people fail to realize is that when they are using WiFi in a coffee shop, the connection isn’t always as secure as it can be. It’s crucial that your mobile devices and anything that you connect to wirelessly are as secure as possible.

6. Conduct a security audit

If you are unsure as to which areas of your business vulnerable or what data is important, it’s recommended that you conduct a security audit. If you are unsure how to go about this, an IT company will be able to audit your entire IT infrastructure and advise you on what’s needed to prevent hackers from accessing your network.

7. Only download files from trusted websites

Many files can be downloaded from numerous locations on the web, but not all of these locations are created the same. Some are significantly more secure than others. Make sure that you only download files from trusted websites, rather than file sharing or dubious ones.  Any employee who will need to download files from a website should be educated in how to download files safely.

These handy tips were contributed by Circle IT Networking.

[Image credit: David Navratil, Flickr]

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